Category Archives: Storytelling

The Tooth of the Matter – Orr What? Wednesday (on Thursday)

My Feet 5-5-15I was aware all of a sudden that I was about to pass into a life-wrenching experience. Let’s refer to this experience as Extreme Dental Modification or EDM for short.

This EDM period would require mass quantities of money or a plethora of plastic accompanied by a crush of credit fees. This was the first life wrench to anticipate and it’s a big one.

The financial threat was scary but – for the sake of honesty – I must confess my true terror. In this world and maybe especially in this culture we are schooled to be vain. I never missed a single one of those classes. EDM would threaten my vanity big time.

My surgeon told me to expect a three to four month window for procedures and healing. Three to four months? That’s not a window – it’s a crater blown out of the wall of my life. Including the entire holiday season. My favorite time of year and full of socializing – face to face.

“Okay, Alice. Calm down,” I told myself. “No need to add angina to the mix.” Still I could feel the quips sprouting about liquefied turkey for Thanksgiving and cookie crumbs for Christmas. I envisioned our blender in burnout mode. I also envisioned myself in the mirror.

That was the true terror. The look of the thing. Alice as desiccated apple doll. Plus no lipstick. Lipstick would call attention. But I love lipstick. Especially in fall when I switch to scarlet. I not only wouldn’t be able to wear scarlet lipstick – I wouldn’t be able to say scarlet lipstick.

I resolved that the only visual anyone would see of me for the next four months is the accompanying one. Note the scarlet toenails. Then the dentist walked in – not the scalpel-toting surgeon – the common sense toting dentist. He said the most amazing thing.

“I think we should consider going another way.” In that instant the story changed. The future was once again bright as the star atop our Christmas tree and the sheen of my toothy grin.

Don’t you just love endings with a twist and a hero dentist and the villain EDM vanquished? Not to mention the scarlet lipstick.

Alice Orr – http://www.aliceorrbooks.com.

RR

A Vacancy at the Inn  – coming soon – is the first Christmas Novella of my Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Series featuring the Kalli family – and now the Miller family too – in stories of Romance and Danger. A Wrong Way Home is Book 1 of the series. A Year of Summer Shadows is Book 2. A Villain for Vanessa will be Book 3.

All of my titles are available at http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B000APC22E.

 

Binge Watching and Binge Reading – Riverton Road Monday

Alice's Nancy Drew TitleI not only love writing series. I also love reading series. This love affair began in my childhood Nancy Drew Books days. Of course reading under the covers with a flashlight. What better way could there be to experience The Secret of the Old Clock?

Did you know I wrote a Nancy Drew once just for the thrill of being Carolyn Keene for a month or two? It went to #2 on the kids’ bestseller list. Talk about fulfilling a childhood dream. I loved doing it. But I only wrote one. I don’t know why since I enjoyed being a teen again.

The title by the way was Danger in Disguise – and I’m flabbergasted to find it still available. D in D is even an eBook though I wrote it long before that format existed. If you don’t believe me – check this out. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HB62LKI.

I digress. Because what I’ve really been thinking about is how binge television-watching may be conditioning all of us to be ripe for binge book reading too. As in series – series – and more series. This is great news for writers. But it’s great news for readers also.

When I get my teeth into a story that carries me along lickety-split and absorbs me with its absorbing characters – it puts me in a foul mood to read THE END. I want to stick with this story. Most of all I want to stick with this experience. I want to be carried along and absorbed some more.

We’re all getting a succulent taste of this these days via television series. Look at the excitement accompanying anticipation of every new Downton Abbey season. In fact some of us have been so afflicted with separation trauma at season’s end that we binge the whole thing again.

We not only binge that preceding season – we often return to previous seasons and binge those too. Some of us even search out full seasons of Upstairs Downstairs just so we can remain in that delicious Brit place of “Blimey” and “Egad.”

We have been captured. We have been seduced. We have been immersed. We have lived in that delightful though obviously idealized milieu for episode after episode and we can’t stand to leave it. That milieu is what I’ve written about in previous posts as “the world of the series.”

