Someone Else is Here

Image: Holliston

Image: Holliston

“Alright Jake! Time for bed.”

“Ahh, Mom! Can’t I stay up a little longer? That new detective show is about to come on.”

Margaret paused for a moment to consider. She knew there could be a consequential outcome to whatever decision she made – Jake would be too sleepy for school the next day or she would be helping him to learn more about the craft that he seems enthusiastic about. She chose the latter. “Just this time. You’ll have to record it from here on out, you understand?”

“Thanks mom,” Jake gave his mother a hug around the waist then stretched out on the floor, propped up on his elbows.

With each scene, Jake was glued to the television. His 10-year-old mind was determined to be like the detectives on the screen. Jake loved the science of it all – gathering evidence, running it through microscopes and tests, and linking what was found to the criminal.

The next morning, Jake had arose before his mother. He was still high on the excitement from the detective show.  He was sitting in front of the computer looking for forensic kits online when his mother came downstairs.

“Well, good morning! Surprised you’re already up.”

“Mom, I found this detective kit for fifty dollars. Can I have your credit card to order it?”

“Excuse me, young man. I know I taught you manners.”

“Sorry Mom. Good morning. Can I get it?”

Margaret grabbed a cup of coffee before going to see what her son was so consumed with. “Honey, that’s a lot of money to spend on something you’ll probably play with once. “

“I promise Mom, I’ll play with it every day.”

Margaret wasn’t convinced. “You’ve said that before and I’ve ended up giving away a ton of stuff. “

“But this is different.”

“How?”

“I want to be a detective. This will help me learn about it. And didn’t you tell Grandma you wanted me involved in more things to enhance my educational development?”

Margaret was stuck. Jake was right. “Alright mister, here’s the deal. When you get home from school and your homework is done, box up all of the things you have not worn, played with, or touched in the last six months. You’re going to help me tag ‘em and sell ‘em.”

“Like a yard sale?”

“Exactly!”

“Ah man.” Jake’s shoulder’s slumped. He didn’t want to put in the work. Then he glanced at the computer screen and knew he had to do what he had to do.

***

When the detective kit arrived, Jake was on cloud nine. He viewed each piece, thinking of a thousand things that he would “investigate”. He finally decided to start with the dusting powder, brush, and tape.

Jake dusted every door knob, collecting the prints and taping them to sheets of paper. He then inked his own as well as his mother’s for comparison. After viewing under the microscope, Jake found that most belonged to him or his mother. But there was a third that he could not identify.

“Mom, I think there’s a ghost here.”

“Don’t be silly Jake.”

“No, really! When I took prints from the door knobs there was another set that wasn’t ours.”

“Well, it wouldn’t be a ghost.  Maybe they’re Grandma’s.”

Jake conceded. But the next time his grandmother visited, he made sure to collect them. They didn’t match. Something was going on and Jake was determined to find out.

Thoughts on Writing – How Studying Movie Scenes Can Help With Writing Book Scenes

melanievlogan:

Get out of my head! Lol.  I kid you not, I thought about this very topic not long before seeing this post.

I was watching a couple of movies on Hallmark and the Up channels and thought about the transition between scenes, the character interactions, body language – the whole nine.  You took it a step further in analyzing how the scenes are being filmed.  Very impressive!  I’ll have to pay more attention to this in the future.

Thanks for pointing this out.

Originally posted on Stephanie Flint - Author and Artist:

I’ve been thinking about how movies pace their scenes and use various shots to draw a viewer in. This started after watching an episode of Film Theorists (they’re a Youtube Channel): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eyVlnPLaC7s which talked about where some of the common elements of movies got their beginnings.

We can learn a lot about writing scenes in a book by studying the methods used in film. I’m mostly going to take a look at three primary shots used in movies and TV shows: the wide shot, the medium shot, and the close-up. There are several others, though, which can also be incorporated.

For today’s examples, I’m mostly going to be talking about dinosaurs. I recently made some edits to the Multiverse Chronicles story my husband and I are working on (Dragons and dinosaurs and dirigibles, oh my!) And since we watched Jurassic World a week or two ago, that movie is still on my…

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The Open Window

Image: Gallery Hip

Image: Gallery Hip

“Love you too, Steve. Good night.” Michelle hung up the phone and slid under the covers. Her mind still wasn’t at ease. Steve tried his best to convince her that she was just seeing things.  But Michelle was certain of what she saw – little black imps prancing around the wall of her bedroom.

