Monday, May 21, 2018

Inspirational People

When I think of inspirational people, I usually consider the famous people, the ones who everyone has heard of.  But this past week, I talked to someone who has inspired me to think bigger than my world.  She's our neighbor.

First, a background.  This family is amazing.  They're always doing something at their house.  Even though they've lived in the house a few years, they're always upgrading something.  I get tired seeing them working all the time.  They're an amazing family, overall.

So when I talked to the wife, she told me a few things that I couldn't believe.  First, she's arthritic...and she still goes out and does yard work, builds things for the home along with her husband, and is very active.  Both the husband and wife are engineers, so they're used to doing this type of work.  Next, she told me she's going to Puerto Rico to help with the recovery efforts.  FEMA needed people with experience to help out, so she's going...for a YEAR!  They have one kid in college, and one in high school.  The kid in college is going with her for the summer, because he's learned Spanish in school.  She doesn't know the language, so he's going to be her interpreter.

Wow.  Can you imagine leaving your home and family for a year to help out?  She's going to live in a hotel for the year, and just do the basics for what they need while there...and she has arthritis.  I just can't imagine doing that.  The couple gets along really well and are both outgoing, so I can see how she said she'd do that. 

The whole thought made me realize that I live in a little bubble.  I wish I could take off to help others like that, but just to consider that makes my head spin.  Here's the real kicker...she AND her husband now what to go from disaster to disaster after they're retired, just to help out.  Wow.  We need more people like that couple in the world. 

Isn't that phenomenal?  I told her I'll probably write a book about her life.  LOL!

Have a super week!
SweetTale Books

Monday, May 14, 2018

Character Motivation

Different characters have different motivations, so make sure your stories reflect that.

Here's an example...for Mother's Day, I had three different outcomes from my three children.  All I wanted was some help around the house, and not some bouquet of flowers or a special meal.

The oldest--he couldn't be bothered with even an email because his girlfriend was visiting.  His motivation was to keep her entertained, while ignoring his family.

The middle kid--she helped somewhat and bought me a card (that she had to explain--LOL).  However, her motivation was to get my 'chore' out of the way and go play games or take a nap.  I appreciate her contributions, though, and if I asked for help, she did help.  That was nice.

The youngest was the most invested in the request.  She made me a card (that made me cry, it was so touching), and worked hard all day long.  She redid the garden for me, with my help (she did 99% of the work, I think).  She then cleaned part of the house and made my life easier.  Her motivation was to help me get a few things done here.

So the next time you write about a character, remember their motivation.  Are they fully invested in the quest, part of the way, or not at all?  I had all three for Mother's Day, but as long as I heard from them, that's all that mattered to me.  The rest was icing on the cake (my motivation).

Have a great week!
SweetTale Books

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Monday, May 7, 2018

Storytelling

I've been looking at various topics in storytelling, and came across this website:  Storytelling

This site is very interesting.  It describes TED talks about storytelling--creative secrets and new approaches.

If you're a writer, check it out. 

From this article on that site:  The art of storytelling, according to the founders of StoryCorps and Humans of New York, two men have recorded stories from 75,000 average people from all over the world.  They tell how to get people to open up and tell their life stories.

I can't imagine the opportunity to do this work.  It'd be so fascinating, I'd want to do it for the rest of my life, even though I'm an introvert.  It'd be like listening to the life story of an old person, and how they helped shape today's culture.  My father-in-law loved telling how he fought in WWII as an air gunner.  He lay in the belly of the plane, looking out the glass bottom, and shoot at the target (that's how he described it to me).  When I look at all I've done compared to him, I feel as if I haven't done much at all.  But others might look at my life and consider it amazing, for some reason that I don't understand.

When it comes to writing books, I think an author takes a normal life and elevates it to an awesome level in some way.  Do they think it's awesome?  Probably not.  But still amazing.

Go check out that site...it's amazing.

Have a super week!
SweetTale Books

Monday, April 30, 2018

Using DNA in Mysteries

Did you read about the Golden State Killer and how they used a website that collects DNA to find the guy?

Here's more information on how they found the guy:  Suspected Golden State Killer is latest arrest through controversial DNA testing known for cracking cold cases

This isn't the first time the controversial method has found a criminal.  The article describes a few other outstanding cold cases cracked by using familial DNA.

This opens a new line of thinking for writing mysteries, though.  If the detective finds familial DNA that's close to the criminal, and can link it to another family member, they have a place to go to find a criminal faster.

However, I can see how this would be a 'slippery slope' for finding a killer.  That family member whose DNA was collected might want to go into protective custody, just because the killer will want to take out someone who ratted on him/her.  Also, would that be considered a legal way to find someone, by using an unsuspecting relative's DNA, or is that considered to be unlawful because it's done without consent?  The detectives in these cases used DNA samples that were already in the system or were in the public domain from people hunting for relatives.  But since the DNA they used wasn't from the criminal themselves, is that legal or is that intrusive?

It's an interesting conflict, something that drives plots.  I'm sure it'll be used in many upcoming mysteries, probably to the point of ad nauseam (Dictionary.com--to a sickening or disgusting degree).  It's still very interesting.

Have a super week!
SweetTale Books

Monday, April 23, 2018

Social Credit

Our youngest child is 22.  She's learning how to deal with things for the first time.  For example, she finally got a credit card (she had no credit, so getting a card has been tough).  She also just bought her first cell phone on her own (she was on our plan before).  To get that cell phone, she had to jump through a lot of hurdles, like proving who she was to the fraud department, etc.  It was a pain, but she handled it over the phone.

It reminded me of a credit system that's going on in China.

Here's one article about it:  China 'social credit': Beijing sets up huge system
Here's a Youtube video about it, too:  Is China Becoming A Black Mirror Episode (Social Credit) | ASIAN BOSS


There have been at least two episodes about this on television that I know about.  One is from Black Mirror (Nosedive), and the other is from The Orville (Majority Rule).  I haven't seen the Black Mirror episode, but I have seen the one on the Orville.

In the Orville's episode, others rate a person as good or bad.  If they're 'bad,' they can be executed.  They're denied service at shops, and are treated like outcasts.

Some view this type of social acceptance as a good thing, but they've not been deemed 'bad.'  It only takes one misstep and a person's credit and social acceptance plummets.

I think of this as a major slippery slope, but isn't that what we all do as a society?  Don't we judge others and make it tough for them to even begin to live, like my daughter who hasn't established credit yet?

The reason I write this is that books reflect society as a whole.  When writing, remember that we all judge others, just like 'social credit,' and one misstep can ruin a person's life.  And, when writing, making the problems bigger than life will create more conflict.  Conflict makes the plot interesting.

Check out the information above.  It'll open your eyes to a lot of things.

Have a great week!
SweetTale Books

Monday, April 16, 2018

Are you still working on writing winter books?

I'm working on Christmas stories right now.  You might ask why, but if you look out my window, you'll understand:





Welcome to springtime in Wisconsin.  We got over 16 inches of snow over the weekend, mixed with freezing rain.  It's a heavy snow, making me long for the days of December.  Thus, it wasn't hard to get back into the Christmas spirit.  Lucky me.  NOT.

Have a super week!
SweetTale Books