Friday, September 17, 2021

What Genres Besides Novels Do I Write In?

 This is an interesting topic Rhobin gave us this month. 

We are writers, ergo we write.  Novels?  Yes.  I'm working on my eigth novel, but I written a few short stories that have been published.  Most are in anthologies. 

"The Rich Are Different" was set on a classic yacht in New England (where I live and have sailed) waters.  As with much a my writing, I borrowed a few things from real life and made up the rest.  A story about beavers was my first published short story.  I used some of my family and it rubbed my cousin the wrong way, so I never did that again.  Another short story was a young man's middle of the night adventure when he ventured out to buy diapers.  Made it to an anthology.  I've had many poems published, but I don't write poetry any more.  No special reason.  A whole series sprang out of trips to the Southwest and its animal life.  Here is one: 

Western diamondback rattlesnakes frequently encountered in ...

                                                The Diamond Back 

My view is of the low things: 

The leaf-cutting ant bearing a spear of green,

The faint imprint of fearful feet,

Red jasper in a dry stream.  

The Navajo weaves a harmony of diamond shapes,

But none so striking as my patterned back. 

Coiling on my rock I prize my symmetry.

The savage sun of summer drives me

To wary sleep under the mesquite. 

The gritty caliche earth against my belly

Is the feel of here. 

The sharp aroma of the creosote bush,

The scent of sun on yucca blossoms

Is the smell of here. 

I wait for the taste of here: 

The timid skittering mouse,

The nervous cottontail,

The old lizard dragging her tail.

Respect is mine. 

The shying panicked horse bucks and screams.

I observe the one in leather boots

Hiking carefully with his stick. 

The humble horned toad,

The bold scorpion avoids me. 

I get respect. 

Sleek, I slither down the gulch

In a rush of silence. 

Above the hum of bees and insects,

A snaky sound,

The gourd rhythm of my rattles disturbs the air.


* * *

A couple of my short stories, "The Trade Show"  and "The PowWow"  are waiting for publication.  In the future, I plan to write vignettes of memoir.  Not a book, just some sharp memories that stick in my mind.  If I ever finish my novel.  

The writers below will be happy to tell you about their adventures into different 


Marci Baun

Victoria Chatham

Skye Taylor

Connie Vines

Dr. Bob Rich 

Rhobin L Courtright


Friday, August 20, 2021

Characters' Habits or Favorite Words

My latest novel, a mystery, set in the North Woods of Wisconsin

I don't recall any of my characters having favorite words, but they do have unique ways of speaking.  For example, in Murder in the North Woods, the Reverend Josie, an Episcopal priest, likes to pepper  her speech with French words and expressions.  It often stymies some of the folks in the small town who have not had the benefit of Josie's education 

In the same novel, the character of Daryl, who descends from Kentucky folks who settled in this area of the North Woods long ago, speaks a dialect that may still have the speech of  some of his ancestors. 


In Chased By Death, my woman-in-jeopardy novel, Lotto, the drug lord of a boutique cartel, swears a lot, in Spanish, or course. Really a lot.  Somehow, in another language, it doesn't sound so bad.  It would be interesting  to play against the stereotype and have a bad character who never says a bad word. This might be a tad unbelievable.  The drug lord by the way, faints at the sight of blood. His henchman, El Tigre, doesn't swear in front of women.  El Tigre is a conflicted character.  He has no doubt killed dozens of people, but he is desperate to find money to send his wife (who has cancer) to the best doctors in the U.S.  No matter how bad my characters are, I always give them their humanity.

Internal monologues differ from spoken speech, and that gives the author a chance to play around with how different characters think rather than speak. Honora, the main character's sister, is a snarky not-very-nice woman we wouldn't want to spend time with in real life, but her speech sounds perfectly normal, and she keeps her thoughts to herself, but of course, the reader knows them.  

Last example:  


In World of Mirrors, there is a very bad Englishman, Putnam.  He speaks in an abrupt voice, hates smart women, and likes violence.  BUT, he has a literary side.  In a bar one night,he learns that another character's dog has disappeared.  He actually thinks he knows what happened (he does not).  He adopts the speech about the "nose", which drives Cyrano de Bergerac bonkers, but substitutes all manner of puns about the word "dog."  And her refuses to shut up. So we discover that Putnam has a literary bent, the least likely character.  It is always fun to play against the stereotype, which one can do with speech. 

My characters do not necessarily have favorite words, but they do have ways of expressing themselves that are unique to their characters. 

As always, my fellow bloggers will have interesting things to say about this equally interesting topic.  Read on! 

Anne Stenhouse

Skye Taylor

Victoria Chatham

Connie Vines

Diane Bator

Beverley Bateman

Dr. Bob Rich

Fiona McGier

Helena Fairfax

Rhobin Courtright