Dia(B)log

Robotic writing

Recently I was asked to assist a First Robotics Tech Challenge team with their community outreach project – a children’s book involving a protagonist with a mind for robotics engineering. Discussing their plot and character development I showed them areas where they needed to noodle a little more before working on their rough draft, and they reminded me why I love to write.

Such experiences also affirm my belief that as long as people take the time to talk/work through their ideas they can write great material. So often we all (yes, even writers) get caught up in the stress of making the writing fantastic. That if the idea doesn’t come out the way we expected the first time we “can’t write”. However, if we turn to the very people we’re writing about and talk/journal through their motivations, secrets, and problem solving techniques the story unfolds before us. It was neat to see these teenagers’ faces light up as they did so, and strategize the project onto the right track.

Search and Seize Her (second in series) finished!

The second book in my Kara Cinnamon series is done. Once my synopsis of Search and Seize Her is complete I will start on the third manuscript – Full Disclosure.

I really enjoyed researching how the art world operates, not to mention some of the major art thefts in recent years and how the FBI investigates them. The Gardner Heist was what initially intrigued me and as I was writing S&SH several developments surrounding the case were released to the press. To date it remains the largest unsolved heist in America, though the FBI announced this past spring they now know who did it.

Heart of Downton

Despite the explosion on blogs and social media regarding the Season 3 finale of Downton Abbey, as an author I have to comment. (Yes, I just caught up on episodes.)

My schedule demands I watch little television, rather than read a book or borrow a movie from the library to watch with my family. But as a writer whose emphasis is on character driven fiction, from the beginning I was hooked on Downton. (Plus Notting Hill and Love Actually are some of my favorite movies and I had to see what Hugh Bonneville would do with this story.) Another aspect I love about the Downton Abbey engine is that the show’s catapult can be attributed to exceptional writing, the format (character’s individual plot lines), setting, and historical pertinence within these fascinating people’s lives rather than just “branding and marketing”. Good storytelling still matters – YES! Truly, Fellows and his team, actors etc. have earned their success.

Unfortunately, beyond people’s control, real life has now intervened with this fantastic story.

Who besides me immediately thought of Pam hearing Patrick in the shower? It could happen, right??? It will happen . . . Please God . . . (Hey, I was young but I remember who shot J.R.!)

Now viewers feel as if they have been tricked for three years. They feel cheated and robbed. Cybil was bad enough, but we could recover . . . However, out of all the characters the one whose purpose, motivation, and skill has pulled everyone else together. When you remove the beat of that vibrant heart and seek to replace it can the story continue? Sure. Will the story’s resonance be what it was, or more importantly, will viewers be willing to emotionally invest in the story to the level they once did?

I don’t know, and that’s the biggest disappointment of all.

I give tremendous credit to Julian Fellows for writing the only plausible solution instead of having characters morph into someone else overnight to write an actor off the show. There is consolation in that (even though I despise it). Still, the result is one, unpopular choice . . . I, like the other millions have to wait to see what Downton will give, and I in return, with Season 4.

Blind Conviction Done!

I’m thrilled to announce that I met my end of summer deadline for completing Blind Conviction. Of course, like any manuscript that dwells in the “pre-published” state, the term “finished” is a relative one. However, it’s time to begin research and development for the second book in the series. Search and Seize Her. Though I may treat myself to some ice cream first.