Guess what? I’m really excited to be a regular contributer at Michelle Lim’s Thoughts on Plot! Today, we’re taking the Super Sleuth Challenge. One true story. Three different ways the villain could have been caught with one right answer and you get to try and guess!
It’s a lot of fun and this particular challenge takes place right outside my back door in Memphis! So pop over and play. If you leave a comment you’ll be entered to win a $50 Amazon gift card!
Hey my friends! Today, the lovely Laurie Tomlison has invited me to hang with the Alley Cats and talk about fast drafting at the Writer’s Alley.
So come by and find out the #1 hindrance to writing a fast first draft! CLICK HERE
Also, have you subscribed to my Patched In newsletter? It’s easy-peasy and I won’t SPAM you. Not in your inbox and I won’t mail you a can either. Get Patched In and receive my exclusive Christmas novella for FREE as my thank you!
rowdy bar owner. A widowed pastor’s wife. And Christmas Hope that brings them
After widower Eden
Snow’s church almost burns to the ground, she’s compelled to find a temporary
place to hold services and Christmas cantata practices.
Has-been hockey player,
Knox Everhart, has a reputation for being fast on the ice and with women.
Except Eden. She’s always been a fascinating mystery to him, which is why he
agrees to let her use the back room of his bar—with one rule: No converting his
But when Eden brings
the church to the bar, it offers something the bottle can’t. Hope. And he finds
himself falling in love with a woman and a Savior he feels unworthy to pursue.
Okay, we should all do this to at least one person today! Isn’t that great?! Some of my heroes are pretty bad to the bone and can pull this stuff off. However, I’ve never tried. But my daughter gets out of school at 2:30-ish so…
Also, if it were a bad guy I was doing this to, I wouldn’t stick around to ask him, “How did that feel? Did you see a white light?” I mean I’m not the six-fingered man, right?
Do you love heroes who have these certain skill sets? Think Liam Neeson. And will you try this on someone? Please say yes!
When it comes to romance, the looks say it all. Don’t ya think? Whether it’s in animated film or not. We read romance in facial expressions. Sometimes it’s harder to capture the exact expression in a book, but that’s what we, writers, work to do.
I know many writers, including myself, that study movies, YouTube clips etc…poring over and over an expression an actor makes that portrays falling in love, admiration, flirtation, longing, desire, angst.
Here are a few pictures that capture an expression. No words needed (but I’ll probably give you some anyway) to convey what’s going on.
What do you see in his face? Does he need to tell her
how much she means to him? The hand at the
back of her neck is tender. A soft moment.
Longing. Desire in a non-fifty shades kind of way.
Whether you’re fan of Twilight or not,
this facial expression he’s making is killer
(ha pardon the pun or don’t). This is
intense. Angst. And in context of the movie,
a struggle in self-control on Edward’s part.
Ah! We all love Princess Bride, don’t we?
Westly is about to leave. But this expression, it’s
almost like he’s imprinting his promise to return,
his loyal devotion and love to her. He. Will. Be. Back.
And not Terminator style!
Here, Westly is back! It’s been forever and
at this moment she knows it’s her farm boy
and not the dread pirate Roberts. This expression
conveys, “I came back. My love, my loyalty, my devotion
has never wavered. And…I missed you.”
Okay, Matthew C. really knows how to express
falling in love. I love the lips on lips smile. It expresses:
You make me happy. Love is fun. Whimsical. And it’s
about to crank up to something so much more.
Yeah, here he is again. Okay,
so they fought. So they had a misunderstanding.
It’s resolved. It’s a quiet expression, isn’t it? Full
of apology. Hope. Even pleading a bit. And longing,
as well as desire. We all know what happens next.
Plus the sweat just adds to it, doesn’t it?
Paul Rudd in Clueless. Cher doesn’t realize he’s
sneaking a peek at her. But check out those eyes.
I want to be with her. She’s so out of my league.
He’s almost willing her to see him, really see him,
with that look. You’re beautiful. And more than the outside.
