Showing posts with label technology. Show all posts
Showing posts with label technology. Show all posts

10 June 2013

Smith's Law

Jan Grapeby Jan Grape
 
Bet you've never heard of Smith's Law. Well, don't fret. I'm sure you've heard of Murphy's Law? Well, my late husband, Elmer Grape used to claim that Murphy was an optimist. That whatever did go wrong was going to get worse.

So I had my internet tech out last week & got my desktop back online and then sorta got the laptop going also.  Well, it was working; it just takes thirty minutes plus to load. Since computers were working I delayed buying a new laptop. And today is when Murphy's Law kicked in. Things got worse.

This afternoon while trying to get my article written and posted, I cannot get online with either computer. The desktop is totally hopeless. I managed to get online with laptop but after 40 minutes of the cursor spinning it just would NOT open the sleuthsayer website.  So I'm writing this on my phone. Thank goodness I bought a styles thingy last week. I can't  imagine trying to type this much with a fingertip.

And so things won't be a total crying towel, pitiful Patty, I'll give you an idea of what my original article was about.  I've had people say that my policewoman sounds exactly like me. Or that this character or that character is Aunt Whosit or Uncle What's his name. In reality none of that is so. The characters I make up are just that "made up."

If Zoe Barrow sounds like me...it's probably because you give her a Texas accent because I'm from Texas.  Like most writers say, there's a little bit of me in several of my characters. But Zoe is younger, thinner, prettier and braver than me. (I got that one from Sue Grafton about comparing Kinsey to her.)

However, I take bits and pieces of people I know or see to compose a character. I've gone to a mall to people watch. To note gestures, walks, body language.   You may take a trait of Aunt Whosit and marry it with Cousin Whom.  When you do that you do need to be careful they don't recognize themselves. A friend once said she made her mother-in-law into a yippy dog but the MIL never caught it.

Characters are fun to create. But don't just give a list.of hair and eye color. Give us something to their makeup as a person. Thats when characters come to life.

I think this is about all I can type this way . So until next time watch out for Murphy.

08 March 2012

What If?

by Deborah Elliott-Upton

A writer spends a lot of time considering the What If's for stories. I sometimes wonder about the What If's of my own life, too.

What if I'd been born in another time and place?

Right smack in the middle of a technological explosion, todays's writers are considerably blessed to have computers with the formatting, spell check and grammatical help so readily available at the touch of a keyboard. Imagine what minds like Dashiell Hammet, Raymond Chandler or Rod Serling could have done if they'd had such conveniences and didn't have to pound out their stories on a manual typewriter? I'm thinking of all the writers who dipped a quill into an inkwell with awe. Today's writers are quite fortunate to have technology on their side.

Thinking about the faster access to research questions is amazing, too. Even turnaround time between most publishers is quicker via e-mail than traditional snail mail submissions. Speedy acceptances keep a writer's soul happy. You notice I didn't mention that rejections also reach us sooner, too. But because we've spent less time waiting for an answer, the pain of a refusal isn't even as dreadful as in the old days where a writer haunted our mailbox and practically attacked our mail carriers for news about a submission.

Ask almost any college-age or younger person how to do something (especially on a computer) and following the inevitable eye roll, will be the answer, "Just Google it!"

While it's easy to find out to do almost anything via the Google search engine, sometimes I miss the one-on-one when another person shares information instead of leading me to directions on a computer screen to dicipher.

However, I admit I appreciate the fact that Google never balks at telling me what it knows. That and being available 24/7 not only is terrific, but soothes my ego by not reminding me I am lame for not already knowing the answer myself. I'm often writing into the wee hours of the morning (or night depending on your half-empty or half-full theory). Most of my friends do not wish to be disturbed when I have a question at that time of the day about whether a law in effect in my state would be the same in another or how a weapon would work under certain situations. Google loves to answer day or night without qualms and is never too tired and rarely uncertain about the information.

I'm sure somewhere in time, some people groused about the telegraph wires messing up the landscape as much as people do about everyone having to have a cell phone (or tablet or computer) at their side, practically attached to their hip. Fearful they will miss "something important" if they aren't plugged in, these people are becoming more and more the majority.

Yes, the telegraph lines did take away some majesty from the scenery, but look what they brought to society; communication capabilities changed the world.

Yes, I get annoyed when people are texting from the bathroom stall, plop their cell on the table while we're lunching and keep more an eye on the device than they do our conversation. (You know who you are! LOL)

But, I do understand the awful sinking pit in the stomach feeling when I realize I forgot my cell and realize I am on my own if something goes wrong with my vehicle or need to get in touch with someone immediately (Have you noticed how few public phones are available these days?)

Technology is like a frenemy. We can't escape them and desperately need to keep a close eye on them.

What if I didn't find inspiration as a writer? Or acceptance for my work? What if no one wanted to read my stories?

Without any chance of publishing, I'd still write. Without any other person beside myself reading my work, I'd still write. It gives me joy to do so ... and because I don't know how to stop. If I were to never find any new inspiration, I'd resort to strictly writing the facts. Nonfiction is also good for the soul.

What if instead of writing about crimes, I lived a life of crime? First, that's impossible for several reasons: 1. I'm too chicken to attempt many of the things I write about. I couldn't personally live with the immoral choices of breaking the law. I have toomuch respect for law enforcement to ever want to be sitting in the back of a patrol car. And 2. I wouldn't do well in jail because I am sure I could not handle those uniforms (the same kind every day???) and especially the shoes they make you wear is enough to make a girl cry.

What if I'd gone into law enforcement or became a lawyer or a judge? Hmm, I'm not certain I'd want to chase a perp down a dark alley or have to represent the bad guys in court (and the prosecutors don't get paid enough to work that hard.) I'd probably enjoy being a judge, but they expect you to work your way up to that, so I guess that's out.

No, it's best I stay where I am and stick to writing. The only What If's I need to employ are the ones that concern my characters. I think that's the best answer for me and I didn't even have to Google it.