Writing

Writing Character and Personality

Writing Character and Personality

How do you write your characters? Does the story write the character or is it the reverse? When I read, the books that stay with me are the books with characters that walk off the page. Michael Connelly’s Harry Bosch, Elizabeth George’s Inspector Lynley and Tess Gerritsen’s Jane Rizzoli. I can see these people in my mind’s eye working the crime scene studying the evidence, interviewing the suspects. Yes, the story is important, but more intriguing to me is watching these people work. The authors have brought me to a …

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Bad Cop/Good Cop

Bad Cop/Good Cop

If you live in the Southern California area and someone mentions “police brutality and/or police corruption,” you can probably think of two or three high profile cases of one or the other right off the top of your head. When cops go bad, especially if they go bad on camera, the story goes viral fast. The amount of press coverage a police brutality case or a police corruption case gets can make an average person think it’s widespread and out of control. It’s not, no matter how sensational news headlines …

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The Character of Extreme Swimmers

The Character of Extreme Swimmers

I love to swim. I’m not a very strong swimmer, but I love it. I did a couple of mini triathlons when I was younger and tried to train hard so the swimming portion wouldn’t hurt me, but it never helped. One year I did a triathlon in the police games, the mile swim was in a lake, and I was last out of the water. Ouch. I still love to plod along either in a pool or in the ocean and I have a great respect for those hardy …

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Of Plots and Plotters

Of Plots and Plotters

Where do you get ideas for your novels? Since I write suspense fiction, and in every book I have written the main character is a police officer, I often get ideas for novels from true crime reports, and in one or two cases, from crimes I saw while I worked in uniform. Sounds morbid, but since I believe there is hope in every situation, sometimes the more tragic the crime, the more hopeful the story becomes in my mind. There’s a web page I check regularly that is a compilation …

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Cell Phone and Rude

Were people as rude before cell phones? I just got back from a trip to the doctor with my mom. We arrived a little early, but with only one elevator working out of three, we had a long wait for the elevator to take us to the top  floor. Once we stepped onto the only working car, it was packed. By the time we’d traveled three quarters of the way, everyone but my mom and I got off and a woman, talking on a cell phone, stepped in. But she …

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Bum Glue

I just finished reading a book on writing, by the mystery writer Elizabeth George, called Write Away. I found it informative and inspiring. George is obviously a disciplined and thorough writer, of course I knew that from reading her books. Her recurring character is Scotland Yard DCI Lynley, and the crime series is set in Great Britain. The books are always long, involved and totally engrossing stories. One great nugget I took away from her writing book is the idea of “bum glue.” I’m sure you can guess the meaning …

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The Learning Never Stops

Years ago, I worked with a man who was highly motivated to promote, not just because he wanted to eventually be chief of police, but because he believed that learning and growing was important and it should never stop. For him, studying leadership and pushing himself to be more and to do more was as important as breathing. At the time, I remember thinking he was a little crazy because I had no desire to promote. I had no problem working hard as an officer, but I never wanted the …

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