Unwrapping the Story


Outtakes 366

Unwrapping the Story

By Cait Collins

 

One of the problems with having a big family is trying to find a time for everyone to get together to celebrate the holidays.  At Christmas it’s often eat fast, exchange gifts, and go to the in-laws or rush off to have dinner with the significant other’s family. And sometimes, it’s just seems like crossing one more items off the list.

One of my sisters had a new idea.  She and another sister gathered prizes and over 300 feet of plastic wrap. They wrapped the prizes into two balls of plastic. The younger children were given the smaller ball and a pair of dice. They stood around a table. One child had the ball and the child on the right rolled the dice.  The child with the ball could unwrap the plastic until doubles were rolled. The ball and dice were passed to the right. This continued until all the prizes were found.

Adults and older kids were up next.  The ball was larger and the contestants were handicapped. We had to wear oven mitts when unwrapping the plastic. I assure you it was not an easy task. About the time I found a thread, someone yelled, “Doubles,” and I had to pass the ball. The unraveling took around 45 minutes filled with laughter and teasing. I truly enjoyed myself. The best part was dinner and the games came before the gift exchange. We were together longer.

Sometimes I feel writing my stories is similar to the plastic ball of surprises. I have a story line and characters, but the details are harder to come by. Characters are never introduced fully developed. The layers are revealed by circumstances, developments, triumphs, and disappointments. Each layer revealed shows the characters’ strengths, weaknesses, hopes and dreams. The revelations create likable and relatable heroes and heroines along with despicable villains.

The story also has layers. The events must unfold along a believable time line. And characters must be introduced at the proper time with just the right amount of detail. Like the handicap of wearing oven mitts when unwrapping the plastic ball, the story must have roadblocks and time constraints. The plot cannot be too easy or too predictable.

When a story seems to take a wrong turn or lose focus, instead of giving up, roll the dice, hope for doubles, and receive the ball with the expectation of finding a new part of the story puzzle. Never lose sight of the goal…a story the reader will enjoy and want to read again. Above all, do not forget the fun in finding a new character or story twist. And never let allow the handicaps to defeat you. Grab the ball and shake the bindings until they loosen and the treasures fall out. The tidbits are the gems that make the story.

Advertisements

THE WRITING LIFE QUOTES


“If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it. Or, if proper usage gets in the way, it may have to go. I can’t allow what we learned in English composition to disrupt the sound and rhythm of the narrative.”
—Elmore Leonard

The Writing Life Quotes


The Writing Life Quotes

Natalie Bright

 

“The greatest part of a writer’s time is spent in reading, in order to write; a man will turn over half a library to make one book.”
—Samuel Johnson

Malapropism


Malapropism

by Adam Huddleston

This week’s literary term is: malapropism.  It is defined as the use of an incorrect word (usually for comedic effect) with a similar sound in place of the correct word.  For example, in William Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing”, a character states “Our watch, sir, have indeed comprehended two auspicious persons” (replacing apprehended and suspicious).  This effect is often used by characters who are either uneducated or wish to appear so.  

I hope this helps in your craft.  Happy writing!

It’s A Book Event


It’s A Book Event

And You’re Invited!

Please help me celebrate the release of our new Anthology

OUR TIME ON ROUTE 66

Join me for a book signing event on historic Route 66

Saturday, December 1. — 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM

Lile Art Gallery

2719 SW 6th Avenue, Amarillo

Lile’s is home of the famous Cadilite jewelry, made from paint chips off the Cadillac ranch.

Scroll down for more about the book.

 

About the Book:

If you’re needing a unique gift or if you’re a fan of Route 66, this new anthology is for you!

OUR TIME ON ROUTE 66 tells 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 on Route 66.

It started as a dirt path connecting neighbors, communities, states and 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 paved highway, it has connected generations of people.

Five unique short stories and novellas set on historic Route 66 in Texas.

