Mystery Stories


I grew up reading Nancy Drew, Trixie Belden, and Kim Aldrich. I could never get enough of girls having adventures with something exciting like solving mysteries.

 

A woman on a pier, holding an umbrella over her face
I broke my right foot. Terribly inconvenient. But it inspired this story.
Beach view of Morro Rock
When I was driving home, a white dog was standing up on his hind legs, feet propped up on afence, looking like he was chatting with the neighbors. So I had to use him in a story.

Apologizing for What’s in Our Stories?


Kitten sleepily looks up from wool scarf

Last week, Tamora Pierce’s new book Tempests and Slaughter came out.  Long-awaited for me.  I love reading her books.

But animals also die in her books.

I don’t mind that because she portrays them as characters.  They carry the same weight as human characters.  If we mourn the loss of a human character, we mourn the loss of an animal character.

Are others offended that animals die in her books?

Probably.

I’ve had problems with thrillers.  If a cat or dog makes an appearance in one of those, I’m done.  I stop reading.  Most the writers of those books kill the animal to show how evil the kill is.  In one book, I was pretty sure the writer was fictionally killing off the cat his wife had forced him to have.

Do other people read through those books and enjoy them?

Probably.

Chihuahua holding a pink rose in his mouth, giving a soulful look.

It’s part of writing stories that we have to push at our boundaries.

And sometimes make people uncomfortable.

Star Trek also did that.

It’s one of the reasons the show has endured despite 50 years.  No one apologized.  They simply did.

But as I was driving into work this morning, I heard a story about the new Peter Rabbit movie.  Seemed that a scene offended people so the movie company apologized.

I haven’t seen the film, but the scene sounded like teenage bullying…with rabbits.  So we can’t use movies to bring up bullying?  Or that it should only be in a certain way?  That the readers aren’t capable of figuring things out for themselves?

Sometimes books and movies are a safe place to push at a boundary.  Star Trek was great because it was set in the future and could be escapist at the same time.  But now, somehow, it’s become the thing not to offend.

Yeah, there are people like artists who do something for the shock value.  Then there are those who bring their experiences to the story and show us a different perspective.  They make us think.

Problem is that people can be offended by pretty much anything.

Tiny man standing on laptop, pointing at screen, horrified

So we rob our society of the ability to do social commentary of differing viewpoints.  We end up with the watered down “committee” stories because people are afraid a reader will call offense.

Star Trek is still relevant today.  Yet, Chris Pine, the “new” Captain Kirk says we couldn’t make show like that today.

Think about that.  Think about that a long time.

 

Adventures Around the Web Octber 21-26


This week, the colder temperatures marched in, and then bounced around.  Pretty typical for DC, but it’s hard when your sinuses are going, “I’m not happy”…

Lulu the dog flunked out of CIA bomb-sniffer school because she just didn’t care

Spy dog fails classes at CIA!  Lots of very cute dog pictures for Friday.  Labs have a gentleness about them that’s just fun to look at.  Link courtesy of Day Al-Mohamed.

Serialized television has become a disease

I’ve of mixed feelings about serialization.  Early on, I did think it gave shows a continuity they desperately needed.  On the show Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, it was like the writers hit a reset button each time they wrote a new episode.  If aliens invaded the ship, it was treated as if it was the first time, even when it wasn’t.  Characters come into our lives and become something more, just like in books.  But serialization does not allow episodes to stand out.  What if the serialization for the year is poor?

Adding Tags in OneNote

This one’s a software tool I’ve been using for my research library.  I was on Evernote, but I switched over over because I don’t need extra software to confuse things.  I already had OneNote as part of the 365 subscription–why pay for a second program?  I know Scrivener had notes for projects, but I always thought research notes should be available for reuse. That’s a little hard if it’s done by project.  I also heard someone say that OneNote doesn’t have tagging.  I don’t use it myself, but the link explains to to tag.  And a photo of my research library …

A screenshot of my index pages showing headers for Ocean Liners and links underneath.

 

 

What does your writing muse look like?


Sometimes it helps to picture the muse.  That’s the creative side of the brain, the part that plays when I write.

Most of the time when I see discussions about the muse, it’s either treated like fairy dust or a stern school teacher.  I was thinking about what it looked like after reading an article on Novel Writing Help:

The muse sulks when he doesn’t get his own way and sometimes throws things across the room in a temper. The critic sighs, shakes his head, and fetches the dustpan.

In one of the many online workshops on writing that I took, one of them had a lesson that asked me to come up with what my muse looked like.  The first image I had was a Golden Retriever:

Golden retriever in the water
Golden retriever swimming in muddy water with dragonfly on head

© Kitsen | Dreamstime Stock Photos

It’s not hard to see that happy dogs like exploring the world.  Mention walk (or in my case, if I bumped the leash hanging on the all), and it’s time for a dog party.  Yet, any inking that a vet is in the future and that same dog puts down her front feet and will. Not. Go.

That’s the muse, all wrapped into one package.

What does yours look like?

A Little Pool Action


We’re going for record-breaking temperatures in Washington, DC today and tomorrow.  According to the news, the humidity is up in the tropical category, so it’s just clogging the air.  Definitely a day for a little pool action:

Summer Dogs


This is a wonderfully fun video of dogs and water.  Of course, it’s another story when it comes to bath time …

Dogs of Desert Storm – Photo


As the war started, this small dog wandered into our camp, and one of the women — my roommate from back in the barracks adopted him.  She called him “Muttley.”

This was taken inside the women’s tent, so you can see what our living conditions were like.  The floor was covered and taped down.  In back and to the left a little are boxes of ubiquitous water bottles.

Small dog walks across tent floor