Monday, June 11, 2018

My, How Times Change...

My darling husband loves science fiction--ANY science fiction.  He's been binging on old episodes of The Time Tunnel (you can see a search of episodes here:  YouTube's The Time Tunnel), which was shown in 1966-67 and created by Irwin Allen.  He also has been watching a lot of the original Lost in Space, also by Irwin Allen, 1965-68.  Here are a few Youtube Videos:  Lost in Space

These are interesting to watch.  The sets and special effects are pretty bad, and the body doubles sometimes don't even look like the character (the same thing happens in the original Star Trek, if you look closely enough).  But I'm talking about the plots.  Many times, the possibility of the characters getting out of the predicament they're in seems very unlikely.  But they always do, even if unbelievable.

If redone today, some of these plots in their entirety would be laughable.  For example, in one episode of Lost in Space, the main character (John Robinson) jumps out of the spaceship and decides to drift to a neighboring planet.  They're not even in the planet's atmosphere, but he's going to make it.  He complained along the way that he was hitting the atmosphere (which would've burned him up in real life), but he made it.  Hilarious!  Or, for example, in The Time Tunnel, they were showing Roman soldiers, but they were based in Greece.  We had to look more than once to make sure we weren't seeing things.  Or the island of Krakatoa where the volcano only rumbled when lightning and thunder filled the sky first.

Even more interesting than the plot issues are how the female characters behave in the older shows.  Every single one of them plays the helpless female, who cries before helping out.  They're weak and not very bright, even if they're educated.  It's laughable, I think, considering the trend these days is to have a strong female lead character.

Times change, for sure.  There are people who check these plot problems out first in movies, and the trends dictate character behavior.  For indie written books, all of this is left up to the author.

The moral of this story is, don't be like the old television shows.  Make sure your plots actually are probable and fit with the time, that the story could happen before putting it out there for the world to see.

Have a great week!

Monday, June 4, 2018

Affect vs. Effect

My memory's not what it used to be, so this week, while editing, I couldn't remember when to use affect and when to use effect.  So I looked it up, of course.

According to's Affect Vs. Effect, basically:

  • Affect is a verb and Effect is a noun.
  • Affect means to influence or act in a way you don't feel.  Effect means 'a result.'
  • You should be able to insert another verb for affect.  For example, 'The weather affected her plans.'  You could put 'ruined' in for affected and it'll work:  'The weather ruined her plans.'  Thus, the verb is 'affected' and not 'effected.'
  • The word 'the' or an article such as 'the' should be able to be put in front of 'effect.'  So, 'The effect of the rain was devastating.'  Or, 'An effect of music is being relaxed.'

Of course there are exceptions, but that makes it a lot easier for most sentences.  I just have to remember that I can substitute another verb for affected and put an article in front of 'effect' and it should work.

Have a great week!

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