I'm back! The vacation was just what I needed.

My husband wants to go back to see the observatories, more beaches, more of Kauai, and more beaches. He promised to take me and the kids with him. How nice!

We saw so many beautiful places - too hard to pick out a favorite. We saw lava spewing into the water, Moloka'i by helicopter, and the wettest spot on Earth. I was also thrilled to see a black sand beach, a taro field, and a grove of Macadamia trees. I ate fresh papaya right after our tour guide knocked it off the tree.

And we also saw chickens. A lot of chickens. Roaming free throughout the islands. Woke up at 4 am because of a rooster who apparently had an early appointment.

My research went well. I went on a few tours. The tour guides were very informative and helped me with spelling. Other tourists asked why I was taking notes - it's a vacation, right? I had to pull off my tourist mask and bare my writer's soul. When I admitted I was getting my facts straight for a novel, one older gentleman kept after me the whole trip. "Did you write that down?" "Yes." "Are we taking a test at the end of the tour?" "No."

I guess my favorite moment was when we arrived at my mom's to pick up my kids. My son's face was awesome when he saw we were back. I love getting kids' kisses.

Hawaiian Excursion

Happy Anniversary to me! And my honey, of course. We've been together a long time, so we thought we'd celebrate by letting me do a little writing research. hee hee

I have a few scenes in Hawaii in one of my stories. I've been all over the internet trying to make my setting right, but I don't think I quite have it yet. Can you imagine trying to describe the taste of ice cream without ever tasting it yourself?

So the hubby is going to experience with me all the romance that Hawaii is so famous for.

I can't wait!

Anyone who has read this blog on a consistant basis knows that I only post one day each week. I'll be gone next week, so this is the post that is supposed to be read next week.

Enjoy your week.

I know I will.

STORY, Part 2

Robert McKee's STORY has given me a creative boost. A push to strive for uniqueness and excellence.

If I read through my story and find a boring part, it might be because I let the reader know what's ahead. If I give clues to lead the reader into one area, and then storm through with the action taking the reader into a different area, I give the reader a happy surprise. Readers love happy surprises. They want to be thrilled by twists and turns.

Let's see what I can do with a practice scene. I'll start with Mary in an ice cream store so Bob can surprise her outside the store. My job in this scene is to hold back some information and redirect the reader's attention so I don't spill the beans.

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Jeff held open the door of the Icy Delight ice cream shop while Mary entered, shuffling in her flip flops. She looked up at the bundle of bells jingling at the top of the door when it closed behind him. Gracious! The guy's tall. She turned her gaze to the long counter displaying many of her favorite ice cream flavors. "What kind do you like?"

"I always get a vanilla cone. What are you having?" Jeff moved closer to her on his way to the counter, avoiding the little boy in the booth kicking a nearby empty chair.

"I don't know. I'll look around." She shuffled beside him until he stopped at the vanilla, and then she inched around a family of four. "Thanks for the ride down the block, by the way. I sure didn't know about the fire at the frozen yogurt stand. It must've happened last night." She walked to the end of the counter and back to Jeff.

"I didn't mind stopping to pick you up." He ordered his cone and stepped back from the counter.

"Too many choices. Oh, I'll just get a chocolate cone." Mary hesitated. "With sprinkles."

He took his vanilla cone, paid, and licked the edge of the cone where the ice cream had begun its descent.

Mary took her cone, paid, and swiveled her body toward the door. When she looked down, she saw the foot of a small girl who was standing right where her own foot was about to land. Mary moved her foot away in mid-step, but her ice cream tumbled to the floor in her effort to miss the child. When she shifted her weight, she lost her balance and hurt her ankle in the fall. She landed in the ice cream mess, but the child was fine.

Jeff held out his hand to her. "Can you get up?"

"Yes. I'm okay." Mary tried to stand, but her ankle hurt too bad to walk on it.

"Okay, huh?" He steadied her with his arm around her shoulders.

"Well, I can hop." She grinned with fierce determination.

"Stubborn woman." He threw the rest of his cone into the nearby trash can and picked her up.
"Put your arms around my neck."

"Jeff, put me down." She grabbed onto his burly shoulders and felt a little awkward. What would people think?

He looked pretty happy to have her arms encircling his neck. "No. I'm going to drive you home." He carried her to the sidewalk by his car.

A brand new red Lexus slowed and pulled into a parking space just past Jeff's car. It was Bob! He got out, slammed his door, and walked around the back of his car. "I knew it! I knew you were dating someone behind my back. Put her down, Jeff. She and I have to talk."

Jeff set her down on one foot beside his car. She leaned against it while he opened the door.
She hurried to get inside and shut the door, yelling through the open window, "Bob, calm down. I'm not dating anyone but you. Really. This is all very innocent."

Jeff forced Bob away from his car. Bob shoved him. Jeff shoved him back and pushed too hard. Bob entered the street. He came running at Jeff and swung his fist so hard he fell onto the back of Jeff's car when he missed.

Mary leaned through the open window. "Stop fighting! Bob, you don't understand." After the car stopped it's tiny rocking from Bob's fall, Mary sat back in her seat and twisted to keep watch.

Bob ran at Jeff again and crammed a solid punch into Jeff's abdomen. Jeff backed up between two parked cars and threw a left across Bob's jaw and a right into his chest. Bob staggered backward into the street too far, too fast and was hit by a truck that screeched to a stop just past Bob's car.

Jeff ran to his car, started it, backed up, and wheeled away with Mary as speechless as the wind.
__ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __

Do you like the scene?

Even though I let you know that Bob was going to surprise Mary, I didn't tell the important part. The truck that hit Bob was the irreversible, unexpected gap between the reader's expectation and the result.

I realize the scene needs more fixing before it is a bearable part of a story. But hey, isn't this what learning is all about?