A gripping story of family betrayal, deep despair, and a young girl’s courageous triumph. MAGGIE’S BETRAYAL by Natalie Bright

A young soldier leaves his new bride for war sharing their life through letters in this heartfelt story. WAITING by Rory C. Keel

A down-on-his-luck cowboy sees opportunity in a young widow’s neglected ranch in 1944 Texas. SUDDEN TURNS by Joe Nichols

A Cherokee Chief predicts Mora O’Hara’s future as she travels The Mother Road seeking closure after a career related tragedy. SHOWDOWN AT U-DROP INN by Cait Collins

Raylen Dickey learns the difference between her friends, lovers, and enemies. FEAR OF HEIGHTS by Nandy Ekle

The Writing Life Quotes


The Writing Life Quotes

Natalie Bright

 

“Making people believe the unbelievable is no trick; it’s work. … Belief and reader absorption come in the details: An overturned tricycle in the gutter of an abandoned neighborhood can stand for everything.”
—Stephen King (Writer’s Digest 
an interview with King in our May/June 2009 issue)

It’s A Book Event


It’s A Book Event

And You’re Invited!

Please help me celebrate the release of our new Anthology

OUR TIME ON ROUTE 66

Join me for a book signing event on historic Route 66

Saturday, December 1. — 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM

Lile Art Gallery

2719 SW 6th Avenue, Amarillo

Lile’s is home of the famous Cadilite jewelry, made from paint chips off the Cadillac ranch.

Scroll down for more about the book.

 

About the Book:

If you’re needing a unique gift or if you’re a fan of Route 66, this new anthology is for you!

OUR TIME ON ROUTE 66 tells 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 on Route 66.

It started as a dirt path connecting neighbors, communities, states and 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 paved highway, it has connected generations of people.

Five unique short stories and novellas set on historic Route 66 in Texas.

A gripping story of family betrayal, deep despair, and a young girl’s courageous triumph. MAGGIE’S BETRAYAL by Natalie Bright

A young soldier leaves his new bride for war sharing their life through letters in this heartfelt story. WAITING by Rory C. Keel

A down-on-his-luck cowboy sees opportunity in a young widow’s neglected ranch in 1944 Texas. SUDDEN TURNS by Joe Nichols

A Cherokee Chief predicts Mora O’Hara’s future as she travels The Mother Road seeking closure after a career related tragedy. SHOWDOWN AT U-DROP INN by Cait Collins

Raylen Dickey learns the difference between her friends, lovers, and enemies. FEAR OF HEIGHTS by Nandy Ekle

It’s A Book Event


It’s A Book Event

And You’re Invited!

Please help me celebrate the release of our new Anthology

OUR TIME ON ROUTE 66

Join me for a book signing event on historic Route 66

Saturday, December 1. — 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM

Lile Art Gallery

2719 SW 6th Avenue, Amarillo

Lile’s is home of the famous Cadilite jewelry, made from paint chips off the Cadillac ranch.

Scroll down for more about the book.

 

About the Book:

If you’re needing a unique gift or if you’re a fan of Route 66, this new anthology is for you!

OUR TIME ON ROUTE 66 tells 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 on Route 66.

It started as a dirt path connecting neighbors, communities, states and 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 paved highway, it has connected generations of people.

Five unique short stories and novellas set on historic Route 66 in Texas.

A gripping story of family betrayal, deep despair, and a young girl’s courageous triumph. MAGGIE’S BETRAYAL by Natalie Bright

A young soldier leaves his new bride for war sharing their life through letters in this heartfelt story. WAITING by Rory C. Keel

A down-on-his-luck cowboy sees opportunity in a young widow’s neglected ranch in 1944 Texas. SUDDEN TURNS by Joe Nichols

A Cherokee Chief predicts Mora O’Hara’s future as she travels The Mother Road seeking closure after a career related tragedy. SHOWDOWN AT U-DROP INN by Cait Collins

Raylen Dickey learns the difference between her friends, lovers, and enemies. FEAR OF HEIGHTS by Nandy Ekle

The Writing Life Quotes


 

“Who wants to become a writer? And why? Because it’s the answer to everything. … It’s the streaming reason for living. To note, to pin down, to build up, to create, to be astonished at nothing, to cherish the oddities, to let nothing go down the drain, to make something, to make a great flower out of life, even if it’s a cactus.”
—Enid Bagnold