Tag Archives: process

“Mommy, I So Es-cited!”

Hello, again, dear reader. Sorry to have to tell you my bathroom isn’t done yet, but it’s coming along nicely. The faux painting on my tin ceiling tiles went smoother than I expected, especially since I didn’t know how to faux paint tin ceiling tiles. After experimenting with some sample pieces, I got the hang of what I wanted and plunged ahead on the first two-foot-square tile. Thirty-five, two-foot-square tiles later, three pieces of vaulted-ceiling center molding, and with my torso now stuck in a leaning forward position, I was done. The next day after wrangling the kinks out of my back, I followed with a clear coat.

When the guys came to install the tin ceiling, it was all I could do to keep from standing in the center of the bathroom, directing the operation. I quickly discovered, my contractor had placed me in the hands of two geniuses and my help was absolutely not needed. I was able to sneak a peek now and then, though. Wow, what a spectacular job they did! Here’s a peek for you.

Installing Tin Ceiling

Installing Tin Ceiling





Most of Ceiling

Most of Ceiling





After the ceiling was up, the guys brought in my brand new custom ninety-inch cherry double vanity and fit it along one wall.

The next day was granite countertop and four-inch backsplash day. The granite is called Peacock Green and does have a dark green hue, but feels mostly black with smudges of brown, making a nice contrast to the white undermount sinks. Sparkly mica peeps through the stone every now and then, too, adding a touch of bling. Holes were made and the sinks were glued into place and held with braces.

Custom Vanity

Custom Vanity





I’m learning that in remodeling, there are stages in which things happen and certain trades people have to be called in at certain times during these stages. For instance, the plumber came in after demo and made sure the shower wall was set up for the new shower fixtures and he and I discussed where a niche will be for shampoo and such. And the electrician came to find out how many and where switches and dimmers would be located. They’ll be back again later. Meanwhile, other trades people will do their jobs, sometimes in stages, too. It’s terpsichorean trickery for a contractor to schedule trades for just one project, much less several. I don’t know how they do it. FYI, Terpsichore (pronounced, terp-sick-er-ree) is the Greek Muse of the dance. I love her name; sounds musical). But I digress.

For the last two days, the tile guys have been here cutting and laying down the eighteen inch floor tiles. Outlining each, I am using an approximately one inch band of tiny three-eighth inch mosaic pieces of polished marble, ranging in colors from black through beiges to white. Because the pieces are polished and small they glitter in the light next to the larger matt floor tile. The whole effect is spectacular! I’m so fortunate I keep getting geniuses assigned to my project! Wow! It’s even more beautiful than I imagined. I feel as though I’ve used up all the space in the Cloud with my pictures.

Mosaic and Tile Floor

Mosaic and Tile Floor





Today is shower tile day. I just peeked and the twenty-four inch square mosaic medallion, which faces the vanity across the room and will be reflected in the mirror above, matches the mosaic outlining the floor tiles. A dark brown marble pencil surrounding the medallion sets it off against the one foot by two-foot vertical shower tiles. “Wow” is the only word I can think of right now. Reminds me of when the A-Team guy said, “I love it when a plan comes together.” Remember that? This plan is definitely coming together. Yessss!

Mosaic and Tile-Shower

Mosaic and Tile-Shower

Tile Guys-Joe and Roger

Tile Guys-Joe and Roger






Tomorrow is grouting day and I’ll find out what else will happen after that. Thank you for your patience. I promise it won’t be long and I’ll have some great pictures to share with you. As my son used to say when he was a toddler, “Mommy, I so es-cited!”


Filed under How To, musings

The Tough Part in the Middle

The writing process, particularly when the end result is a novel, is quite time consuming. An idea for a story pops into your head, normally by something someone else says or a conversation you overhear. You allow it to linger there for awhile, getting to know the characters. You determine what their likes and dislikes are. You form an image in your mind of what they look like. Maybe you give them a weird scar or haircolor – something to make them stick out to the reader. (And let’s face it, something that enables you to identify them while you’re still getting to know all the players.)

