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My name is Quinn and I’d like to thank Long and Short Reviews for giving me the chance to introduce myself and chat with you all about writing, or in this particular case, procrastination.
While writing is the greatest fun in the world, I love creating new characters and thinking up exciting and scary adventures to put them through, it’s really hard.
I found a perfect example of the trials writers go through while watching an episode of the classic Dick Van Dyke Show. In the episode “A Farewell to Writing” Rob is full of jealousy when his friend finally finishes his novel. Rob vows then and there to spend the rest of his vacation completing his long worked on book. He rushes out to buy new supplies, but keeps being interrupted every time he begins to write.
First the phone rings and he wants to know who’s on the line. Then he listens in as his wife, Laura, and her friend trade gossip. He ends up jumping away from the typewriter every time he hears a noise rather than write.
Exasperated, Laura sends him off to work in a remote cabin where he won’t be disturbed. Trouble is there are plenty of intriguing distractions if one wants to find them, even in the woods. Rob spends more time playing, first with a paddle ball, then dressed up as cowboy, than writing. The ultimate end is when he builds a wooden trash basket so he can rip the, mostly, blank page from the typewriter, wad it into a ball and toss it away.
I highly recommend the episode to anyone who wants to be a writer or knows a writer. It’s a hilarious example of just how hard it is to transcribe your thoughts to paper, or in this modern world, to the computer screen.
For me, like Rob, the hardest part is to get going. I know how hard it is to paint a picture with words. For me it’s easy to create an intriguing character and to find compelling and exciting problems for him to overcome. It’s when I try to bring my fictional world to life that I face my hardest writing task. I can so clearly picture the most intimate details of a scene easily in my mind, then when I put stylus to screen, my brain struggles to find the right words to describe my vision.
Description is hard.
Still, I’ve made great progress since I first started writing four years ago. In addition to getting advice about how to make words sing from other authors, I’ve decided to take a fresh look at the world during every day.
For example, while I take my daily walk, got to get rid of those extra pounds, I no longer just glance at the houses and people as I go by. I think, how would I describe this block if I were setting a scene.
Instead of a dingy block with no sidewalks, I’d think: She had no choice but to walk down the middle of the street. This block was developed during the 1950s where the automobile was king. No one ever envisioned the need to walk, anywhere, ever again.
That’s my challenge. Writing is a work in progress. No matter what I’ve achieved, I will always work to be better.
At least I’m doing better than poor Rob. I’ve actually finished my first book. Check out Murder Most Yowl, published by Dreamspinner Press and available on Amazon.
Let know how I did. You can reach me at any of the links below.
Until we chat again.
Cat-sitting is a dangerous business.
Cameron Sherwood turned his back on law enforcement the night his investigation led to the death of an innocent gay man. Now Cam spends his time running a business that caters to his favorite animal, cats. But when Cam stumbles upon the body of a friend while feeding her feline, he can’t walk away. Dealing with a sexy yet stubborn sheriff, a matchmaking sister, and a terrifying blind date, Cam must somehow track down a killer, all while keeping the cats around him fed with his gourmet cat treats.
Enjoy an excerpt:
As I stepped into the living room, the small of my back itched. My hand whirled around my side, reaching for the Glock 23 that no longer nestled between my belt and my skin.
This was ridiculous.
I hadn’t carried a gun for three years, not since I handed my boss a paper that clearly stated, right under the NCIS logo, that Cameron Sherwood was no longer available to do his dirty work. I no longer faced armed terrorists or drug dealers with alarming frequency. These days the worst adversary I came across was a puffed-up cat sporting unsheathed claws.
So why did I reach for a nonexistent gun?
Everything looked normal. Fran Welch always kept her living room in pristine shape. I didn’t care for her color scheme. White furniture on top of a cream carpet was a little too sterile for me, but she didn’t pay me to criticize her taste.
She did, however, pay me to take care of her cat while she was gone. Speaking of Mr. Muffin Tops….
“Here, kitty, kitty, kitty.” I jiggled the plastic bag up and down. “I have your favorite treats.”
Where was that cat? Usually I only had to shake the bag once. The spoiled boy would appear out of nowhere, twining himself between my legs. Then he’d open his mouth, ready to accept any morsel of tuna, sautéed in salmon oil, which happened to drop his way.
A breeze whipped through the open door, causing the drapes to flutter. The rest of the room was dead still.
“Here, Mr. Muffin Tops. Come on, boy.”
Ms. Welch trusted me to care for her baby while she was in New York. I had to find him.
I shut the front door, then moved farther into the house. I kept an eye on my feet, not wanting to step on anything important. A habit I picked up years ago while walking through crime scenes.
Why was I being so cautious? So a cat didn’t come when I called. That didn’t mean I was walking into trouble. The small of my back needed to get with the program.
I scratched my back, then made myself walk like a normal person, not caring what I stepped on. Ms. Welch might have shut the cat up in the kitchen when she left this morning, although she never had before.
When I stepped into the hall, the itch intensified into a full-fledged hackle. There on the left, the den door hung open, a sure sign that something was wrong.
Ms. Welch’s den was her workroom, the place where she planned her fabulous parties, and like any work area, it was a mess. She left the door open once and I accidently got a look inside. We were both mortified, and immediately pretended that it never happened. Ms. Welch’s home was her showcase. She never wanted visitors to see anything as ordinary as a pile of papers on the desk. She certainly wouldn’t leave on a trip without pulling that door closed.
Back in stealth mode—I couldn’t help myself—I tiptoed toward the den. Now I really missed my Glock. I searched the hallway for another weapon. An oil painting of a ship sailing through a hurricane hung on the opposite wall. Such a small ship was doomed to be swamped by the intense waves surrounding it. I hoped I wasn’t about to suffer the same fate.
I bunched my fingers into a fist and looked through the open doorway. My caution was justified. The den was a disaster.
Ripped from their shelves, dozens of Ms. Welch’s books littered the floor. Scattered papers covered every surface of the room, and the drawers of the filing cabinet hung open and empty. A broken vase lay next to a smashed computer monitor, the desktop covered with fragments of glass and pottery. Someone had torn a photograph of Ms. Welch into pieces. She smiled at me from one large fragment, her heart-shaped pendant around her neck.
A quiet yowl came from the right. I risked a step inside. A huddled mass of fur lay on the rug under the window.
“Mr. Muffin Tops!”
His legs twitched as he tossed from side to side, like he was groggy and trying to clear his thoughts. Blood pooled on top of his head, coating the orange fur between his ears with red.
I had to get him to a vet. Forgetting about being careful, I crossed in front of the desk, then stopped cold.
Ms. Welch lay on the floor, between the workspace and the cat. Her skirt hiked up, revealing far too much of her leg, her blood seeping into the beige carpet.
Blood from a very big hole in her chest.
About the Author:
Quinn’s always been thinking up stories. A shy kid, she conjured up adventures while walking home from school. At first she only kept her tales to herself, then she shared them through fan fiction and short stories. She got a job with local TV stations, passing on noteworthy events to viewers on the evening news, winning a Golden Mic and three Emmy awards. Now as long as her cats don’t help her by walking on her keyboard, she’s working on writing more stories so everyone can enjoy them.