The Cast


The Cast

By Nandy Ekle


Auditions are now open for your story. You need a cast of characters to carry this tale and it’s time to find them.

First we need a main character who normally is the protagonist. This is the person through whose view point we see the world. This person tells us thoughts and actions, intentions, and feelings. We want him/her to be the good guy and win in the end.

Next we need an antagonist, traditionally the bad guy. This character tries to stop the main character from reaching their goal, whether on purpose with diabolical evil or strictly by accident. This character can be someone who starts out one way then changes in midstream, or can be a person who never changes or wavers an inch while the protagonist grows and matures. The antagonist doesn’t even have to be a person at all but nature or even the protagonist against himself.

The fun begins when we mix it all up. Maybe our main character is not a good guy. Maybe our protagonist is really the bad guy and we use him to show the world the other side of the coin. And then the antagonist can be the one trying to thwart the bad guy.

I have heard some famous actors say that playing the bad guy in a play or movie is the most fun acting.

Open your imagination to the “what ifs” of the darker side of the world and have some fun.

Congratulations. You have just received a post card from the muse.


Food in Writing

Food in Writing

by Adam Huddleston


While humans seem obsessed with dividing themselves along religious, political, or cultural lines, there are a few things which bind us together. One of the basic examples of these is food. We all need it and desire it. Looking at my waistline, some desire it more than others!

When it comes to writing about food, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. Don’t skimp on the adjectives. People love food and want to know what it looks, smells, and tastes like in your story.
  2. Although it may sound like it contradicts #1, don’t go overboard with the descriptions. As always, try to use clear, concise words. One or two strong adjectives are always better than three or more weak ones.
  3. Try to include foods in your story that are appropriate for the character, setting, etc. Good research and first-hand knowledge will tell you what types of food and drink people in a particular region enjoy.
  4. Do remember to make the food personal for the character. Tell us how they feel when eating or drinking. Relate the experience to something in their past. If you make it personal for the character, you will for the reader as well.

Happy writing!

Television Opportunities

Outtakes 198

Television Opportunities

By Cait Collins


I am enjoying the History Channel’s presentation of Texas Rising. I truly appreciate the advancement of original programming on the cable networks. The major networks have positioned themselves to become real leaders in the entertainment industry. Major performers used to shy away from the “small screen” as they appeared to think accepting a television contract would destroy careers. Not so any more.

Last season Kevin Costner brought The Hatfields and McCoys to the History Channel. The production quality rivaled that of the major movie studios. An all-star cast, spectacular cinematography, top-notch writing, excellent marketing, and an attention to historic detail created hours of entertainment. Game of Thrones is one of the most popular series on TV. TNT has hits with Major Crimes, Rizzoli and Isles, Under the Dome, and Cold Justice. Suits will soon begin a new season on USA. Higher budget shows have resulted in more quality programming. The trend toward short seasons calls for more original shows. The new series have brought more viewers to the Cable channels and created a higher demand for good writers.

Actors may be talented, costumers and set designers creative, directors motivating, and producers quick to come up with cash, but without inventive writers, there is no program. The writer creates the characters and keeps them alive and vibrant by giving them new challenges and a stream of secondary characters to play off of. The settings are developed by the writer and have led to memorable locales. Cabot Cove, Maine; M*A*S*H’s O R’s and the Swamp, South Fork Ranch, and Walton’s’ Mountain can be found in the television atlas.

Screen and television scripts require special training and an understanding of basic production, but they are fun to write. They are also a great plotting tool for books and short stories which can be a second sales opportunity. And you don’t have to move to New York or California to get the necessary education. Check the catalogue for your local college or university to see what they offer in screenwriting and production techniques.

With this in mind, what is your idea for a new television series? Will you write a sitcom or a drama? What occupations will the characters have? What is the setting? Will they be wealthy or middle class? What are their flaws and what are their strengths? Happy writing.



By Natalie Bright


Calm, serene, cool, the color of the sky and sea. Blue is my favorite color. I guess that’s why I love the Texas sky so much. We enjoy so many shades of an endless sky blue stretching as far as the eye can see.

Blue has such a positive vibe, creating a mental soothing, as opposed to red which creates a physical reaction. Blue is mentally calming. Consider the products that use blue such as vodka, water purification systems, airlines, mineral water. High tech gadgets use blue to put forward precision. Blue is associated to males, and is considered to be the preferred color for corporate America.

Light blue: health, soft and fluffy clouds, healing, tranquil seas, understanding.

Dark blue: power suit, seriousness of a mortician, knowledge, integrity.

Blue can have create negative mental images as well: lack of emotion, cold, aloof, unfriendly.


Sky, sapphire, azure, delft turquoise, aqua, aquamarine, violet, peacock, teal, cobalt, royal, navy, steel, powder




The Click


The Click

By Nandy Ekle


In my day job, I read a lot of contracts, and I read some court documents. I analyze these papers and put together letters to answer any question our customers feel like asking. Even though I am writing, it’s a very different kind of writing from that of story telling. And I would never use any facts from any contract or customer in my story, and I work very hard to keep the right side of my brain completely separate from the left side.

While these two types of writing are entire worlds apart, occasionally they do bump into one another. It just goes to show how pieces of stories are just laying around like grains of sand on the beach.

I’ve had this story in the back of my head for a while. I have my characters, setting, and the main points of the plot. I think I even started it a while back, but allowed it to rest long enough that I forgot to finish it.