Again, he’s really looking at her. If she can’t
see how he feels about her in those eyes, in that lopsided
grin, she’s…well….clueless! Right? Right?
Good gravy, I adore the closed eye hug. This is Elijah
and Hayley from the Originals. This says, you’re safe.
You’re in my arms and I’ll never let anything ever happen
to you. Flood of relief. You belong to me (in a non-Silence of the Lambs
kind of way). It’s so intense, he has to close his eyes.
A favorite prince for me. What’s this say?
I’m cute. Admit it. And I’m worming my way out of
something. Ariel is smitten with him over his boyish
flirting. It’s effortless to him.
Check out the same-ish look in Hugh Grant’s expression.
This was Two Week’s Notice. He’s playful. Teasing.
But behind that, look at the admiration, the desire,
the…love he has for her. He’s every bit as smitten
as Eric in the next picture below.
Here she’s working her charm, naive as it is, on him.
Nothing else in the world is going on. Not dinner. Not the world.
Nothing but her. He could stay right here like this forever.
And she’s not even noticing.
We all love Mr. Darcy! Rain helps set this mood.
Nothing like a hero with we hair matted to his forehead,
dripping down his cheeks. This is I love you but…see the pain.
The agony there. Not like Edward Cullen. Because it’s a
different king of pain a different kind of control.
Something about the trapped expression. His jaw’s set.
Look closely. He’s determined. He knows exacty what he wants
and it’s not slipping away. His hands shield her from it.
Pay attention to her face! She knows it. He’s a wolf (cue Duran Duran)
but not the kind that will devour her in a bad way. In fact, maybe those arms
are there to reveal she’s safe…sort of wink wink…
What hero/movie/book stands out to you as a sigh-moment in relation to romance?
I had a little shift in my writing direction, which is a good thing, and I’m excited, but it also means I have to take a blogging break for a few weeks to meet a deadline.
Will you miss me? Say you will! I’ll be around Facebook and Twitter, so catch me there and in the meantime, enjoy this amazing song. This is romance. This. Is. Romance. And I love listening to it during certain scenes.
Well, it’s Valentine’s Day. Do you do something special or not? I’m not a fan of overcrowded restaurants so we generally do something early or wait till the weekend. I love Valentine’s Day because it’s the anniversary of our first date! 20 years ago today, I agreed to go out with my husband as just friends.
Yeah. You see how that worked out. Here’s our real life romance story and humorous texts. CLICK HERE.
I’m a writer and lover of romance, but I don’t go giddy for flowers. Never have. I’d rather have cash that I can spend on something that won’t wilt and fall all over my table or counter, causing me extra cleaning time. I could write at least half a scene in the time it takes to dump flowers, sweep up dried petals, and wash a vase. Actually, I could write an entire scene.
I’m moving slower on my new WIP. I had to tweak the plot which meant going back through the early chapters and revising, plus I have some weird sinus issue. So my head is fuzzy and I keep forgetting this is a romance, nobody is supposed to buried alive or held at gun point. I might need to write a romantic suspense after this story. 🙂
Oh, and my daughter still doesn’t have her permit. I’ll be driving her around for the rest of my life. Sigh.
So what’s going on with you? Try any new recipes lately? Going anywhere special for Valentine’s Day? Fan of the day or not? Are you a flowers kind of girl/guy? What’s your favorite?
Everyone loves a little romance, yes? I just read an article about a couple who worked at a homeless ministry together.
They spent weekends handing out free pizza downtown, but on one particular day, a homeless man walked up to the young woman. Long hair, hood, sunglasses, he told her she was kind of cute and then he pulled out a red ring pop and asked her to marry him.
Of course, she grinned and those around them laughed but then he said, “What about now?”
Off came the hood, the mask, the sunglassses, and her boyfriend dropped to his knee and pledged her his heart!
If that doesn’t get the writer plots turning, what does? You have to watch the short little video, as he filmed it from beginning (getting ready) to end–her reaction is priceless and I admit, the romantic in me teared up!
