So I’m not sure how many of you know about my local writing group, but it’s OSUM and fun and we meet at the coolest place. On a normal Friday I get together with K. A. Holt, Jessica Lee Anderson , E. Kristin Anderson, new member Madeline Smoot, and sometimes member Jenny Ziegler.
Yes, we talk about fun stuff. Yes, we get writing done. Yes, we listen to music from the 80s and read the graffiti on the walls (and there is lots and lots of it…). And yes, we come up with ridiculous lists.
Care of “The Group” from “The Place,”
here are ten things found in any manuscript:
1) A dog barking in the distance
Due to the paranormal craze, we’ll stretch this to include werewolves, too.
2) A Star Trek reference
3) A head wound
A gash, a small cut, blood dripping warm on the face. You know you have one.
4) Some stupid joke which will not longer be funny after 50 revisions
So kill the darling early. No one else thinks it’s funny from the start.
5) Something small to crawl through (like a secret tunnel or a ventilation shaft).
Make this a Jefferies tube, and you’ve got (2) taken care of, too.
6) A doorway/keypad/lock that’s impassable that your character manages to pass.
Why? Because your character has to change the world. And how else is your character going to change the world if they can’t get through that locked door or figure out the secret code.
7) Homage to a friend or teacher or family member or pet (Easter eggs)
No birthday is random in books. It’s kind of like lottery numbers.
And names? It is no coincidence I named the bad guy in THE EMERALD TABLET after my ninth grade Geometry teacher.
8 ) Explosions or fire
When the middle of the book is sagging, blow something up. It’s sure to make something happen to the plot.
9) Piercing or brooding eyes
Maybe think up some new descriptors for the eyes. And vary the arching and raising and narrowing while you’re at it.
Yeah, maybe these aren’t so good to have. But yet they exist. Always.