Recently I was working on a new scene from Book II of the Liberty Trilogy. Reading it aloud, I noticed a decided lack of personal attributes. I needed to give my character something to show of himself.
A few years back, I bought five books by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi designed to help the writer with characters and settings. I keep the books within arm’s length. However, more often than not, I forget them. I reached for The Positive Trait Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Attributes.
Searching the index, I couldn’t find a trait that fit what I had in mind. Oh, well, find something. I noticed three characteristics that gave me an idea of how to rewrite several paragraphs. When finished, I was happy with what was now on the paper. I decided to keep the guide on my desk.
Days later, I needed another clue. Reaching for the guide, I noticed the book on my desk was The Negative Trait Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Flaws.
I reread the scene and decided the character flaws made for a more compelling character and storyline than positive traits.
Thanks, Angela and Becca.
Most of you have not heard of the Brown Water Run (BWR). It began twelve years ago and has become a perennial favorite. No one has made all eleven rides. We had maybe six riders the first year. This year we have 24 confirmed and it is still 85 days away. The BWR is a bunch of guys having a good time on motorcycles.
Over the years, many strong friendships have developed amongst a group of people meeting for the first time on the BWR.
DAY 1 – Friday, July 5, 2013: We’ll meet at Zac’s, Dublin at nine. After a leisurely breakfast we mount up for a ride to Santa Cruz and then south on SR-1 to Morro Bay. For some it will be a 230 mile day, for others 350 or more. A group will be coming up from Arizona.
Day 2 – Saturday, July 6, 2013: We’ll have some great riding and some not so great. Leaving Morro Bay we ride to Atascadero and over the coastal range to Button Willow, a great ride. This stretch of SR-58 is a well-kept secret. Many think of 58 as a miserable, boring, waste of time ride. They haven’t ridden this stretch.
Across the central valley, we’ll pass Lake Isabella on the way to US-395. This part of the ride has mixed reviews. Once on US-395 we’ll go north to Bishop finishing off the day with about 350 miles.
Day 3 – Sunday, July 7, 2013: This will be a fun day as we cross the always spectacular Tioga Pass (El. 9943) and down into Yosemite Valley. The fun has just begun.
This is a TWO-PASS day. After leaving Yosemite we’ll head toward Sonora and Highway 49. A short ride brings us to SR-4 and then it’s up and over Ebbetts Pass (El. 8736). We’ll spend the night in Carson City, Nevada. We’ll cover 300 miles.
Day 4 – Monday, July 8, 2013: This will be a short day for some. The biggest decision will be where we have breakfast.
After our morning meal, folks will begin to split off. A few will stay the night at Lake Tahoe, some riding further into Nevada, others will start back to Arizona. Most will take a scenic ride back to Sacramento and the Bay Area.
I am turning the ride into a 2000 mile “Business” trip. As I fancy myself a writer, I’ll ride to Las Vegas where later in the week I will attend the Public Safety Writers Association’s Annual Conference. Maybe there will be a prize for one of the pieces I’ve entered into the PSWA 2013 Writing Competition. I’ll take a leisurely two day ride stopping to write each afternoon. I’m finishing up a Tale of Robbers and Cops, and working on a new novel about an Anti-Gang Unit in a large, fictional Arizona City.
Once this is posted, Jim “JAK” Kennemore will be anxious to give you some historical facts. Let me head off at least a couple of rather embarrassing incidents. I have not completed as many Brown Waters as JAK. In 2003 and 2009 I left early. Below are pictures that tell the tale.
To the left is a Forest Service Road we rode west from Merlin, Oregon. It was a terrible ride. The only bike that had trouble was a Honda. None of these riders were happy with me.
Yes that is me a mere thirty minutes later lying alongside the road with six fractures. It was about an hour before the first emergency vehicle arrived. JAK was busy taking photographs
The medevac took me from near the Oregon Coast to Medford. I am claustrophobic and my nose was inches from the helicopter’s roof. It was no big thing; the EMT pumped me full of Morphine.
In 2009, I repeatedly suffered from a septic Gall Bladder. Over 90 days, I had six hospital stays until one of the visits resulted in emergency surgery. On the BWR I had an episode while at a BBQ in Minden, Nevada. Barry Chall tried to take me to a medical facility. That didn’t work so after a call to 9-1-1 I was in an ambulance. The following morning another ambulance took me to Hayward.
JAK will undoubtedly fill you in on other Crash Cramer exploits. I hold the dubious honor of being the only Brown Water Runner to be medically removed from a Run, not just once but twice.
I’ve been an investigator for more than forty years. In a recent blog I let you know that I’ll be lecturing at the upcoming San Francisco Bay Area Chapter of ASIS-International Training Seminar. Later this year I will be teaching at events in Chicago and Las Vegas.
In addition to my novel A Tale of Robbers and Cops, it is impossible for me to not write short stories and essays related to criminal and corporate investigations. Later today I will be posting a disturbing piece about negligent hiring practices.
Look for these non-fiction and fictionalized pieces to be mixed in with the blog’s other topics.