So I was reading a court document concerning a lawsuit between two entities and found something very interesting that caused a clicking noise in my head. In fact, it was so interesting I immediately saw some things that could happen, and they were a little bit scary. The next thing that happened was the four characters from partially written story began to scream and jump up and down.

Immediately I saw how this new piece of information could be used to create the last few pieces I needed to finally put this story together.

Congratulations. You have just received a post card from the muse.






My Favorite Works of Fiction

My Favorite Works of Fiction

by Adam Huddleston


A couple of weeks ago I published a blog concerning my favorite non-fiction books for writers. This week, I would like to list a few of my favorite works of fiction (in no particular order). As you can imagine, me being a life-long reader of fantasy and horror, the list is full of selections from those genres.

Stephen King has always been a “fave” of mine. He has a plethora of thrillers and chillers. Some works seek to get you at the “gross-out” level. Others are more intimate examinations of the inner-self. My favorite novel of his belongs to the latter; “The Long Walk.” Reminiscent of Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery”, this story follows a young man as he participates in a horrific annual tradition. The book is eerie and very well written.

Shifting to fantasy, you can’t find many works better than those of J.R.R. Tolkien. In a world where new writers are shoveling their wares in both bookstores and electronically, this legendary author’s work stands the test of time and his “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy is, to me at least, at the top. It is the definition of an epic fantasy with a huge cast of characters, a sprawling world, and an entire language created by the author.

The late Michael Crichton penned a ton of great science-fiction stories, many of which were adapted into motion pictures. My favorite work of his is “Jurassic Park.” The movie, once it gets going, travels at a break-neck pace. Guess what? The novel does as well. The author even goes into great detail concerning how they manipulated the DNA to create the stories antagonists.

The last piece I’ll mention is one by Richard Adams. One of my earliest cinematic memories is watching “Watership Down” on a VHS player in my parent’s bedroom. When I was older, I discovered that it was based on a novel of the same name. The book does a great job of personifying the characters, mostly rabbits with a black-headed gull thrown in for good measure, and bringing their adventures to life. Like Tolkien, Richard Adams gives us a healthy dose of backstory, native language, and even a form of lupine religion.

Whatever your favorite genre might be, these novels are worth looking into. They will give insight into proper world building, plot, dialogue, and character development.

Happy writing; and reading!

It’s One of Those Days

Outtakes 197

It’s One of Those Days

By Cait Collins


Have you ever had one of those days when every electronic device you touched just rebelled? Monday was just such a day. My computer at work was slow in booting up and I barely clocked in on time. Then one of the main systems decided to have the hic-ups. It would freeze, or decide not to work at all. My new cell phone sent an activation message, but it didn’t fully activate. I spent 20 minutes on the phone trying to correct the problem, but the tech’s system didn’t want to work. A now my Netbook wants to run marathons when I touch the scroll bar.

Needless to say, it ain’t been a good day for electronics.

Don’t get me wrong. I do appreciate the conveniences modern electronics afford. But the more parts, the more things to break or stop working. Sometimes I wish for my trusty IBM electric typewriter and correction strips. Then I remember how difficult corrections and changes were to make. How many trees did I kill retyping whole chapters in order to add or delete segments and paragraphs? Yes, computers, cell phones and tablets have their places. I just wish my six-year old nephew’s comfort with the devices wasn’t so intimidating.

Since I’m frustrated with everything electronic, I think it’s time to shut everything down and open a good book. A real book with a cover, pages, a spine and a back. I’ve never had a book freeze, shut down, or crash. It’s nice to have something to rely on.

Basic Social Media for Writers

Basic Social Media for Writers 

By Rory C. Keel


After mountains of research, hours of keeping my rear end in the chair and wearing out the keyboard, they expect me to do what?

Yes, that’s right, as a writer you need to have an internet presence on social media.

Recently, I was asked to present some basic materials about social media, to the Ranch House writers, a group of writers who occasionally gather for a meal and encouragement from others in the writing community.

This blog will be the first in a series of four, dealing with the basics of social media for writers.

What is Social Media

Simply put, social media is a varied group of internet based applications that allow YOU to create and share content.

Early in the development of the internet, most websites were static. In other words, much like a billboard on the highway, it was costly to change and no had ability to interact with consumers.

Today, social media platforms give writers the ability to create, share, discuss ideas, and publish user-generated materials.

These applications are often categorized into groups such as networking sites, blog sites, video Sharing sites and even photo sharing sites. There are hundreds of applications and Facebook, Twitter, Google +, YouTube and Flickr are just a few examples.

Will Social Media benefit me as a writer?

While there are many reasons an individual might use social media, for the writer it’s as simple as Business 101.

Writing is a business

Have you ever read the reviews of a restaurant before going out to dinner? Have you ever researched someone on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIN, before meeting for an appointment?

It is estimated that in 2015, 93 percent of all businesses will use some form of social media. For both consumers and businesses it has become the norm and is expected.

Using Social Media

Using social media as a writer allows easy communication between you and your readers. It is a medium that allows the ability to develop relationships by having accessibility to groups where individual time is not possible.

And finally, social media allows you multiple mediums to develop your brand as a writer. By blogging, posting, tweeting, google plus-ing, you can establish yourself as a writer and build a large readership.

Next Tuesday we will discuss which social media platform to use. See ya’ then!