Storylines begin to work their way into your mind and you begin to craft sentences and chapters in your mind. All this occurs before you’ve even sat down to type a single word. And then, once you feel as though you know your characters well enough, you begin to write their story.
And that’s where the fun begins.

Whenever I begin a novel, the first half of the book goes quite smoothly. I’m able to develop my characters and I have a general sense of who they are and what they are going to do to make the reader love them, hate them or pity them. I also know, for the most part, how my story is going to end.

The unfortunate part for me is that during the writing process of each of my books I come to the part when I’m stumped. I know what I want to happen but I just can’t quite figure out how to get there.

This is when it gets messy and frustrating and I wonder why I began this journey.

I write several different scenarios, some of them far-fetched, while others may be plausible but they just don’t fit with the story. As I re-read and begin to edit, I’ll find that I’ve made a character do something completely out of character and when reading, it just doesn’t make any sense.

I will admit that I have quite a difficult time hitting the delete button. To me, there is a certain satisfaction in seeing the word count at the end of a sitting. To only delete paragraphs – even pages of words – at a later time is rather painful. But, in order to have a good book at the end of the process, these deletions are sadly necessary. And yes, I do realize that the entire process of writing a novel, including the tough part in the middle, is all part of creating a good book; one that people want to read and talk about with their friends.

So after completing this month’s blog, I will open the file that contains my latest novel and continue to crank out the words. I will struggle to find just the right words to enable my characters to tell their own story. I will sweat and swear and my hands will cramp up. I will open the thesaurus on my computer in order to find just the right word I’m looking for. You know the one. It’s the one that’s so close you can taste it but you just can get it to come out from the recesses of your mind.

And then, when I least expect it, probably when my kids need me to bake forty dozen cookies for a field trip the next day and there are loads of laundry to be done, I will have a breakthrough. The story will become crystal clear and the words will begin to flow. I will type ferociously until I am satisfied that the story I set out to tell has been written down in the best possible way.

And at some point in the near future, I will have a novel I can be proud of. A novel that all of you will want to read.

At least, that’s my hope. Wish me luck!

Donna Small is the author of two novels, Just Between Friends and A Ripple in the Water, both available from Second Wind Publishing.

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Filed under books, fiction, fun, Humor, life, musings, writing

Highfalutin Flying Pigs by J J Dare

When friends and acquaintances find out I’m a writer, a few of them want to pick my brain about something they’ve either written or want to write. For the most part, I don’t mind. I mean, after all, everyone starts somewhere and a few of the lucky ones end up on a bestseller’s list.

A few months back an acquaintance from school sent a manuscript she’d written to a group of our former classmates. She asked everyone to take a month or two to read it. I took her literally at her word and read it on the last day of Month Number Two.

The problem with critiquing anything is: opinions are subjective. Others may love what I dislike. One thing I don’t like is pretentiousness – in person or on paper. In my neck of the woods, highfalutin flying pigs are shot and roasted – metaphorically, of course.

This manuscript was a challenge. Every fifth or sixth paragraph was written in Babelfish German. I know Latin (though, as the years go by, I remember less and less) and can vaguely translate a smattering in other languages, but this was migraine-inducing.

Here’s an example of what I faced: “Der Esel fliegt schnell Fett Himmel. Wer kratzt mein Zeh-Saft? Das Gestein beißen das Brot.”

Which loosely translates to: “The Donkey flies fast Fat Sky. You scratch my Toe-Juice? The Rock bit the Bread.”

The German words she used added nothing to the story except irritation. It was simply a play to get noticed – until someone who actually speaks German starts translating.

I have used foreign words in my stories but I limit myself to the easily recognized. The French words c’est la vie, au revoir and bonjour are familiar to American readers. The Spanish compadre is used down here more often than friend – and that’s kind of weird since this region is full of Cajun-French influence.

I draw the line when I feel myself trying to impress with my limited foreign language knowledge although I was rather impressive when my kids were younger. Sadly, they’ve caught on to Mom making up her own foreign words to sound smart. They speak French and Russian, so they are way out of my league now and I’ve stopped trying to bluff my way past them.

