Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Have Neglected My Turn to Post

 And I have a lot of excuses--I've really been busy. Unfortunately, not from writing my next Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery. I wish that were the excuse.

No, I've had many other things I've had to get done, including caring for my husband, the most important of all. We're both up there in age which means it take me long to do most anything.

Happily, I am in good health and my brain still functions--though I confess a bit slower.

Yes, I rally want to get back to writing.

I have been doing some promoting on the Internet for my latest and I think, last Rocky Bluff P.D. mystery, REVERSAL OF FORTUNE. I've nearly finished a virtual book tour--which has resulted in some sales. 

I had so much fun writing REVERAL OF FORTUNE, and using what I learned about fortune tellers in this tale. I also tied up some loosed ends, and I think I left the readers enough clues that they can imagine what happens next in the personal lives of the ongoing characters. Believe me, it is hard to leave all those people.

And I've been lamenting the fact there hasn't been many opportunities for in-person events. In the past, there were always some library events to participate in. Covid ended most of those in our part of Califonia. 

My author's life has definitely changed. 

Marilyn who also wrote the Rocky Bluff P.D. series as F.M. Meredith

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

The Deus Ex Machina Temptation

by Janis Patterson

Writers have been lazy for a long time, even back to the earliest days of literature and drama, like the Ancient Greeks. They weren’t so much into novels - though they did have a form of them - but they were very big into theatre. Some of their plays are still performed in their original (albeit translated) form today.

One thing, though, that does not translate well is the concept of Deus ex Machina - i.e., god in the machine. The Greeks loved multi-thread stories, and they did so love to complicate them, crossing storyline and storyline and getting everything so mixed up that the action looked like a snarl of delicate yarn after three rampaging kittens have finished playing with it. 

It got to the point where it would take another play longer than the first one to get everything unsnarled - if it could be in direct action at all - that the concept of Deus ex Machina evolved. Some god or another would come down from Olympus at the moment of maximum confusion, deliver a trenchant little homily on the fecklessness of man and sort things out with direct action. In other words, he would say ‘you go with you, and you go with you, and you are a criminal so you need to go to jail...’ etc. Morally and romantically satisfying, I guess, but really really bad drama.

These days we aren’t so big on gods coming down and meddling in our business - though at certain times I really think we could use some! - but writers have been known to substitute Great-Aunt Debbie or sweet old Professor Smith or even a talking cat for Zeus or Apollo. And that is not only a disservice to the readers, it’s a cheat, which is an insult to the reader. Worst of all, it is terribly lazy writing. Our characters need to work out their own problems in a rational and logical manner - and our readers need to see them do it.

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Tips for New Writers

 Recently I did some editing for a new writer and some of the problems I noted and jotted down were the following:

Character development:

Let the reader visually see the characters either through the POV character's eyes including clothing, or in the main characters case, there are ways to let the reader know how he/she looks by problems if he/she is extremely short or tall, and preferred choice of clothing--why?


How do people speak? Short sentences, clipped words, if they have an accent needs to be the same all through the book, use cliches, big words, incomplete sentences.

Dialogue tags:

Use the speaker's action, or what he does with his clothes, etc. as action tags.

Leave out the boring stuff. 


Description of what color things are--surroundings, clothing, cars, etc.


Can be important in setting a scene--good smells and bad.


Weather can add complications to the plot. 

Where the heck are they?  Give some descriptions of the scene. 


Need to have conflict to make the story interesting.

If you can change a sentence around to get out of using the word "was", do so. Makes for better writing.

Just a few things I noted while going over the chapter I was editing.

Bet you could add some other good ones.