Sue May Warren

Big Screen/Your Scene

Craft Tips and Techniques from Today’s Blockbusters

Indy and the Great Promise: A study of the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

I’ll never forget the first time I met Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark. Fresh from the Stars, Han Solo—um, er, Indy was exactly my kind of hero—a little bit arrogant, a little bit unassuming, a whole lotta cute, and best of all, he was searching for the ark of the covenant. In an age when most people still knew their Sunday school dogma, it was a quest worth investing in. And the premise, keeping the most holy of artifacts...

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Mark Mynhier

Author By Night

A Time To Write

As a homicide detective, I barely have time to finish my police reports much less pen a three hundred fifty–page novel. When I’m running on a fresh case, I’m often working twenty-four to forty-eight hours straight through. Then come the normal responsibilities of the job: witness statements, follow-up investigations, court, meetings . . . more meetings. Just when I think I’m finished with work and can go home to dig deep into my literary consciousness, I’m reminded that I have a wife and three children who actually like me and desire a little face...

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Short Stories

Bleak Holiday

Strains of “Happy Holidays” drifted through the mall as I walked into Eye Express. Whoever thought of the term “holiday” for such a bleak time of year?

“Excuse me,” I said to the gum-popping teenager behind the counter.

She turned around, the phone cradled to her ear, and said...

Star Wars And Beyond

He went to see a movie classic
But found his future instead.

A sharp jab to the ribs pulled Dave from his fantasy.

“Earth calling Dave. You’ve been staring at that girl for fifteen minutes. Stop ogling and go talk to her,” Sean said. He pulled the popcorn bucket from Dave’s hand.

Maybe he had been staring a little longer than a good soldier should.
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Brandilyn Collins

Making A Scene

Hatching A Plot

Often I’m asked, “Where do your ideas come from?” My answer: “Life.” As a novelist I see fictional what-ifs all around me. An incident on the street, a phrase on the radio, a TV news bit, even a line from someone else’s work may trigger a what-if.

Still, I’m not exactly brimming with story ideas. What-ifs might hit me numerous times a day, but few of them stick with me. When something does stick—however bizarre or meaningless it seems—I write it down. Something about that incident or phrase has caused a reaction deep within me. I may not know for a long time—even years—how I will use it in a story. But use it, I will.

If you’re a novelist, I urge you to pay attention...

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Mary DeMuth

Write Real

The Making of a Masterpiece - Part Two

I read Mockingbird: A Portrait of Harper Lee by Charles J. Shields. I’d always wondered why Harper Lee didn’t complete another novel. This book shed light on Lee’s journey toward publication. I think you’ll be surprised to know . . .

. . . that she didn’t hand in a masterpiece. I guess I had these romantic notions that Nelle (her first name) frantically typed her book in the in between times of life, full of the muse. I see her type the last word, smile, and then march the streets of Manhattan, perfect manuscript in hand, and hand it to her publisher, J. B. Lippincott. I see the publisher ooing and ahhing, the editor saying things like, “Well, I added a few commas, but this thing is beautiful!”

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For Writers

Virginia Smith

The Book Of Your Heart

Putting up the Christmas tree at my house is a very special event. I relish the ritual of hanging the ornaments I’ve collected over the years. Each one holds a memory: the shiny silver bell engraved with our wedding date; the brightly painted teddy bear with the year of my daughter’s birth painted on his hat; the skiing Santa I bought on our first ski trip. As I lift each treasure carefully out of the box where it has lain hidden from view all year, a precious memory emerges from deep within my heart and finds a place on my tree.

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