 How to tell a fledgling writer I would not buy their book if I need an English/German dictionary at my fingertips? It’s not easy when someone is dressed to the nines and you have to tell them their underwear is showing.



J J Dare is the author of two published books, several short stories and triple digit works-in-progress.

Current enthusiasm is sharpening intangible knives and co-authoring at Rubicon Ranch

Facebook addiction


Filed under books

Five Easy Body Pieces by J J Dare

“Dismembering the human body in five steps” is one of many terms I use when researching books I’m writing. One day I can see this getting me into trouble.

While “the amount of blood in a human body” won’t send up any red flags, I know I landed on some government entity’s radar when I tried to find out “location for black market cheap plutonium.” Yeps, these types of searches will have the Men in Suits knocking at my door.

To be fair, I go to Wikipedia for most information. It doesn’t have to be completely accurate; it only needs to be believable.  I’m not about to cross the line into the dark abyss of internet anarchists. I don’t want to be labeled as a threat to national security. And I don’t want to be responsible for the recipe for a homemade disaster.

Writing mysteries and thrillers, especially spy and terrorist thrillers, involves getting down in the trenches. A few of the places I’ve found information have been, in the words of one of my kids, “sketchy.” When I hit those dives in the dark corners of the Internet, I get my stuff then quickly and quietly run away.

While Dexter makes dismembering a human body look easy, that’s not actually the case. It can be done, quickly and efficiently, but a human body is not exactly like a chicken. I won’t go into detail; suffice to say, the three steps in the title refer to a chainsaw and a big old mess.

“Robbing Fort Knox” won’t win me any medals. Neither will “at what temperature do eyeballs freeze solid.” I doubt “fastest acting poison” and “lethal amount of absinthe” will get me in trouble, as long as no one around keels over.

My ISP probably wonders about me.

I know so many authors who write about the intimate details of military operations, coups and terrorist attacks. I have to wonder if they also look over their shoulders when they research material for their books.

How about you? When you look for answers on the Internet, does a small part of you keep waiting for the authorities to bang on your door as you type away?

When you read a book, do you ever wonder where the writer found his technical material? Ever wonder if the author might know some of this stuff firsthand? Scary 😉


J J Dare is the author of two published books, several short stories and triple digit works-in-progress.

Current enthusiasm is sharpening intangible knives and co-authoring at Rubicon Ranch

Facebook addiction


Filed under writing

December 22, 2012…and we’re still here.

Everyone okay?  No Aliens demanding our assimilation? No Zombies on the front lawn?  The planet’s magnetic poles still where they were yesterday?  No solar flares about to wipe out the electronic age and cause widespread withdrawal from our TV and other devices?  Cool, because it would have truly sucked if the one year when I had all my Christmas shopping done, wrapped, and mailed – without incurring the expedited shipping charges to arrive on Christmas Eve – was the year the world ended.

Now that it’s established that it’s business as usual, I guess I have to finish up my “Christmas Cleaning” and prepare for the family gatherings as well as the wrapping paper chaos that my children will turn my living/family room into on Tuesday morning.  Most people do spring or fall cleaning, not me.  Every year, starting the weekend after Thanksgiving (when everyone else is out shopping), I begin my annual purge/organize and clean.  I throw out what can’t be repaired, reused, recycled or repurposed.  I go through old papers and either shred or recycle.  I donate anything that the kids haven’t played with in a year, things that they have out-grown, or any item that they just don’t like or use.  I go through my own wardrobe and donate anything that doesn’t fit or I haven’t worn in the past two years.  I do a limited purge on my husband’s stuff as well.  Then I organize what’s left and find homes for everything.  What doesn’t have a home after all of this will go to the donation center, and then I clean. Some years my enthusiasm is lackluster, some years I am so energized I could significantly reduce Virginia’s carbon footprint if someone could figure out how to plug me into the grid.