What are some unique proposals you could dream up? If you’re married, how did your husband propose?
Or how could you spin a plot with this story?
Here’s the video/story link and it’s worth the two minutes to watch!
Let me preface this post by saying I am in no way making sport, pardon the pun–you’ll see what pun in a minute–but this needs told and I’m going to tie it into how I come up with plots and maybe it’ll benefit you. Or at the very least give you a laugh then a clamped hand over the face and a, “Oops, sorry.”
So, apparently in September of 2009, a fan was injured at a Royals game in Overland Park, Kansas.
How you ask?
Imagine it’s the bottom of the ninth (that is baseball jargon, right–lesson: do your research) the bases are loaded. The crowd is intoxicated with smells of peanuts, cotton candy and victory for the winning team.
Bamp bamp bamp bamp, bamp bamp bamp bamp… the music is playing.
Shirtless idiots have painted lion heads on their chests showing off their incredible six packs…of beer. They shake it for the crowd and point at themselves on the jumbotron while sipping more foamy beverages from tubes attached to helmets adorning their heads.
Yes, this is baseball.
The Royals mascot, the lion, with a crown of what can only be assumed as mascot flesh–eeeew–engages the crowd.
Does he roar? Why no. Any lion can roar. Does he do the macarena? No, that’s so not even retro. Moonwalk? Moon? He’s the king of the jungle.
No, this lion launches a foil wrapped wiener into the stands.
Poor crowd-onlooker doesn’t…even…see it…coming.
The hot dog strikes the man’s eye, which according to the news article, results in two eye surgeries. I feel for him. “Dude, what happened?”
“I got nailed by hot dog.”
Can you imagine the off-color jokes that have followed him these past years?
Anyway, eeeeww…and moving along. The guy sues. Naturally. I’m not making this up. You can read the article HERE.
But the plot is endless isn’t it? What if the mascot was a woman? A jilted lover with the attempt to bean her ex–after all he is with another woman. What if she paid the real mascot to let her in the costume b/c she’s got a crush on a player? Then beaning a random stranger gets her in big trouble.
What if the guy she smacks with the hot dog does get hurt, but not severely, and they end up getting together. Let’s be honest, how many inciting incidents have you ever read about started off with someone punting a hot dog into the hero/heroine’s eye?
What if a mascot really did injure a man’s eye and he was a pilot? Now he can’t work, he loses he wife, family, home…so he comes back for revenge.
There are all sorts of ways to come up with fresh story ideas. All you need to do is read the news.
What crazy stories
have you read about lately? And give me a premise based on this story. You don’t have to be a writer and it can be off-the-wall. It’s for fun, not for an editor or agent!
Have a great weekend!
*I didn’t go anywhere this week, notice? I haven’t decided if I want to stick with that series. So…we’ll see.
Myles front and center. His cousins behind him. A family event on Sunday. When he put this shirt on he said, “Really?” Talking about the length! lol
Many of you have probably seen the excitement on my facebook page through the week! Last Wednesday on the way home, my 8 year old son, Myles, said out of the blue, “Mom, when we get home I want to ask Jesus into my heart.”
My foot slammed on the gas as I drove at NASCAR speed. “Yeah, baby, that’s great.” I wondered, had they talked about salvation at church that night? “What did you learn at Royal Rangers?”
Hell fire? Did they scare him into asking Jesus into his heart? lol “What kind of fire?”
“The kind that burns.” Smart-aleck “Stop. Drop. And roll.”
Okay, that wasn’t it. We got home and of course I had to let the dog out. I didn’t want to be distracted from leading my son to the Lord while the dog pooped on the carpet. I detest that dog.
I sat on the couch. “Why do you want to ask Jesus into your heart?”
“Because it’ll be the greatest thing of my life.”
Tears spilled down my cheeks as I prayed and Myles repeated after me. Not because there’s a specific prayer or formula to get it right, he just needed some guidance.
