A Room With A View

I am writing in the rain. My computer is exactly eighteen inches from my office window.

Outside, the trellis is heavy with climbing jasmine and trained plumbago. The soft sounds of the falling rain are echoed in the movement of the leaves they pelt.

I am warm and dry, yet somehow a part of the dripping scene in front of me. This landscape has been my food for the day, a rich diet of wet leaves, green vistas, and periwinkle blue flowers.

Writers need to be nourished. We are, after all, artists. To create we must refuel our tanks. To “find our art” as Pablo Picasso famously said, we must be able to draw in, process, and send out a piece of ourselves.

How one does this is entirely dependent on the personality of the individual. We writers are a unique lot — and what refreshes one will exhaust another. I have listed some of my favorite ways to keep the words I am looking for flowing freely. Continue reading “A Room With A View”

Plot-Driven Mystery by Arline Chase

Vacation for Two by Arline ChaseQuestion
: Someone in a class I’m taking said my mystery needs to be more plot-driven. How can I tell if she’s right and if she is, how do I fix it?

Answer: Well there are two kinds of mystery. Plot-Driven means it’s all about what happens and the investigating character does not change. Most mysteries used to always be this way. Character-driven mystery is about characters that change and grow over the story, or even over the series.

The plot-driven mystery is all about the puzzle. Sherlock Holmes is always his superior, calculating, self. At least he is until he meets “The Woman.” And even afterward any emotion or resulting change in his personality is never part of a Sherlock Holmes story. Yes, it is important to have a good puzzle for the reader to solve. And your reader might be telling you that the puzzle might be a tad transparent. If that seems reasonable to you, lay some more false trails, leave some false clues to lead the reader to a false conclusion or two. Continue reading “Plot-Driven Mystery by Arline Chase

Write What You Know?

How many times have we all heard that old saw “write what you know”? What does that even mean?
Many take this as advice to write only about our areas of expertise, what we have studied, where we have been. The implication is that if we are not well versed in our subject matter that we will slip up somehow and that our ignorance cannot help but be revealed.

Continue reading “Write What You Know?”