Tag Archives: Fiction Plot and Characters
The arrival of Beyond Faith, the third book in the Beyond mystery series is getting closer.
Dana Bowman here. And Sharon A. Crawford, the real author, always here.We have an update. Beyond Faith’s appearance is coming closer.
Dana: Sharon has negotiated for Beyond Faith and Beyond Blood to get into the Dealers’ Room for Bouchercon 2017. New business cards are in the works.
Sharon: And sorry, Dana, you aren’t on them – like my editor would say – no space.
Dana: That’s okay…at least for now for this serial story which could be called Beyond Reason features me . Part 6 follows.
Dana: Fielding, what do you mean some of the characters here don’t exist. David certainly does and so does Ms. Dugan.
Fielding: Look on the floor and tell me what you see.
Dana (looking down): The floor.
Fielding: But what is there on the floor?
Dana: Nothing. Hey, who stole the hooded guy? Oh wait. Sharon made him disappear.
Fielding: Sharon? I don’t see any Sharon. . .
Dana: Sharon A. Crawford, the author of the Beyond books.
Voice of Sharon: Ah, hah. You are finally admitting it.
Dana: Yes. No. What the hell?
Dana, turning around and looking at Ms. Dugan and David sitting on the office couch: Well, you two are still here. So you must have seen Sharon make it disappear and then disappear herself?
David: Mommy, Mommy what do you mean? Sharon. She just disappeared. Maybe she took the dead guy?
Ms. Dugan: What dead guy? There is just us here.
Dana, looking around: Where’s Bast? He was just here too.
Ms. Dugan: Never saw him. Just you, David and me, and of course, Sharon.
Dana, scratching her head: What the heck. And I suppose you didn’t see Detective Sergeant Donald Fielding either?
Ms. Dugan: Who?
Dana: The detective who was investigating your brother.
Ms. Dugan: I don’t have a brother.
Dana: Yes, you do. He was banging on the door here and he was caught coming out of a hardware store carrying a screwdriver which he is alleged to have used in some break and enters. And he was living with you for now.
Ms. Dugan: I live alone.
Dana: Well, if all this is true, then tell me what the hell you are doing here and what have you done with my brother? I… oh my head hurts.
Dana falls to the floor.
TO BE CONTINUED…. MEANTIME:
Check out my website to see what Dana and I have really been up to. And yes, Beyond Faith is a reality .
Sharon A. Crawford
It’s coming. Beyond Faith, the third book in the Beyond mystery series. Dana Bowman, Private Investigator here. Yes I’m out from between the book covers. But which book? With the number of proof readings my author Sharon A. Crawford and I have been doing for Beyond Faith, that would be the book. But the book is coming in early October. And soon you’ll get a peek at the cover. And… oh rats, Sharon is waving her computer mouse at me to get cracking with the next episode in this online serial story
Bast, Ms. Dugan and Dana turn towards the balcony. They can hear the crunch of branches as something moves up the tree. A figure in a hoodie and sunglasses appears in the window by the balcony door.
Dana: Stay put, Ms. Dugan and David. Bast and I will check it out.
Ms. Dugan: Call me Carla.
Dana, stands up and glares at Ms.Dugan: I thought it was “Emily.”
Ms. Dugan: That, too. Call me either.
David grabs Dana’s arm: Mommy, Mommy, the creature is coming to the door. I left it open when I came in.
Bast charges over to the balcony door. Before he can close it, the hooded figure steps inside. Bast grabs it and the two tousle.
Dana: David, get Fielding here.
Dana runs to help her brother who is clearly not getting the better of the confrontation. She is just reaching down to grab the creature when a voice sounds from behind.
Voice: What is going on here? And who let that person wearing the hoodie in?
David, sounding scared: I did, but not on purpose, honest
Voice: Well, that person is NOT supposed to be out yet. Dana Bowman, what are you up to now? I can’t leave you alone for one minute and you get into trouble.
Dana: Oh, Oh. I really had nothing to do with it. Neither did Bast or David. But Ms. Emily or Carla or whatever-he-name-is Dugan just might have.
