Fiendish Friday: I’m a Bitch

I’ve found myself explaining this more than once this week. People just laugh like they don’t quite believe me. But I know this about myself. I know it well. I’ve had lots of experience. The simple fact is I will fill a power vacuum. And the problem with that?

I’m a bitch. I rule with an iron fist. No matter how hard I try, I’m Stalin with a five year plan and god help you if you step out of line. I’m demanding. I’m exacting. I expect everyone to toe the line as the rules are written and you better be able to explain why you deviated. On the other hand if you deviate and can explain it, I’ll back you to hell freezes over.

You do the job and you do it right? I will take care of you. You do the job and make an honest mistake? I will take care of you. Have the universal donor blood and Red Cross is desperate, four hours paid time off to donate, not a question. Pregnant wife is sick, why are you talking to me, take care of her, everything here will get handled. Need to change your schedule to really off hours to pick up your kids every day. We’ll make it work. VP of Engineering is verbally abusing you. Walk out. I’ll explain it to him in terms he can understand.

But for all that benevolence, I am still a dictator. So I don’t take positions of power.

I am an excellent servant. Loyal. Creative. Organized.

Finally the pool board listened. I am NOT the new President. LOL. But I’m still a bitch. LOL


Wednesday No Writer’s Cafe Again 5/25

Seriously, I should just stop calling the Wednesday post Writer’s Cafe because I never get there anymore. Feels like months. Waves at the pizza crowd. Miss you!

Ok so why am I not there? Yeah, emergency executive meeting of the club board. Yes, again they are derailing my life for more drama. I think since I returned from Hawaii last Monday I have seen about 300 emails. Way too much of it backstabbing, half truthing, bull shit. (pardon my language)

Several members may or may not be resigning tonight, including me. I won’t go on like this. Either people commit to putting on their big boy/girl pants and acting like the adults we are supposed to be, or I’m done. I can’t carry the emotional burden of this crap for a pool. It’s not that important.

Since I have returned, I have not written a single word on my spy novel that is practically at the finish line. I haven’t spent a single minute on the novel I am developmentally editing. I’ve barely been able to get my blog posts up and half of those were done ahead of time. Speaking of I’m leaving on Saturday for a road trip with my kiddo and I haven’t preposted for those ten days yet.

All of my spare time has been sucked up my the drama and drama fall out or the emotional hang over of dealing with the former. Enough. Done. I’m out. Drops the microphone.

I’ve decided to report on my stated 2016 goals each Wednesday at cafe for a little prod of accountability.


– Participate in one flash fiction challenge per month.

√ I think I missed May. And it ain’t gonna happen between now and Saturday. LOL. I did do a couple in April. Short ones. Single liners on a topic and the like. It was fun.

– Prepare and teach “Nano to Publish”.

√ Rolling right along. I think we will have 8 new books out of this class by the end of the year. I’m so excited by that. A year’s worth of work and it will be worth something.


– Any time I am not actively working on my 2015 Nano Novel(trashed), write 2500 words per week on my spy novel until it is done. (After four years, it’s time to put this mess to bed.)

√ Not a word this week. I wrote a lot on the cruise though. It’s really cleaned up. I need to write one more bridging scene and then finish the big action blow out on the ship.

Non writing goals

– Prepare and teach two classes at the coop for the 2016-2017 school year.

√ Yep. People have actually signed up for both my classes, Nano and Geography. One family actually joined the coop just so their daughter could take my Nano class. LOL.

– Take better care of my body, ie. stop compulsively painting, crocheting, and writing until my back or shoulder is so tore I can barely use either.

√ Been doing good on this although the kiddo did buy me a new paint by number for Mother’s Day. LOL. It’s half done in the last week. LOL. I find it very soothing and with all the club drama, I needed to be soothed.

– yoga daily.

√ Yeah. Actually this is happening, although some days are still only 15 minutes.

Fiendish Friday: Drama

I have been blessed to have the kind of life that lands you in a 12 step program. I won’t get into what triggered that but I will say this 12 step leads you to committee work. It also teaches you how to behave on a committee. I wish to god everyone had a flipping 12 step program.

I am on two boards right now. And while I was gone on vaca both boards had drama explosions the size of Mt Vesuvius. Hundreds of emails of back biting and bitching and moaning and complaining.

I have easily spent an 15 hours this week, probably more, listening to or reading people’s drama via email and text,  related to these two boards. All I really want to say is, it’s not personal. This is not about you. This is about providing service to a board that serves a community.

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I want to go back to my vacation desk.

I want to go back to that happy place where my son would rather go to Camp Carnival that demand my time.

Where solicitous men bring me yummy beverages with the slightest nod of my head.

Where the breeze is warm.

The water crystal clear.

My sense of peace reached idyllic heights.

And the ideas flowed unabated.



Can you blame me?

Weekend Workshop Sunday Edition

The exercises from Chapter Seven of Story Sense, Paul Lucey.

Written regarding NCIS, Season 5, Episode 1.