For awhile now, she had been seeing something out of the corner of her eye move about her apartment. The eeriness she felt was worse than any horror movie.

Michelle grabbed the Bible out of her nightstand. It had been given at her baptism when she was a child. She had been an avid reader then, but along the way to adulthood, she drifted.

As she turned the pages, she hoped for solace, but her internal fear was overriding anything that she read. Soon Michelle became frustrated, slamming the book shut, and forcing herself to sleep.

In the midst of what seemed like a dream, Michelle tried to scream. There was something trying to hold her facedown into her pillow. She reached back and felt something rubbery. There was a burnt smell.

She continued to struggle with this something until finally she turned over and was laying on her back. Her eyes grew wide as she saw a dark figure with two pointed horns and red eyes trying to strangle the life from her body. She panicked, frantically trying to break free.  It laughed at her attempts.

The more Michelle squirmed, the tighter the being’s grip became. She tried to scream again, but nothing came out.  She had to defend herself or be killed.  Everything on the nightstand was out of reach. She felt doomed and helpless until she managed to cry out, “Jesus!”.  The being fled.

Michelle jumped up from her “dreamdripping in sweat and disbelief.  She was shaken to the core.  Steve was her first thought to call, but deep inside she knew he was part of the problem. The two had been carrying on an affair for months.

Sure it was wrong to be in a relationship with a married man regardless of the circumstances.  But somehow Michelle felt justified in what they were doing – she was lonely and so was he.  His marriage had been almost non-existent for some time.

Truth was, she really didn’t know if the marriage was really bad or not.  She only had his side of things, and one thing was apparent – Steve was never leaving his wife.  Michelle knew it though he never uttered the words.

An inkling nudged Michelle to pick the Bible up again. When she did, it immediately opened and her eyes fell on 1 Thessalonians 4:3:

“God’s will is for you to be holy, so stay away from all sexual sin.”

Michelle threw the Bible down on the bed in front of her like it was hot. When she was brave enough to pick it up again, her focus went to 1 Thessalonians 4:6:

“Never harm or cheat a fellow believer in this matter by violating his wife.”

Michelle felt convicted. It had to end.

***

Over the next couple of days, Michelle sought to get back on track spiritually.  She delved into reading the Bible and searched for a church home. These were good starts, but there was still something more that had to be done. One night Michelle dropped to the floor, kneeling to pray:

“Heavenly Father, thank you for opening the window to my soul. I see where I am wrong. Please forgive me for committing adultery and allowing myself to fall astray. Help me to get back on the right path, and forsake the temptations that may come. In Jesus name, Amen.”

Before Michelle could completely rise, her phone rang. It was Steve. This was her test.

She silenced the phone. He called again. Michelle sent the call to voicemail.

Finally Steve sent a text. She was tempted to read it, and even listen to the voicemail – just to hear his voice.  But she couldn’t turn back now. He wasn’t worth the turmoil.

Without looking at the text, Michelle responded, “It’s over. I’m choosing God. Please forgive me for whatever damage I’ve caused you and your marriage. Do not contact me again.”

Steve did not follow directions. He tried calling Michelle again. And again she sent him to voicemail. He tried sending several text. All fell on deaf ears…and eyes.

She said a silent prayer asking for strength. Finally, Michelle deleted all remnants of him from her phone and blocked his number.

Michelle sunk in the bed and slept – peacefully.

Writing Quotes — Janet Evanovich

melanievlogan:

Excellent motivation!  When it starts to feel like a dreaded chore, it may be a good idea to stop for a moment and ask why.  Sometimes we may put pressure on ourselves to make a deadline or make a story go a certain way.  Maybe taking a step back to answer the ‘why’ can release those pressures so that the writing can flow and be enjoyable again.