Ms. Dugan: Not me. I just came here for help for my brother.And who are you talking to?
Voice: She’s talking to me. And you should be able to hear me now.
Ms. Dugan: I can now. Who are you?
Voice: Why, I’m Sharon A. Crawford, the author of the Beyond books and I want to know why you Dana are pulling characters out of Beyond Faith.
Read more about Dana Bowman here.
BEYOND FAITH IS COMING THIS FALL
We interrupt this story for an announcement from Dana Bowman, the main character in the Beyond mystery series.
The next novel in the Beyond series – Beyond Faith is coming this October. No spoilers but there are lots of puzzles and murders which I have to solve. And.. oh, oh, my author Sharon A. Crawford is pointing her finger at me to continue with this ongoing weekly story. In a sec – first Beyond Faith takes place the last two months of 1999. And the below story occurs just just before that.Sharon is
Sharon is also saying to check out her website. Updates will be posted there about Beyond Faith
And now my continuing story…
The police have arrived – Detective Sergeant Donald Fielding from Major Crimes and Detectives Stewart and Tractor from Forensics. Dana, Bast, David and Ms. Dugan are sequestered in the Attic Agency Office, waiting for Fielding to question them. Outside the agency door, Tractor and Stewart are doing their forensic job.
Ms. Dugan, pacing around the room: Oh my God, my brother, Wayne, I can’t believe he’s dead. Who would do this?
Dana: Really. He was involved in some questionable activities.
Ms. Dugan: Not now. He was not doing those break and enters. He was going to fix my door hinge.
Dana: Well, maybe or maybe not. He still had some questionable associates as the police would say. I mean he is now dead…
David: Mommy, Mommy, you gotta help Ms. Dugan.
Dana: That’s what we are trying to do here, David.
Bast: Dana, let’s not be harsh. Ms. Dugan
Ms. Dugan: Emily, please.
Bast: Emily’s brother has just been murdered.
David: Mommy, Mommy….
Dana: David, quiet please. Maybe you should go back onto the balcony.
David: Mommy, we gotta help Ms. Dugan. We…: David is shouting now and stands up.
Dana: David. Do you want the police coming in here now? They are going to separate us soon. I’m surprised they didn’t do it sooner.
Bast: There is a body outside the door.
Dana: Right. Okay. So, Ms… Emily, do you recognize that voice from the other side of the door?
David: It’s one of his friends. He did it. He..
Dana: David. Okay, that’s it. (She points to the balcony). Out onto the balcony.
David: Aw Mommy.
David pouts and stomps towards the balcony.
Dana; Leave the door open but keep quiet. Now Ms…. Emily. About that voice outside the door.
Ms. Dugan: Not Wayne. He would have been dead. I didn’t recognize the voice – it didn’t sound natural;
Dana: But it could have been one of his assoc… friends disguising his voice. Okay, we need you to give us Wayne’s friends names and their contact info.
Ms. Dugan: There’s Doug Pinchard, Mike Green, and Steve Sumach. They all went to school together and hung out then and afterwards.
Dana: And got into trouble together?
Ms. Dugan: Yes, juvenile stuff – vandalism, joy riding.
Bast: And as adults?
Ms. Dugan: No!. Oh all right. They did do a few break and enters – but that was three years ago and they did their time in prison for that. And Wayne was going straight. He even just landed a job at fast-food place and was to start next week.
Bast: And the other three? Did they find jobs?
Ms. Dugan: I don’t know.
Dana: Come, come, Emily, you say you are close to your brother..
Ms. Dugan: Wayne didn’t tell me everything.
Dana: But he was living with you so you would know if his friends came round.
Ms. Dugan: Not necessarily. Not when I was teaching.
Dana: Wouldn’t you see evidence of them being there when you returned home?
Ms. Dugan: What do you mean?
Bast, interrupting: Dana means evidence of eating – maybe empty potato chip bags, dirty glasses, cigarette butts.
Ms. Dugan: Yes, I suppose so.
Dana: Come come Emily – either there was evidence or not.
Ms. Dugan: Oh all right. I did find a few dirty glasses – once – and cigarette butts, but Wayne smokes…smoked. Oh, I can’t do this. My baby brother is dead. Someone killed him. (She starts sobbing).
