Vacation Head Day

Suitcases at an airport

Ah! The joys of traveling

Hi reading friend. Tomorrow I am heading off on vacation to Mexico.  Yipee!  The trip is part of my involvement with ballroom dancing and Colorado DanceSport.  We’re going to go for a La Blast Fitness retreat led by none other than Louis Van Amstel. Three days of dance, fun and sun.

Unfortunately, this puts writing thoughts on the back burner, and, as my blog is only a couple of weeks old, I haven’t built a stock pile of articles to run while I’m away. I’ll return to posting on Tuesday, June 5th.

Who will be watching over Prophet and Nalla you ask?  My sweetie, of course!  While Good Guy is more involved in ballroom dance than I, this is a trip just for me.  He will stay home, watch over the pets, and practice for the Colorado Star Ball, coming up June 15.

Meanwhile, I’ll take a lot of notes while in Cabo san Lucas, and fill you in with pictures and stories when I return. Do you have any recommendations for sites or foods to try?  It would be great to hear from you.

Have a wonderful weekend–I sure am planning to!

The Story Bible

I first heard the term “story bible” a few years ago, probably in one of my Writer’s Digest magazines.  Now, I’m not quite sure how this term came to be as it really doesn’t match the dictionary’s definition of either a sacred scripture or preeminent publication of an industry, but there it is, more and more frequently promoted among creative writers. So what is a “story bible” and how can it help you write?

First the good news; a story bible can be anything you want it to be.  Fragments of your story, character sketches, plots and outlines, even pictures of places or people to help inspire you in your work.  I believe that these bibles came from Hollywood, where movies and television shows have to address details of a work over long periods of time.

A bible’s purpose is to help keep you organized in the details of your  book or series of books, so that your reader’s satisfaction is not interrupted because you gave your protagonist red hair in chapter one and in chapter six it’s now brown. And your story is set in 1642.

Another good part of your story bible is that you can make it in whatever format works best for you.  You can keep everything in a scrapbook, as your novel is your baby, or you can keep a word processing document on file in your computer.  Whatever works best for you.

Now the bad news; a story bible can be anything you want it to be.  There is no formal structure or key to let you know if you’re doing things right or wrong.  You’re just doing. Dumping words, pictures, spreadsheets, and whatever comes to mind in a big box of thoughts.  With no structure, you can defeat the main purpose of a bible — to organize your thoughts and work for easy retrieval of information when you want or need it.

I started a story bible with Sliced Vegetarian.  Now sometimes I wonder if I spend more time organizing than writing.  I have note cards with my plot on them, I have calendars and chapter lists, I have the electronic bible and files of papers too important to throw away, yet not important enough to reach for when I’m working.

So I’m going to take a break from writing Sliced Vegetarian. I have a good start, and am working on chapter 19.  I’ll put all my notes together in one single source of information.  One place where I can find the answers to my questions regarding Daisy and her friends.  One source that tells me what street I put that Gigantos supermarket on (I know I made up the name, but what was it?).

I heard once that if you can find something within 10 minutes of first seeking it, then you are indeed an organized person.  I guess this is what a story bible is about.  I have to run now.  Going to catch up on my bible work.

What Would The Cat Say?

Critique group last night was full of great writing, as always.  But I also love it when a topic comes up that gets everyone’s emotional commitment.  That happened when Anne Pettis read 10-pages of her current work, a cozy mystery.

Portrait of Nalla the cat

“Fat Cat in the Sun” by L. Malik

Anne has four or five books published and is a regular contributor on Thursday nights. Even beyond the page, Anne regales us with delightful stories of friends and family and the oddities of life.  She’s written soft porn and emotionally charged mysteries, so I enjoyed last night’s snippet of a cozy story with a cat named Sylvia who can talk to her new owner.

The controversy arose with exactly what Sylvia was supposed to have said.  “A cat wouldn’t just say something was out of date. A cat would say it’s so Studio 54,” said one critiquer.  Another added, “cats would show more attitude here.”  Anne talked about her 29-pound Siamese who beat up dogs as a hobby.  Soon we were all engaged and laughing over the things a cat would say and do.

As I sat listening to the cat attitude comments and voices, I couldn’t help but smile.  I do the same thing.   I tell people my cat loves to “take her beauty bath under our kitchen faucet” and “Nalla likes to be handled a little roughly.  Petting is likely to earn you a scratch.”

How do I know this?  How do my writing friends know “what a cat would say?”

Truth is, we don’t.  Still, with their purring and staring, graceful sauntering and stretching, these beautiful creatures steal all of our hearts — when they’re not driving us nuts with cat allergies.

Do you have a great cat story?  I’d love to hear from you.