Outtakes 368


By Cait Collins


When setting the location for your story, what do you look for?  Do you choose an actual place or is it from your imagination?  What draws you to the city or town?  Where is it located?  If the location is in the United States, which state are you considering?  Are you familiar with the city or town and the state? What’s the population?  Who are the biggest employers?  Is there a college or university in the area?  Is there a historic district?  Did any major, historic event occur in the area?  Describe Main Street.  Where are the popular hang outs:  a bar, a diner, the library?  Is there a well-known landmark?  What is the major building material:  wood, brick, native stone?

Are the locals affluent, middle class, under privileged, or a mixture of all classes? What are the major ethnic backgrounds?  Describe your antagonist, protagonist, and major supporting character’s homes.  Where’s the best place to buy an ice cream sundae?

Does it matter if your setting is real or from your imagination?  Not really because all of this information, and more, is necessary to build the setting for the story.  While the location is essential to the work, it should not take over the tale.

The International Hero


The International Hero

By Nandy Ekle

I am a very confirmed introvert. And really, I think a lot of writers are. Think about it. Writers spend a lot of time alone, with characters they made up, in a world they made up. And I believe they enjoy it that way. That’s the reason they do it. Dealing with people in your head is much easier than dealing with people in the room next to you.

And that’s the reason that for my day job, I do not answer phones; I write letters. Even though I sign my name to each every letter I write to each and every client I communicate with through my correspondence, I can still be anonymous.

So the day came when I was to send a fax to a client, but this client had the type of fax machine that had to be turned on before it would answer the fax. When means my instruction was to call the client on the telephone and advise him I was about to send him a fax.

Need I say how this affected me.

Sweat popped on the palms of my hands. I saw black dots before my eyes. My heart palpitated. And my lungs refused to pull enough air to feed my body. I was going to have call a complete stranger and speak to him. And since my telephone is not a recorded line, I was not supposed to have a conversation. I was to simply say, “Mr. Client, I am sending you a fax. Good bye.” 

Yes, I was terrified.

Now, when I was a kid in high school, I acted in several plays. And, really and truly, I was not too bad. And, of course, I am a writer, constantly creating characters and situations. And at other intensely nerve wracking times of my life, such as job interviews, I had been known to invent characters to hide behind while I did what I had to do to get through it.

So that’s what I did in order to call this client.

Suddenly I was a svelte secretary for an important global corporation. I had to call this client because he was waiting for my call to keep the global-sized bomb from obliterating the entire earth.

I wiped my hands on the sides of my gorgeous sheath dress and walked across the room in my stiletto heels, not wavering one bit. My perfectly coiffed hair stayed out of my way as I picked up the receiver to the phone.

When the phone call was finished and the fax was sent (fax report stated successful), I sat at my desk and thought about what a close call that was. I had made the call and saved the world.

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


At the End of the Day



At the End of the Day

by Nandy Ekle

Eight to nine hours sitting in a chair at a desk in an office. I collect a paycheck every other week, pay my bills, buy food for my family, and go to the doctor regularly. For the first few years, I loved my day job. But lately, not so much. I read the same contract over and over (and over and over and over and over… ). And it seems like procedures change without notice, and then I’m called on the carpet because I didn’t see it coming.

And so, my dreams of the future have shifted.

One day not long ago (probably about 31 days ago), my muse turned up at my front door begging to be let back in. Of course, I grabbed her and held her as tightly as I could. All I could say was, “Of course!” and “I’ll never let you go away again!” To which she replied, “I promise never to leave you again!”

Today, as I sat at my desk reading the same contracts over and over and answering the same questions over and over, in the back of my mind I heard, “I’m waiting for you to get home. I have lots of words to tell you.”

And that made the day go much faster.

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