 

Originally posted on Anna Dobritt -- Author:

writingquotesJanetEvanovich07092015

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Funny thing happened on the way to the wedding…Part 3

Image: The Gifted Way

Image: The Gifted Way

Abby woke up with a terrible taste in her mouth, awful smell in her nose, and a headache that could have been deemed an eight on the Richter scale. She still hadn’t opened her eyes. And with what was going on with her other senses, she wasn’t sure she wanted to. But she had to take a peek – at least find out what that retched smell was.

Abby couldn’t believe her eyes. She was lying on a hard bench in a jail cell with five other women she did not know. She could have sworn she was in her apartment. She tried to reach into her hurting head to determine what was real and what had to be a dream. She was hoping her present situation was the latter, but unfortunately it wasn’t.

“Ahhh. Sleeping Beauty finally woke up.”

Abby looked over to see that the person addressing her was a tall, heavy-set woman who seemed mad at the world. Instead of responding Abby turned away.

“What?! You too good to speak?”

Abby still said nothing. Finally the woman walked over to her, and stood in the line of her vision. Abby tried to stare at the wall beside her out of fear and hope that the woman would go away.

“Abby Marlowe!” Abby jumped up from the bench and hurried to the front of the cell. “Let’s go! You’re being released.”

Abby was so thankful for the timing. She didn’t know what was about to happen, and with her luck thus far, it wouldn’t have been good.

After grabbing her belongings and heading towards the precinct exit, she caught sight of a man in a tuxedo and a woman in a wedding gown sitting in the waiting area. It was Agustin and his bride.

“Oh my goodness! What are you doing here?”

“Someone from the bar left a voicemail that you were being taken to jail. We thought we’d help since you were in trouble.”

“I don’t need your help.”

In the most southern of accents, “Well hun, seemed like you did.” Then with an attempt to soften the exchange, “Excuse Agustin’s manners, I’m his new wife, Madelyn. Why don’t we leave and discuss the matter elsewhere.”

“Good idea! I’ll leave, and you two can go elsewhere.” Abby moved swiftly past them and out the door.

Agustin followed with Madelyn closely behind. “C’mon, Abby! I, uh, we just want to make sure you get home safe.” Madelyn shot Agustin a barbed look, but said nothing. Finally he jogged to catch up with Abby, leaving his new wife behind out of earshot. “Abby, please. I still care about you. I couldn’t let you sit in there.”

“You could have sent someone else. Instead, I’m greeted with a man and woman that look like they belong on the top of a cake. I knew it was over Agustin, but I didn’t need the visuals. Besides, how did you convince her to come?”

“It wasn’t easy. And you’re right. I should have sent someone else. But Abby when I heard that message, old feelings kicked in. I knew you needed me and any other reasoning left my brain. It’s wrong, I know.” Agustin paused, looking up at the sky, then back at Abby. “I love my wife and I know I hurt her on the most important day of her life. Madelyn was willing to support me even when she wasn’t happy about it. Can’t you tell?”

“Actually, she seems like she’s trying out for a pageant. Too poised and polite. If the tables were turned, she would have had to just sit in jail. And if you chose to come anyway, we’d be heading to divorce court. Madelyn hasn’t really done anything.”

“I’m not surprised. She’s a patient woman. But I don’t want to put her in a position like this again.”

“You won’t.” Abby started walking back towards Madelyn with Agustin following suit. “Madelyn, thank you for coming to bail me out. I’m so sorry I ruined your special day. You don’t have to worry about me anymore.” Abby gave a heartfelt smile as she began to walk off.

Madelyn nodded. Agustin took her hand and led her towards the car, “I’m sorry.”

The married couple sat in silence with the only sound coming from the clang of the cans tied to the car bumper hitting against the street. “Just Married” painted on the back glass. Agustin hoped that in the years to come that this moment would be one of those things they could look back and laugh about.

Great minds think alike…or do they???

Image: Big Think

Image: Big Think

Have you ever had an idea or story that you felt was so unique that nobody else in the world could ever come up with the same thing? And then you see your idea on a store shelf or used as a storyline in a TV show or movie only to feel like somebody had to be looking inside your head.  What a bummer?

I keep a notebook for invention ideas and use other tools for story ideas, but I swear someone is peeking sometimes.   Sometimes it feels like a “doh!” moment, and other times a near crashing blow.  Regardless, I’m pressing on.  Eventually something will pan out.  :-)

Has this ever happened to you?  How did you feel about it?