1. Analyze in terms of the dramatizing strategies discussed in this chapter. Note when each convention appears and briefly describe its nature and purpose.

coincidence: Jeanna’s father picks Tony and Jeane up at the hospital. Rene is also a catalyst (he’s the frog).

coincidence: Abby finds the search results the director tried to erase.

reveal: the director tells the team the woman tony has been seeing is the frog’s daughter.

obstacles: can’t get satellite coverage.

reversal: the bad news: no coverage, good news – traffic cameras catch him. back to bad: Catalyst- Tony’s car blows up.

misunderstanding: the whole team thinks Tony is dead. (We know he isn’t because he’s still in the show seven seasons from now.)

contrast: Abby refuses to believe it is Tony until Ducky says so.

reveal: Abby tells Gibbs the prints on the bottle and glass are the director’s father.

undeserved suffering: someone is going to great lengths to convince the director her father’s alive

reveal: the director thinks the frog killed her father

coincidence: Ziva identifies the limo on the camera feedback-was Tony following it.

misunderstanding: Palmer doesn’t get why Ducky is so taken my the minimal lung scarring. Leads to catalyst/reveal-the dead man is not Tony (plague)

catalyst: Cort shows up demanding Tony. (CIA)

false alarm/reversal: Cort tries to choke information out of Tony, only to find himself facing multiple guns

reveal: Tony explains what happened in the morning (surprise meet the parents). The frog had known for months that Tony was undercover. He forces Tony into the limo and takes both cell phones. The car blows up. The Frog thinks he was the target. Tony wonders if he was the target. Tony is angry because Jeanne knows the truth now. The Frog wants out, he’s going to call and arrange a meeting, because he trusts NCIS.

catalyst/coincidence: who bombed Tony. Jeanne is the target

coincidence and contrast: the frog is in the director’s study.

catalyst: Gibbs shows up in the house.

reveal: the frog paid the director’s father the bribe

reveal: Gibbs tells the director the gun is not loaded.

reveal: flashback. Tony tells Jeanne who he really is.

the false alarm: the team is searching the yacht, guns drawn. But the frog is not there.

superiority: as the team walks away the audience gets to see the frog floating in the water with a bullet in his head.

2. Time the speeches and scenes in the show analyzed. Note whether the speeches end abruptly or linger. Note whether they use transitional visuals that show characters traveling from one location to another or whether the action cuts directly from scene to scene.

Multiple jump cuts per shot.

most speech is clipped and short. back and forth, snappy dialogue.

3. Examine how the film uses conflict to dramatize the story. What causes and intensifies the conflict? How does the conflict relate to the problem? How are the problem and the conflict resolved?

Constant conflict between the characters, the other agencies, and the good vs bad guys. In this show, the possible death of one of their own causes conflict with the CIA and between the characters on an emotional level. Tony is not dead, but the frog is. the problem really doesn’t resolve in this episode. Nor does the emotional conflict. Tony is heartbroken over Jeanne. The director is distraught over her father. Gibbs is in a position not to trust the director. Everyone is pissy.

Weekend Workshop Saturday Edition

Still on my trip, slow baking in the heat, but never the less, I present for your edification Chapter Seven of Story Sense by Paul Lucey, Dramatization.

Drama is the intensification of the emotion you hope to inspire in your reader. You do this by making situations more desperate, more dangerous, more impossible, just more.

The dramatic engine is the most potent of all dramatizing strategies because it motivates the characters, determines action, dictates momentum, controls the intensity of the story, and focuses the drama. There are many engines available.

-The problem as engine: a dramatic problem that pulls opposing forces into conflict over how the issue will resolve.

-The villain as the engine: a powerful antagonist who creates desperate conflict.

-The hero as engine: the protagonist(s) is given a need, a task, or a situation that energizes them or forces them to take action.

-The system as the engine: an organization or a group that serves or corporate on institutional agenda. sinister. the hero will need to expose them.

-A force of nature as the engine: extraordinary natural force (think Jurassic Park, Outbreak, Alien)

-A Task or Quest as the Engine: challenges the hero to achieve a difficult goal or complete an impossible task. Closely bound to the dramatic problem. Encourages the writer to aggravate the problem so that it drives the story.

-The conventions or circumstances of the story as engine: certain genres come with a built in engine. Courtroom dramas, romances, crime stories.

Inventiveness and Engineering

Creatively insert anything you need into the world you have built but be sure to follow the rules you have set once you have set them. Research. Be patient. Keep working it over until it works.

Simple dramatic strategies:

-Obstacles: a character attempts something and is blocked or defeated. Usually deflects the plot into a new direction.

-The Power Tool: Usually appear once or twice to be recognized and present a spike of interest. (think the Force in Star Wars)

-Undeserved Suffering: Makes an audience care about an unjustly abused character. Humanizes when done correctly. Irritates when done in a whiny manner. Often more effective when someone other than the sufferer reveals the backstory.

-Reversals: good news turns to bad news or vice versa.

-Coincidence: something unexpected intrudes and turns the story in a new direction.

-Catalyst: incident, character, or emotional state that speeds up the plot or a relationship.

-Contrast: inequality between characters and/or setting.

-McGuffin: the mysterious device that sets the story in motion.

-The secret plan: the reader doesn’t know what has been planned by the characters but knows it is coming.

-Misunderstanding: characters misinterpret or fail to comprehend the situation

-The False Alarm: character in jeopardy but the threat turns out to be empty

-The reveal: a major plot point or character development point

-Planting and Payoff: introduce a character, location, or item that will later influence the story. It should be planted so it is noticed but does not call attention to itself.

-Lifelines: often provided by the planting, which saves the hero or allows him to win

Parallelism: two similar actions that are intercut to make a single story point.

Sentimentality versus Empathy

affected or extravagant emotion, sentimentality is. It’s unearned sappiness. The situation feels less than true.

Empathy is the evoking of identification with your character by the reader because the situation feels true. Often revealing motivation will assist with this process.

To keep things dramatic you must make you reader believe in the logic of the characters and what is happening while concealing the machinations of the plot which might hinder belief. The logic should be easy to spot in hindsight but blend seamless in the first reading.

Novels are more likely to fail for being too polite, too proper, too reasonable, than too over the top. Invest your energy, passion, and time in your novel.