We not only want to spend a bit of watcher time there. If the truth were told – many of us would love to live there and fantasize doing so. I’ve heard there are Downton Abbey parties where people dress in pre- or post-World War I posh and affect lock-jawed nasal accents.

My granny was British and tried to make me British as well so I’m all for this. She and I would have tea at four with little sandwiches and cookies – or biscuits as she called them. She taught me conversation. First I’d talk then she’d talk while I listened instead of itching to talk again myself. Those were the rules.

I digress yet again because what I’m really all for is the long game of story-loving and storytelling. This is the antidote to the here-this-nanosecond-gone-the-next attention span. Or maybe it debunks the myth of that phenomenon. Maybe the internet and the screened device haven’t rendered us all incapable of long-haul commitment after all.

My vote goes with debunking the short-span myth and hanging on to my devices too. What glass-half-empty person said we can’t have it all anyway? I’m definitely down with the have-it-all faction – for my stories if nothing else. I say old chap. Might you jolly well feel the same?

Alice Orr – http://www.aliceorrbooks.com.

RR

A Vacancy at the Inn  – coming soon – is the first Christmas Novella of my Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Series featuring the Kalli family – and now the Miller family too – in stories of Romance and Danger. A Wrong Way Home is Book 1 of the series. A Year of Summer Shadows is Book 2. A Villain for Vanessa will be Book 3.

All of my titles are available at http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B000APC22E.

 

Write It Down – Ask Alice Saturday

Idea LampQuestion. What is your biggest mistake as a writer?  Answer. Sometimes I don’t write important things down.

 I know this has happened to you too because it happens to everybody. You have a knock-your-socks-off idea. It’s so good you are blown away. You can hardly believe this super great fortune has been given to you.

What has been given is a thing of perfect beauty and elegant symmetry. Best of all – it is just right for you and what you need to accomplish. I call it the Idea from Heaven. Because nothing short of paradise could deliver such a priceless gem.

This concept has struck you so deeply and moved you so profoundly you are certain beyond any possible uncertainty it has imprinted on your psyche forever. All the same you know you should write it down immediately.

But for some reason – often fairly trivial – that notetaking moment isn’t altogether convenient at this particular moment in time. You don’t intend to put it off for long – only until whatever you’re into right now is out of the way.

Besides – this is the Idea from Heaven. The bolt of lightning that has zigzagged across the deepest blue of blue skies. You absolutely will not forget it… Except you do forget it.

You look for it – maybe only minutes later – and it is gone gone gone. You search and search. You employ every memory jogger trick and technique you’ve ever heard of but all you can recall is the feeling.

All that remains is a whiff of the euphoria this once-in-what-feels-like-forever idea carried with it. Everything else has disappeared – evaporated – turned invisible like the words on those plastic-faced pads I had when I was a kid.

Maybe you had one too. You write or draw or doodle on the surface. Then you pull off the plastic covering and every mark goes with it. Finito forever. The true tabula rasa.

This is what happened to the notion that was bound to catapult you to the stars but has now flitted off – like a fickle tease – to another imagination never to return. Brain science may have a theory or twelve about this phenomenon. Or maybe the universe if just screwing with you.

Whatever the explanation the upshot is always the same – at least for me. I’m plunged into mourning. The Kubler-Ross five stages of adjusting to great loss lie ahead. And it is all my fault because all I had to do was write the damned words down. But I did not.

This happens to me less these days. I’ve learned to value these brainstorms as I do the ornaments that festoon the branches of my holiday tree. Those ornaments were made by my grandchildren and I accord them the love and attention and tender care they deserve.

I write my brainstorms down – even if I have to resort to my Idea Lamp. Because the goddess of creativity is a jealous gal and if I don’t do due diligence when gifted by her – she will get me good.

So – WRITE IT DOWN. And always remember that the only thing worse than great loss is those blankity-blank five stages of grief.

Alice Orr – www.aliceorrbooks.com.

                                                                             RR

 My eBook A WRONG WAY HOME – Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Series Book 1 – is FREE online. My 13th novel   A YEAR OF SUMMER SHADOWS – Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Series Book #2 – is available too. Find them both – along with my other titles – at http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B000APC22E. I wrote their ideas down.