Was watching an old episode of NCIS the other night — one of my favorites, where Special Agent Timothy McGee (a novelist on the side) is being razzed by his co-workers for basing his characters on them. It’s what writers do. Especially novelists. We transform our experiences, and the people we know, into workable scenes. It’s so tempting right now because I work with a Savannah and a Cheyanne. I mean really! What great names! Two beautiful young girls who would make great characters at that! I don’t know Cheyanne’s boy friend, but Savannah’s guy–also at our workplace–is great. One of the characters I’ve been working on is so much like him already, it’s scary. Actually, everybody I work with is a character. It’s like having almost two dozen new little brothers. And there are four Chris’s there, too. Maybe I should put them all in John Victor’s second adventure. Chris could throttle Chrissy while Christy and Chris race to save the day. Not familiar with John Victor? He’s a treasure hunter based on my brother (John Victor) from Alaska. His first adventure, entitled “The SEED” was nominated by a college professor to be on a required reading list for incoming freshmen, (yes, really!) and it was a top-ten finalist in a national contest (as a work in progress long before it was published). Check it out at http://www.annrichduncan.com.
Hey, what a kick! My brother (the inspiration and namesake for Johnny Vic) called the other day to say he was sending some gold nuggets and old coins for me to offer in some sort of contest or game online. Now, all I have to do is figure out how to do it. I’ll be researching other author sites to see how they’ve done it. Til then, see ya!
So, aside from reading, reading and reading more . . . writing, writing and writing more, one thing all of us writers (published authors or aspiring authors) should do is get together with other writers. Great way to do it? Attend a conference like the Unicorn conference on April 28 in Connecticut organized by my agent, or the Horace Greeley Writers’ Conference in October in Poultney, VT. Interested? Check ’em out.
Another thing us serious writers do? We study our environment. Our family and friends. Our co-workers. Our topography. Our local history. Our local news. Our . . . well I could go on and on, but you get the picture. I’m hoping that this habit I have of sitting on the sidelines watching and mentally writing is the habit of a some-day-to-be successful writer. And hey! Time for bragging! My novel, The SEED, has been nominated by a college professor to be added to a required reading list for incoming freshmen!!! Whoop whoop! Got you at least a little bit curious? Check it out at: www.annrichduncan.com. And don’t miss the video–just click the you tube box at the bottom of the home page. It’s a hoot.
So, week one of the “factory type” job is almost done. No writing this week. Had two nights of overtime. Getting home at 1:30 AM doesn’t make the muse happy. Got some ideas for “work site scenes” though. The place is full of real characters! I had one of them (my trainer no less) laugh so hard he couldn’t stop and had to yell, “Retreat!” It’s a comedy scene that’ll keep my readers laughing for sure. Speaking of comedy scenes, if you haven’t read my novel of suspense, “The SEED”, you’ll get a kick out of Melvin. “The SEED” deals with the dangerous path we’re traveling on in regard to genetically modified foods. The hero is loosely based on my brother, a treasure hunter with a gold mine in Alaska. Here’s Mel in action . . . .
I ain’t involved in no kidnappin’, Melvin thought when he hung up the phone. “I gotta get away!” He collapsed onto his couch, slapped his palms together prayer fashion and tried to think. Sometimes, when he squeezed his eyes shut real tight, it helped.
He tried but no thoughts came.
“Okay, maybe I gotta move around a little. Was I movin’ the last time I got an idea?” He decided to give it a try. He lifted his corpulent torso off the couch and started to pace. With squinty eyes and bouncing belly he thumped back and forth across the room, hoping to come up with something. After several passes he was dizzy. “Nope. Nothing, darn it!”
Then he remembered, “Oh, yeah! I was eating! I think better when I eat!” He raced toward the kitchen, tugged at the refrigerator door and foraged behind two bottles and slimy lumps that once had been tomatoes. The only edible thing he could find was a chunk of cheese. he decided that it would be okay to eat it–as long as he avoided the fuzzy blue spots.
Melvin searched for the best angle to get a good bite and wondered if cheese was brain food. “Prob’ly not–mice ain’t too swift.” He carefully sunk his teeth into the good edge. “Gee, this ain’t too bad.” He decided it was worth the effort to stop and eat even if cheese was not brain food and reached for a beer to wash it down. After his hasty feast, Melvin was ready to try to think once again.