Bast: Take it easy. Do you want some water?
Dana: She might want something a bit stronger, Bast.
Ms. Dugan: Water is fine.
Bast pours some water into a glass from the pitcher on the file cabinet and hands it to her. Dana hands her a writing pad.
Dana: Start writing Wayne’s friends names and contact info – what you have. Also your impressions of each. It might help us figure out what happened.
Ms. Dugan: Okay. (She starts writing)
David charges into the room.
Dana: David, what did I say?
David: But Mommy, someone is climbing up the tree to the balcony.
TO BE CONTINUED…
Sharon A. Crawford
Like Dana says, Beyond Faith is coming. Meantime, there is Beyond Blood – the book before. If you haven’t read it yet, click on the book cover below to find out how.
How many times have you read (or written) a scene in a novel or short story that reads something like this?
John decided to tell Mary off and do it loudly.
“Mary, you are a disgrace to the club,” John yelled.
What’s wrong here?
It not only tells the reader what John is going to do,but then puts the same thing in dialogue.I call this overkill and is an insult to the reader’s intelligence. It is equivalent to hitting them on the head and slapping them in the face. Show, not tell the reader works better.
So, what can you do here? Delete the narrative where it tells what John plans to do and go right to the dialogue. Of course this is taken out of context (NOTE: not anything in particular – just off the top of my head – before said head was hit, of course).
Besides the dialogue you can show John in action. Does he point a finger at Mary. Does he throw a book? Does his face contort into a red mass of fury? You can also show how John feels about doing this. Maybe he is scared to stand up to Mary as he may be on the shy side and Mary is a forceful person. So maybe his yelling and actions show this.
Having said all this, it is okay to have some narrative which can include telling your story, showing what characters are like and what your Point of View character feels and thinks.
Just don’t tell when you can show. And never do both around dialogue.. Readers don’t like being insulted.
Sharon A. Crawford
The next book in Sharon A. Crawford’s Beyond mystery series, Beyond Faith (published by Blue Denim Press will be out this fall 2017. Meantime, click on the Beyond book at the top of this post and get more info about Sharon and her Beyond books.
We writers let our imaginations flow. We get creative and write outside the box. However, sometimes we go on tangents with our plots, and characters’ actions and dialogue, often resulting in going way off the credibility meter. We don’t always see that, but our readers do.
And to make it more complicated – credibility can be relative. What is credible for fantasy may not be credible for mystery or romance – at least the plot. Character, no matter the genre, always need to be credible.
I’m not immune to this credibility tangent. Just ask my publisher. And read last week’s post here.
So, how do we get make sure our characters and plot are credible?
One thing I sometimes do is act out a scene. Can a character actually do this? No, I don’t jump off buildings – nothing extreme like that (I’m afraid of heights anyway.) But I do it to get the logistics of a character’s action. For example to see if a character could actually see something from a certain window? Or what it is like walking in heavy rain. Yes, you can use your imagination, but I bet you’ll forget some detail. So get out there and experience your scene. Hook yourself up to your cell phone so if you have to talk like your character, you don’t risk strange looks from others you pass. If you are using present time and present location and not making any of that up, it might be a good idea to get the lay of the land as it is now for streets and crossings. You don’t want your characters crossing a street called Main Street today that last week was renamed to Markham Avenue.
Use a credibility meter for characters to decide on action or dialogue. (And remember, this might be done in a rewrite). Ask yourself how your character would act or react- based on their traits, based on their background, based on their psyche, based on what has happened with and to them before in your novel. Would a timid character suddenly start arguing with someone who is clearly trying to get her goat? But remember, part of a novel’s premise is things change and that includes the characters. So if something happens to your character to bring about a change, maybe that character will finally tell that other character off. Don’t make it easy for him or her. It would be a struggle.
It also is a good idea to have your writing critiqued by a writing critique group – online and/or in person.
Remember, writers can have tunnel vision about their work. But other writers will look at it fresh and from other viewpoints.
That is taking your writing out of the box in another way.
Sharon A. Crawford