March 28, 2024 Post

Welcome back to another adventure down the path of my so-called writing life. I’d like to start off this week with a brief confession of sorts. As regular readers of this blog are aware (and I know both of you are out there), every one of my 101-word stories is based on prompts generously supplied by you, my (semi) loyal readers. I keep a list of my ever-growing supply of prompts, and then when I set out to write a story, I just grab one and start running with it. Even though I try to keep tabs on which ones I’ve previously used so I recycle nothing, over the course of writing almost 600 of these little tales, I’ve probably inadvertently used a couple more than once. Today’s tale is the first time that I know I did this, but by the time I discovered it, I just kept working on the story since the subject and tone are radically different from the one I wrote back on February 10, 2023. In any event, Bill Schulz, my former college roommate and personal European tour guide, is hereby given the Double-Dipper Award for supplying the prompt that led to two stories. Here’s the latest spin.

            Good for the Goose

Ronald wrote novels full of memorable characters. He wasn’t imaginative, but fortunately, he knew the McFaddens, a cross between The Simpsons and The Sopranos. Ronald’s characters came from crashing McFadden reunions.

At one gathering, Aunt Milly confronted him. “You’re a thief. I’m Milly and you ‘created’ Lilly. You even gave her a missing appendage.” She waved her pinky-less hand.

“Lilly’s missing a thumb. Way different,” Ronald said.

Eventually, Milly wrote a book about a novelist, Donald, who also stole characters.

“You ripped me off,” Ronald complained.

“Not really,” Milly said. “You’re Ronald and he’s Donald. My character’s brilliantly original. Way different.”


Prompt: Characters Based on Family

Turning to the world of novel writing, Questionable Characters slowly moves ahead. I fixed two character problems that have been bugging me for a long time. One was simply changing a character’s name that was too close to reality. Imagine that—an author “borrowing” a character from real life. Huh… The second issue was another name situation that took a bit more work. It had to do with finding an organic way to explain my protagonist’s undercover name vs. his real one and who used which one and when. I think my fixes work, but we’ll see how they read when I go back and give this next final draft a full read.

Finally, I want to give a shout out to a new friend and fellow author. His name is Gregory D. Lee and his first novel, Stinger: An International Thriller, was just released. I read a newspaper article about him and since we appeared to have so much in common (we both have local and federal law enforcement experience, both were law enforcement instructors, both did our time at Quantico, both are writers, both breathe in oxygen and expel carbon dioxide, etc.), I reached out to him. Full disclosure: I haven’t read his new book yet, but I plan to, and in case you’re interested, here’s the Amazon link.

OK. Time to get back to Questionable Characters. I need to find stuff to cut. In the writing biz, we fondly refer to it as “killing our babies.”

Scotty out

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