A story in there… somewhere… waiting to get out.


Paula’s Post #67 –

So, another shocking admission. Occasionally, not often, but occasionally, I need to actually ‘search’ for a subject for my weekly 5writers post. But we 5writers like to ‘riff’ on a theme, and Silk provided much needed inspiration when she started us off this week with a great post yesterday entitled ‘Artful reality and cutting out the dull bits.

So let the scissors fly.

Snip, snip, snip.


Silk’s post of yesterday was about cutting out the dull bits to improve pacing, conflict, tension, paring away to the essence of a story so that only the ‘drama’ remains, illustrated by Alfred Hitchcock famous question: “What is drama but life with the dull bits cut out?”

Quite independently, I’ve been thinking about paring down, too. And not just my busy schedule. Yes, It’s been another hectic week here in the desert. March is the best month to visit Greater Palm Springs, and between the La Quinta Arts Festival, Polo in Indio and the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.

Nary a dull moment.

Up this week?

Home tours for clients, bocce tournaments, tennis clinics, margarita parties, and entertaining a couple of very special house guests. Admittedly, my ‘writing time’ is more or less confined to just rolling story ideas around in my head, hoping to find settings, characters, plot and most of all, beginnings, middles and ends in the nascent jumble of ideas that is my next novel.

This is fun, but not always easy.

I know that when I’m ready, I’m going to need to apply a bit more discipline to this process of ‘finding’ my story, a process that is both creative and judicious. A process that requires keeping those scissors close at hand.


On the one hand, I’m excited because I have a general idea of my story, some settings, characters, plot and sub-plots. But right now, the ideas are all a bit of a jumbled mess, ricocheting around in my head.

I haven’t written much down yet. Unlike my 5writer colleagues Joe and Karalee, I’ve yet to start on my outline.

I will, I promise, but for the past 9 months my husband and I have been ‘living out of a suitcase’ (at least metaphorically speaking) since the sale of our home in West Vancouver and the purchase and renovation of our new little house in the tiny coastal town of Gibsons Landing, B.C.

So yes, I feel adrift. I need a place to call home. A place to set up my writer’s ‘corner’ and start writing. (I doubt I’ll snag a whole room – this time I’ve promised that my husband gets the one and only room we’ve officially designated as an ‘office’ in our new little ‘downsized’ house. But a corner would be nice.

In the meantime, I’m thinking about the essence of ‘story’ and why some people make it in this ‘biz’, while others, equally talented, equally motivated, equally creative… fail. We’ve all had fantastic story ideas that have failed in their execution. The fast-penned YA thriller I whipped out in under 5 months during our 5writers5novels5months challenge an excellent case in point.

I know I had a pretty good story idea, a great premise, the genesis of some strong, quirky characters and plenty of action. But all this good stuff lay buried, lost in a jumbled mess. Somewhere… a story lay trapped, waiting to get out.


Someday, I may cut away not just the “dull bits” of my story, but also the bizarre… the confusing… the dropped threads… the repetitive and the extraneous, until I find my story.


Yesterday, I stumbled upon a site, (new to me at least) called ViralNova, featuring trending stories on the web. If you haven’t ‘clicked to it’ by now, the photos above are from that site. The ‘story’ of a poor little stray dog, literally a filthy mess when found on a road way. At least this story had a happy ending.  This lucky pup got an extreme makeover. The photos of her transformation are now making their way around the Internet, going viral.

It turns out the stray Shih Tzu was rescued by La Société Protectrice des Animaux de Québec (SPA) (Quebec Society for the Protection of Animals) in Canada in 2011.

My story?

Hopefully the one I’ve already written will one day get rescued, too. Oh, and the one in the planning stages, I’m just hoping there’s a story in there, waiting to get out!



4 thoughts on “A story in there… somewhere… waiting to get out.

  1. Paula, you are a walking treasure trove of stories — what an imagination! I’m not sure they need ‘rescue’ so much as they need their creator to be spirited away to a desert island with no distractions and forced to stay there and focus on writing until the story is done and polished and polished again! I know, I know … Look who’s talking. (BTW, I couldn’t stand to even look at these rescue dog pictures).

    • The story of the poor little dog had a ‘happy ending’ – (I forgot to add the final photo – just did – check it out). I’m hoping my search for my story will end as happily! But, in the meantime, I agree with the ‘desert island’ idea… EXCEPT, you live on an Island, – how is that working out for you?

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