Outtakes 329


By Cait Collins


I can’t believe it’s almost Christmas and I’m not ready. I have bags of gifts to wrap, parties, family dinners, and a few more days to work before taking a few days off. My plan is to finish the last three chapters in my short story during my break. But this time of the year my writing plans are often sidelined. Instead of sweating it, I’m going to work with it. If an hour a day is all I can manage, I’ll devote all my energy to that hour. I’ll make sure I use that time wisely. At the same time, I will not sacrifice the season’s joys. I want to enjoy my family and friends. So I will find a way to balance the work and the fun.

I hope that all my fellow writers are able to find that balance for themselves. Enjoy the holidays and write well.




It started as a dirt path connecting neighbors, communities, states and finally a nation.

Route 66 was an overland route traveled by pioneers, migrant farmers and anyone going west looking for the American dream. From wagon ruts to an asphalt highway, it has connected generations of people.

Join us as we travel through time from the early days and well into the future on the Mother Road.

OUR TIME ON ROUTE 66 is full of stories that tell of good times and bad, love and heartache, from the past to beyond tomorrow, and all of them connected by one stop, the Tower Station, and U-Drop Inn.


Is Your Story Original?

Is Your Story Original?

by Adam Huddleston


Perusing the discussions on r/writing (a subreddit for writers), I came across a basic question one redditor asked: How do I know if my idea is original or if it’s been done before? There were several excellent responses, which is comforting since I myself have wondered the same thing before.

To summarize the best responses, I would say that you can attempt to read as much as possible in your particular genre. See what works and what doesn’t, what similarities and differences your work has with others’ work, and what changes you could make that would make your story better.

Most importantly, relax! There are really only a handful of plots that have been used throughout history. Your details are what makes your story unique! Don’t be afraid to write it!


Outtakes 328


By Cait Collins


Sometimes I have trouble getting into my characters heads. I just don’t understand why they don’t respond as I think they should. To correct the problem, I try to recall a similar incident in my own life and recall my emotions and responses. How did my reactions differ from those of the character? How did I express my feelings? How do my character traits compare to those of the character?

Here’s the situation. Cara has been dating Mark for several months. She thinks everything is fine until she sees him with her best friend, Barbie. There is nothing suggesting the encounter is casual. In fact, it’s a steamy public display of affection or lust. The lip-lock speaks volumes.

Cara is devastated. Instead of confronting the couple, she breaks into tears and runs off. Once she gets home, she calls a couple of her friends and tearfully tells the story to them. Soon Barbie is no longer welcome in the friends circle and Mark is getting the cold shoulder from everyone. It’s a pretty typical response. And boring.

What if Cara pretended she wasn’t bothered by the events? Why not do the stiff upper-lip bit and shrug it off in public. Then when she’s alone, she breaks down and cries her eyes out. No tears in public. No angry displays. No name calling. After all, no self-respecting woman wants a man to think he can’t be replaced.

Instead Cara begins to write that novel she claimed she always wanted to write. She kills Mark and Barbie off in the book. The book is picked up by a big publishing house and it becomes a best seller. Cara finds happiness in a new career and in a new relationship. She maintains her self-respect and doesn’t have to apologize for making a scene and making everyone’s lives miserable.

Have I ever used this method to get over a bad situation? Absolutely. Writing is the best therapy.