Monday, October 16, 2023

Making Lemonade

Sometimes “stuff” happens. And when it happened in a draft I’m writing, I made it a plot point.

I’d been fretting over the realization multiple character names began with the same initial in my cozy mystery. I try to avoid similar names to minimize reader confusion.

Renaming a character is my go-to fix for this problem. In this instance, though, the names had special significance. Real people had volunteered their names for the characters and their roles.

This morning, a solution presented itself for salvaging the current names. The main character finds a crumpled piece of paper on the ground. She smooths it out and reveals a mysterious note signed only with an initial.

The note will draw attention to characters with that initial, nuancing them as suspects. The note will be introduced prior to a frightening incident and cause the main character to doubt her co-worker’s true intentions.

Saturday, October 7, 2023


The Pacific Air Show performed locally last weekend. Rather than driving the couple of miles to the beach, I watched from my back yard. Every time a jet screamed past overhead, I raised my tea mug in salute, and the pilot dipped his wing in acknowledgment. (From the pilot’s perspective, of course, he was circling back to the beach.)

Years ago, I wrote the same scene from two perspectives for a class assignment. Set in a farmhouse in the 1940s, a farmer’s wife loved her kitchen. The cast iron pump at the sink saved her from carrying buckets of water from the well. The freshly ironed, multi-colored chintz curtains fluttering at the window over the sink brightened her day as she worked.

A property developer tried to buy the farm. The kitchen window, framed by faded curtains, revealed an outhouse in the yard. If she sold, he told her, she’d have money to buy a house with indoor plumbing and flushing toilets. She refused, and he shook his head. He knew she didn’t have to live like that.

I write from the main character’s (MC’s) point of view, showing thoughts, feelings, and actions, but the secondary characters in my first drafts are often flat. As I develop secondary character depth, I keep the differing farmhouse kitchen perspectives in mind and add motivation and reaction to the scene’s conflict.