Making It Real

How do you make sure your scenes are real?

First, last times clichés:

In a Pinch – When hard-pressed. The British expression, “at a pinch,” is from the 15th century. See William Caxton in his translation of The Book of Faytes of Armes and of Chyualrye (1489). In 1888 Robert Louis Stevenson wrote Black Arrow and used it as “in a pinch.” There’s a related expression “in a jam,” which implies that one is “squeezed” or “compressed,” by circumstances, into a tight spot.

Jet Set – A fashionable social group. This term originated in the 1950s soon after the introduction of jet-propelled aircraft travel. The term caught on rapidly. First applied to the affluent socialites who traveled around the world to fashionable resorts; later it was extended to a wealthy social group in general, whether or not its members actually traveled frequently. Jet set replaced the earlier version smart set, in America anyway.

On the Go – This is a repeated cliché I used in my blog on June 5, 2014. It’s from the 19th century, to be extremely active and busy.

So, how many did you find?

The best way to get a rise out of your reader is to write something that is not true or does not have a ring of truth. To avoid this, what do you do?

In Night Terror, I watched arson films, read books on arson and arsonists, interviewed two arson investigators, several firefighters, paramedics, and nurses. When I first started my book, there was an arson investigator Johnny-on-the-spot, and I had him over for dinner and interviewed him. If I was unsure about a scene, I would ask my husband who was a volunteer firefighter. I also called the local fire department and asked questions to make sure the scene was correct. One of my readers asked me if I was a firefighter.

As far as killing my characters, the best source is D.P. Lyle, M.D. who is a good Samaritan. I have his books: Murder and Mayhem, Forensics for Dummies, and Forensics and Fiction, and by using is website, the Writer’s Medical and Forensics Lab ( he will work with writers and readers to make the stories they write and read more authentic. In my next book, Vanity Killed I emailed Dr. Lyle about my death scene to make sure it worked. I also asked him about a scene in my book I’m working on now.

So, if you don’t want to write a cock and bull story, do your research to make sure each scene is the best it can be.

Keep Writing,


Traveling and Writing

How do you handle your writing when you are traveling?

First, last times clichés:

Win Brownie Points – Earn credits to one’s good standing, advancement. This term comes from the system of awards used by the Girl Scouts of America, junior division, known as the “Brownies.” Mid-20th Century was used figuratively to good deeds or worthy accomplishments in any area. Term calls up images of a hunter quietly concealed in the brush, waiting for game. See Joel Chandler Harris’s Uncle Remus stories.

To risk Life and Limb – To take a serious chance; jeopardize one’s life. This hyperbole for courting danger has been used since the 17th century, even though it makes little sense (life, after all, comprises one’s limbs as well). See James Howell in a letter (1623) and Thomas Burton’s diary entry of 1658.

To speak volumes – To be very expressive on a subject or say a great deal about something. It dates from about 1800 and continues to be current. M. Wilmot used in a letter of May 3 1803.

So, how many did you get?

When you are traveling, how do you write? Do you have a computer? Tablet, such as an I-Pad? Or in a pinch, do you use a pen and paper?

If I’m going to be gone for a long time I bring my I-pad and computer. Of course, I have my manuscript printed out and with different colored pens, edit on it. With the I-Pad do you know there are several apps to use such as Evernote, penultimate (which allows you to handwrite) and many more available?

My novel Night Terror was started with a pen and handwritten on a little 2 x 3 notepad that I carried in my purse. It’s not that I jet set around, but my husband loves to travel, so we’re on the go a lot.

Writing while traveling can be challenging, but it is manageable.

Keep Writing,