Funny thing happened on the way to the wedding…Part 2

Abby decided to stay awhile, ordering as many drinks as her body could tolerate, or rather to numb every sense that was hurting. She really didn’t want to let him go, but she also didn’t want to be the one responsible for someone else’s pain.

With each drink, Abby tried to piece together a picture of what she thought Agustin’s fiancée looked like. Maybe she’s a beautiful, modelesque woman with long flowing hair and a Stepford wife personality. Then again, maybe she was an out-of-shape, hunch-backed troll with warts and hairs growing out of a mole on her nose. Abby giggled to herself.

“Hello, is this seat taken?”

Abby looked up to see a very handsome blonde-haired man stand before her with a gleaming smile. She perked up thinking that maybe her luck was about to change. “No, no one’s sitting there.”

“Thanks!” The handsome man took the chair and rejoined his group of friends who seemed to be celebrating something or another.

Abby sulked. Head low. Heart lower.

“I guarantee you that whatever it is, really isn’t as bad as you think.”

The man’s accent was thick. Between that and the effects of the alcohol, Abby’s mind was starting to swoon. She really didn’t want to entertain conversation – mostly because she didn’t want to make the same mistake twice. “Yeah, well, you don’t know so why don’t you buzz off.”

“I could, but you look like you need a friend.”

Abby looked up at the man – hard. “And I guess you’re trying to be my friend, right?”

“Alright, alright. Maybe not a friend per se. Maybe I could be a listening ear.”

Abby really did want someone to talk to. She need to be comforted, but a part of her felt like she was being desperate about confiding in a stranger.

“How about we start with names.” He smiled trying to encourage Abby to do the same. “I’m Khalil. And you are…?”

“Abby.”

“What is troubling you Abby?”

“You just want to jump right in. Let me ask you this. If I tell you all about me, what benefit is it to you?”

Khalil sat back in his chair considering her question. “Is it so wrong for a person to want to help another?”

“No, but most men have some type of agenda when they see a woman who’s down.”

“Sorry you think that way. I am not most men. I want to help you, if I can.”

Abby leaned back. Her brain was still swimming, fighting against inebriation to determine whether to take a chance or not.  He was decent looking.  Tan skinned with coal-black hair and a friendly smile.  But most of all he was being nice at a time when it seemed that she was falling apart.  After studying him, she gave in.  She hoped it wasn’t another mistake.

Abby gave the highlights of her day with Khalil listening attentively. There was something about his eyes that made her feel comfortable.  As the conversation continued, Khalil’s eyes danced in a way like a snake charmer putting his prey in a trance. Before Abby realized it, they were leaving the restaurant and heading back to his place.

When all was said and done, Abby had slept with Khalil. She felt ashamed, embarrassed, and like an easy whore. While Khalil was still sleep, Abby eased out of bed, grabbed her clothes, and cried all the way home. She couldn’t believe she’d stooped to this level. Was the hurt from Agustin that bad that she had to resort to this?

Abby didn’t know what to do with herself. She didn’t have girlfriends to confide in or at least a relative that she felt wouldn’t judge her. She wanted to turn herself inside out and wash away all the bad things that had happened today. But all she could do was pace….rummage through uncomfortable feelings….rack her brain through questions that didn’t seem to have answers.

Ding, dong.

Abby stood still. She prayed that Khalil had not followed her.

“Abby open up. It’s me.”

“Agustin?” Abby hurried to open the door.   “What are you doing here?”

Agustin hastily entered the apartment, taking Abby’s face into his hands. He began kissing her. Abby pushed him away.

“Aren’t you supposed to be getting married?”

Agustin slowly held up his left hand.  Without making direct eye contact, “I am married.”

Abby moved further away from him wiping away his kiss with the back of her hand. “Married?! Shouldn’t you be with your wife then? Why would you come here?”

“Abby, I love you. I don’t really know why I went through with the wedding, but I know my life is with you.”

“Get out!”

“But Abby can’t we talk about it?”

Abby started a push-punch combination on Agustin, “GET OUT!”

He left. Abby slunk on the couch.  Her emotions were numb, but her mind was in disbelief.  She quickly scanned the room to see if maybe she was being punked.