Sunday, November 25, 2012

A Black Friday Tale

At 2:26 a.m., my wife and I bounded from our warm bed, dressed and headed out to do battle on Black Friday. We had originally planned to get up at 3 a.m. but were too excited to sleep any longer. We had created a list of what, where and opening times. We also mapped our road trip to hit the stores in the most effective manor and at their kick off times.

First stop was Best Buy. We didn't plan to get any of the hot items, but figured arriving a few hours after the store opened would insure we'd get what we want, and we did! The manager told us the crowd was finally going down. We only had to wait in a checkout line that went from the front of the store to the back.

Because we were successful we cancelled our 5 a.m. stop that was a back up plan if Best Buy had not worked out. That gave us free time so went back home to nap for an hour and make the 6 a.m. stop.  We over slept and rushed out of the house at 6:05 a.m. arriving at Office Max at 6:15 a.m with fear and dread that we missed the bargain. Fortunately not.

We back tracked to Office Depot, which had been our 5 a.m. stop, realizing we did indeed need to go there.  Alas, they were out. Onward to the 7 a.m. stop at BJ's Warehouse.  There we found a better bargain than at Office Max and so had to back track again and make a return.

Next stop was Petsmart at 7 a.m. followed by a quick stop at K-Mart. Then on to Walmart for more shop til you drop.  I recall a McDonald's stop for breakfast although what we ate now seems lost in a haze. We also made a stop at Kohl's and Target.  

Finally we arrived back home around noon and unloaded the booty. Shortly after that I recall closing my eyes and not remembering anything until late afternoon. All in all, the shopping frenzy was a success. We did not get into any fights, have words with someone or sustain injuries.

For Cyber Monday I have decided to stay home and let me fingers do the work.  One special sale coming at Amazon has been set up by author Joleene Naylor: a compilation of books under $2.99. I have heard some may be reduced just for Cyber Monday.  Check out Food for the Mind at Amazon.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Do you hear voices?

The mark of a good character is how they sound and hopefully different from other characters in the story. In the real world people have distinct speech patterns, favorite words and mannerisms when they talk that are different. The mark of a good story is when the reader can hear the character’s voice.

I grew up in the Midwest where we drank pop. When I lived in Florida people stared at me if I used the word, but mention soda and they knew exactly what I wanted. When I worked in North Carolina, I still remember when an associate asked if I wanted to get some sodie water. Words can vary from region to region and character to character.

Does the character speak in long sentences using big words, or simple phrases with one syllable words? The education level, age and who the character associates with affects how they talk. She talks one way at work but differently when having a drink with a friend.  Lovers have their own language. A mother speaks differently with a child than a girlfriend or her husband.

Characters from different parts of the country have a unique sound. He may have a cracker accent or an easy southern drawl. A person from New Jersey sounds different than one from Iowa. Does his voice sound nasally, or low and slow?

Can you read the words and know immediately which characters are speaking? Is the dialog so clear that no way could they be mistaken for someone else? Do you hear their voices?