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

Monday, April 9, 2018

I survived jury duty!

I made it through jury duty!  YAY!  I was called for one jury, on the first day.  It was a civil case about an accident that happened.  I think the plaintiff wanted more money from the insurance company.  I was the first juror called up, sat in the jury box, and waited for everyone else to be seated.  I almost had to serve the two days on that one, but as it turned out, I SAW the accident right after it happened, so I was considered a tainted juror (or whatever it's called) and was excused.

I also had to go to a criminal case, but wasn't called up to the jury.  However, I learned a lot about courtrooms last week.  I also learned about how they question the jury to be chosen.  It was very interesting and very telling about each of my fellow jurors.  Not only were their answers analyzed, but their nonverbal clues were very interesting.  For example, in the criminal trial (it was a sexual abuse case), one woman had an issue with the questioning at hand.  She said she wouldn't have a problem judging the defendant with an open mind, but her nonverbal clues said otherwise.  She wasn't chosen for the jury, even though her words would've kept her in.

Thus, last week was a lesson in research for me.  The bailiffs were very nice people, which surprised me.  They took care of the jury in the jury room, where there were cameras everywhere.  More information about the people inside the courtroom is here:  Role of the Judge and Other Courtroom Participants.

It was an interesting situation to witness, so if you're ever called in for jury duty, take notes.  Not only are the cases interesting, but the jurors themselves are characters.  As much as it was interesting, I'm really glad it's over.  LOL!

Have a great week!
SweetTale Books

Monday, April 2, 2018

Staying Up With the Times

I'll be in and out this week, because I have jury duty (my husband's watching the dogs, working from home).  I'm using this time as research into things for my books.

Anyway, I've been watching current events on Twitter and have learned a few things about society that have changed since I was a kid.  For example, there's a thing called 'virtue signaling' now.  I had to look that one up.  It's basically throwing morals into a discussion, even if the 'moral' person doesn't even follow the advice themselves.  For example, if I was telling someone that I was eating cheesecake, they'd tell me how it could harm me by making me gain weight, that I owed it to myself not to enjoy that cheesecake, even though they might be obese, themselves.  That's virtue signaling--throwing 'morals' into any conversation.

If you're a writer, do you bring in current social events or ideals into a book?  Do you stay up with the times?

I don't, unless I'm pretty sure it's not a fad. For example, I'd be careful what words I'd use for 'cool' because they may not stick around.  'Cool' has been around for a long time.  'Rad,' on the other hand, hasn't lasted as long, so I wouldn't use that.

Another one I just heard is 'you do you.'  Huh?  My daughter used that.  It means 'do what you want or what you're best at.'  I wonder if that one'll work well in books...I'm thinking not.  However, I never thought 'it is what it is' would stick around, either.

So, make sure your book will last the test of time, and you'll be fine.  Just don't jump at the chance to use something 'edgy' because in a few years, no one will understand it.

Have a great week and think of me at jury duty.  :)

SweetTale Books

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Happy Easter!

May you have a wonderful and 'April-Fool's Free' day!

Happy Easter!

SweetTale Books

Monday, March 26, 2018

High School Stuff...

When I was a kid, if anyone pulled something that was childish, my dad used to say, 'high school stuff.'  In other words, grow up because I'm not going to deal with childish things.

I look at society these days as a LOT of 'high school stuff.'  When will people start acting like adults again?  Take my kids, for example.  They don't want to 'adult' and have told me so, on multiple occasions (like when they have to pay bills or get a job).  When I was a kid, we were expected to 'adult' and do it well, even while in high school.  But these days, so-called adults are behaving like children.

Case-in-point:  I once was at a garage getting my car fixed when a mother and her college-aged child walked into the waiting room.  The kid (a girl who was probably 20 years old) was holding a stuffed toy and reading a little kid's book.  I was ready for her to suck her thumb, too, she behaved like that so much.  I talked to the mother, just making small talk.  As it turns out, the girl was in college, where it was acceptable to behave like a child.  I talked to my children, who were also in college at that time, and that was the norm to behave like that.

What happened to the world?  When did we regress into children, as adults?

Why did I post this?  Because I want to tap into the anger I have for adults behaving as spoiled children.  I want to stick it into a book to show how society has changed, to preserve it for the future.

It's crazy, I know.  But welcome to 2018.  Characters surround us, and these adult-babies are no different.  LOL!

Have a wonderful week!
SweetTale Books

Monday, March 19, 2018

Do you use these phrases?

I recently read an article:  Tighten Your Prose: Filter Words

If you're a writer, I'd highly recommend you read this one.  I've seen too many writers use this crutch, which really weakens the plot and pulls me right out of the story.  And yes, I'm guilty of it too.  I've tried to take these filter words out of my stories, but sometimes, they just creep back in again.

What are filter words?  They're phrases that 'filter the world through the eyes of the character.'

So, for example, instead of writing, 'The rain fell on the sidewalk,' the writer would write, 'She saw the rain fall on the sidewalk.'  You're now watching through her eyes.  If you want to be in the character's head, that's all fine, but as writers, we want to make the reader feel like they're there.  It's like the old 'show not tell' adage, that every writer learns at some stage in the game.  Instead of writing 'the glass broke,' we want to hear the tinkle of every shard as the thing shatters.  It makes the reader feel like they're part of the story.

So if you see any of those filter words, get rid of them if you can (read the article...sometimes you can't help but have them in).  They're usually not necessary clutter mucking up your pages.

Have a great week!
SweetTale Books