Want more? Check out “The SEED” at www.annrichduncan.com.
Part of the story (sequel to The SEED) evolves around a contest called “The Gem Express” where our treasure hunting hero is a “celebrity contestant”. John and his friends ride the Gem Express, a train, that carries contestants from town to town in Arizona in search of hidden gems. In this scene . . . .
John jogged toward Big Chief Boulder with Chad and the girls following close behind. This is almost too easy, he thought. I wonder why none of the other contestants figured this out? Even as his radar for trouble warned him to watch his surroundings, his lust for the hunt led him forward at full throttle. The boulder was in sight. He could almost feel the cool, hard surface of the first Gem Express gem stone in his hand. But yet . . . .
Never one to ignore his instincts for long, John slowed his pace and gestured to his friends. “You guys notice anything peculiar?” “Umh, no, hun. Whatsamatter?” “There’s nobody here, Betty. I don’t mean to pour cold water on your puzzle prognostication skills and all, but those clues were pretty easy if you think back on it. So why are we the only ones who figured it out?”
“Perhaps we have more experience?” They all shrugged and picked up their pace. All five of them. They stepped forward slowly, but purposefully. Five sets of eyes stared at Big Chief Boulder; five pairs of lips pouted in concentration; ten feet shuffled from side to side as John and his friends studied the boulder that once was the favorite meeting spot for Cochise, the famous chief.
From a nearby bush, Avery congratulated himself on his ability to altar the clue sheet that fell into John Victor’s hands.
That’s it for now. I did some research on Cochise and the tribes in his region. Some of the info is in the book, along with info about the desert, endangered species, and other “things Arizona”. Let me know what you think with the comment box below and go to www.annrichduncan.com to see my books, including “The SEED” (the one this work-in-progress follows).
So, it seems only yesterday that I agreed to design a float for the local July 4 parade. And now, it’s just around the corner. Hmmmmm . . . floats. What a great word for summer. There’s root beer floats. Parade floats. Floating on the lake. Having someone float you a loan. But, yikes, I’ve gotta WORK for my current float. Yikes, it’s 80 degrees inside WITH AC! The theme is Happy Birthday. After all, Poultney, VT is celebrating its 250th anniversary, and Horace Greeley was born 200 years ago. My focus? Horace Greeley. Yep. Horace. The most influencial journalist of his time. After all, as a board member of the Horace Greeley Foundation I’m helping to celebrate his 200th anniversary. So, I’m creating an oversized Northern Spectator. That’s the local (Poultney, VT) newspaper Horace worked on as a boy. Even as a teen, he had become one of the most influential writers (and speakers) locally. Remember those kleenex flowers we made as kids? I’ve gotta make about 60 of them to cover a replica of Horace’s top hat. Am trying to decide which Greeley facts to add to the “newspaper” . . .
He was born in February of, 1811. He started the New York Tribune. He ran for the presidency against Ulysses S. Grant. He was an influencial abolitionist and fighter for women’s rights. He got Abraham Lincoln to go against slavery. It’s long been determined that his influence put politicians into– or out of–office. Yes, there’s a lot of information about Horace Greeley. Oh, did I tell you we’re having our annual Horace Greeley Writers’ Conference on October 15? Check it out at the Horace Greeley Foundation’s website: www.thegreeleyfoundation.com. Oh, did I tell you that my first Johnny Vic historical adventure book has a story about Horace? Check it out at www.annrichduncan.com.
Oh well, gotta go. Gotta get back to the Kleenex. Only 30 more flowers to fold. Then I’ve gotta spread the petals on all 60 of them. Yikes . . . wish I were drinking a root beer float on a float on the lake. Lake St. Catherine.
Ben Franklin once said, “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I remember, involve me and I learn.” And then there was the poet Yeats who wrote, “Education is not the filling of a bucket, but the lighting of a fire.” Smart words. Too many of our young people have been taught the opposite. No wonder there are so many who look to our government, and not themselves, for restitution, sustenance and absolution. They should be looking upwards and inwards.