Wednesday, June 20, 2012
I hope you enjoy this short story.
Her hands shook slightly and she clasped them together. I sat across the table from her and introduced myself.
“I don’t usually give interviews,” she said, “but I’ll make an exception because this is such a special day.”
Dressed in white, she began to fuss with her hair while attendants watched her every move. I couldn’t help but admire her natural beauty.
“I appreciate your time,” I said. “I guess my first question, how did you reach this point in your life?”
“I can sum it up in two words…true love.”
“But there had been many obstacles.”
“That made it all the more exhilarating. We had overcome all odds.”
“We? You’re referring to you and Ted. How did you become attracted to Mr. Mason?”
“That should be obvious. Ted’s exciting and extremely handsome.”
I understood the attraction. Ted Mason’s face had graced the front pages of all the newspapers. Women from throughout the world were swooning over him.
“How did you cope with the letters he received from his fans?” I asked.
She waved her hand in the air. “I knew he was completely dedicated to me…to us.”
“Tell me how you met?”
“It was fate.” A blush crossed her pale face as she evaded my question. I tried another approach.
“Have you always lived in
“No. Ted and I came here to get married.”
“You know. The wild, wild West. It seemed appropriate. We had an amazing affair.”
I checked my notes. “Wasn’t Ted already married?”
“That happened years ago. We were completely devoted to each other.”
“Tell me, Gilda, did you have long term goals?”
A high giggle filled the room. “Ted and I lived for the moment. That’s more exciting.”
“Do you want to talk about Sylvia Tanner?
Her face paled briefly, but she quickly recovered. “I don’t think that’s appropriate. How do I look?”
“Fantastic.” I wasn’t lying. With her clear skin, light complexion and delicate features, she reminded me of Dresden china.
Our conversation was interrupted. “The priest is here. You’ll have to leave.”
Gilda smiled brightly. “You’ve been so kind. Now I must meet my intended. For better or worse, richer or poorer, till death…well you know.”
I paced the floor until the designated time. I stood behind the curtains and when the lights dimmed, I cringed. Gilda Bennett joined her beloved by lethal injection. Sylvia Tanner became their final victim. Ted Mason had been executed six month before. The serial killers, now joined in death, were no longer a threat.
Monday, June 11, 2012
HOW MUCH SHOULD YOU DESCRIBE WHEN WRITING FICTION?
You’ve all read books where the author goes on and on about the room, the furniture, the heroine’s hair or the way she’s dressed. As a writer, you want the reader to picture your character and setting, but don’t go overboard. Decide what’s important. If you describe a sofa, covered in a paisley print, make sure that sofa has a critical role in the scene. Is the room old-fashioned? Were blood spots hidden in the design? Did it indicate the lack of style or clash with the rest of the room? Maybe your heroine can’t afford matching furniture or she has inherited a rag-tag furnished house. Unless that sofa in some way pushes the story forward, omit it.
I once began reading a novel where the first two pages described the ivy climbing up the side of the house and pots of flowers lined the porch. Ask yourself if that information is important. If one of your characters hides in the shadows of hanging plants or places notes in the ivy for his/her lover, it might be useful information. If you are describing a country cottage, take a critical look at your description. Don’t overdo it.
Sometimes, your character is completely out of his/her element. A city dweller might be intrigued with the flowers and garden of a country estate. Mention it, and then go on with your plot unless that’s where your character meets the love of his/her life, or discovers a dead body.
Don’t bore your reader with pages of description. Dribble it throughout your story. For instance, let’s say your heroine has long blonde hair and blue eyes. She’s five-six and weighs one hundred-twenty pounds. Writing those facts sounds like she’s filling out papers to apply for a driver’s license. Don’t tell it, show it.
“Angela gathered her blonde hair in a ponytail and covered her blues eyes with dark glasses, as if that would provide a disguise.”
If Angela is five-six, maybe she’d tower over her petite sister. No one really wants to know how much Angela weighs unless it’s important to the plot. If you feel it adds to the manuscript, you might allow the hero to describe her to one of his friends.
Insert descriptive phrases throughout your novel, but don’t make the reader suffer through boring pages of unnecessary facts.
Keep writing. Joyce