He looked up at me with his big brown eyes and smiled. “I felt a chill and tickle in my heart,” he said has he touched his chest.
I told him Sunday was our next baptismal service and explained what baptism. It’s an outward picture for everyone to see what happened on our insides. We’re like brand new inside. Jesus died and rose for us, and that’s why we go under and come up. All washed clean on the inside. Just to let everyone know the decision we made.
“I want to be baptized this Sunday then!”
Each night he’d pray, “God, help me have a good baptism on Sunday.” I’m not sure what that meant, but it was beautiful to my ears.
Sunday came and my husband, an ordained minister, had the privilege to baptize our son. When Myles came up out of the water and started climbing the steps, he threw his hands up in victory, Woohoo! It was so cute.
As I dried him off he said, “I had a really happy feeling come over me, Mom. That’s cool. And, I think that’s about the most excited I’ll ever get over being dunked.”
I laughed and cried. Tim laughed and cried. Myles grinned ear from ear.
Here’s a video. Many of you may have already seen it on facebook.
God is glorious and asking Jesus into your heart is a free gift. Whether you’re 8 years old or 80 years old. I’m thankful today that all of my family knows Jesus Christ as their personal savior and Lord. My heart is overflowing.
What are you thankful for today?
I’m leaving on Wednesday morning for Dallas, Texas to attend the largest Christian writers’ conference, well anywhere I guess. I will be taking a blogging break after today but will be back on Wednesday, September 26th!
If you’re going to the ACFW conference as well, here are some very important tips for the conference. I vlogged them a few weeks ago, but if you haven’t seen them, you can click on the link. ACFW TIPS And if you haven’t already, I’d love for you to subscribe to my YouTube channel! Thanks!
Sunday at church a few of us adults were peeping in children’s church listening to our amazing children’s pastor talk about pressure.
He had a coke can, shaking it up, talking about pressures that mount up and build. He kept talking and shaking, weaving in and out of children.
Most of them ducked. A few raised their hands as if to say, “Pick me! Explode that joker right on my head!”
A few adult comments made outside the window were:
“If he opens that, who’s cleaning it up?”
“The janitors are gonna be maaaad.”
“Is he really going to open that on a kid?”
“I hope he opens that on a kid.” (Okay, so that’s what I said!)
His voice built, his pace increased, and the can just kept shaking. He put it over one child’s head…the crowd ooohed. He raised it over another. The crowd aaahed.
He opened the can.
The man behind me said, “Well, that was rather anti-climactic. I’ve been waiting all this time for an explosion.”
And I thought…
That’s exactly what not to do in a book.
I read a book recently that kept me on the edge of my seat, like the can, shaking and shaking but it didn’t deliver an explosion. It didn’t even fall flat. It was empty, and I was disappointed because up until then, I was hooked.
By all means, when writing, shake the can. Keep it going, but when you pop the tab–be sure there’s an explosion.
If you build excitement and suspense, then pop the tab on the crowd, no one will care when foam runs down their face, stains the carpet, or sticks to their skin. They’ll be thrilled. They’ll show it to everyone, and they’ll smile and sigh in satisfaction.
Here’s 3 things that make a book shake for me as a reader:
1. Romantic tension–lots of it
2. Mystery– Please have some secrets, lies, and twists I can’t see coming
3. Escalating scenes with an increase in pace
The Explosion: When all of the above collides. BAM! The secrets are revealed and the reactions are intense, the twists become unraveled, and the hero and heroine finally…finally…have their steamy moment or the one that actually puts them together! Okay, now the Parent Trap song is in my head. “Let’s get together, yeah, yeah, yeah…” Oh, gag.
Writers: What do you do to shake your can so there’s an explosion? Share your tips!
Readers: What books have you read that feel like they’ve exploded? If you talk about one that fell flat, please don’t include the title, that’s somebody’s baby! 🙂
Have a great weekend! See ya on Monday.
Get "Patched In" and receive Jessica's latest news in your inbox.