This year, perhaps spurred by a recent TLC marathon of “Hoarders”, I decided to tackle my old “idea file” and see if there was anything that could be tossed.  This “file” is actually two bankers box of papers with no order or system of organization that I used to store my story ideas before I switched to writing on a computer.  The papers are anything from a sentence scribbled on the back of an envelope to a couple of rough (very rough) first drafts of novels.  The quality of the writing or concepts is equally varied.  Unlike some writers I have met over the course of my lifetime, I will freely admit that sometimes what I produce is utter dreck.  So, I spent several hours alternating between mortification, amusement, and wonder.  Anything that would cause my family shame and embarrassment, or my alma mater to request the return of my degree in English, were it to be released posthumously was consigned to the shred pile.  (Not taking any chances of it ever being viewed by other eyes while being sorted at the recycling center.)  Just like there are some things that just can’t be unseen, there are some things that just can’t be unread.

While working through the papers, I found some old notes for a storyline set in 2012 and using the Mayan calendar as the catalyst for the plot that I had written shortly after graduating from college.  The basic story concept I had sketched out has been done in some fashion a number of times by different authors in the last five years, so nothing is fresh about it.  Further, since we all woke up this morning to find we weren’t extinct or in the throes of an alien invasion or the Zombie Apocalypse, the 2012 angle won’t work either.  Regardless of those pretty major flaws, there is some good stuff in those notes that I can repurpose to a new storyline – one I can work on after I deliver the other promised works in progress to my extremely patient, tolerant, and absolute saint of a publisher.

An acquaintance asked me the other day how I get the ideas for my stories.  I told her that ideas come from everywhere when I am in the right frame of mind – current events, historical events, my crazy imagination, conversations I hear snippets of, and from watching people.  I guess now I have to add cleaning to that list.

Mairead Walpole is the pen name for a somewhat introverted project and contract manager who has 20+ years of business and technical writing under her belt. In her spare time, Mairead writes paranormal romance among other genres. Her first novel, “A Love Out of Time” is available through Second Wind Publishing (www.secondwindpublishing.com) or Amazon.com.


Filed under Humor, Mairead Wapole, musings, writing

Clever Twist or Unfair Trick?

In the spirit of Halloween, I like to watch a few scary or supernatural movies during the month of October. In past years, I was limited to scanning the cable listings for whatever offerings they had chosen for me. There were plenty of classics, like Halloween Part Whatever or the original black and white Wolfman. But now, with Web services such as Netflix, the choices are almost unlimited, ranging from decades of popular hits to the truly obscure movies I’ve never heard of (often for good reason). This year I downloaded an unfamiliar movie that definitely falls into that latter category. It was a fairly recent show and was promoted as a horror story about a supernatural being that regularly snatches children in a small rural town. Yeah, I know, sounds cliché, but hey it’s the season. I’m not going to name this movie. I don’t want to be a spoiler, but I’ll just say that, as the story played out, there was something about the plot that raised questions to me as a reader and mystery writer.

The story opens with plenty of dark, gloomy forested atmosphere. It follows a young woman who is a nurse and apparently the only medical person in the village. We quickly learn that everyone in the town is frightened and afraid to talk about the boogie man that has regularly taken away children, never to be seen again. In one scene the nurse offers to buy a coffee for a tragic red-headed woman who has recently lost her child to the monster. No one wants anything to do with her, apparently out of fear for their own children. The woman doesn’t speak and seems frightened and angry. Later the nurse arrives home where we are introduced to a housekeeper/nanny and a young boy. The boy says nothing, but the nanny tells the nurse that he had said he missed her during the day. The nurse seems oddly pleased by this, which seems to hint at some sort of family conflict between them. So far, pretty predictable stuff, right? I’m thinking, “Okay, here are our next victims.” And sure enough, when the nurse is called away during the night, the nanny is attacked and brutally beaten by a cloaked figure. The nurse arrives right on cue to see the boy dragged into a dark van, which takes off down the road. She manages to jump onto the vehicle and struggles valiantly with the cloaked person, eventually causing the van to flip on the deserted roadway. Pretty good action scene. I was really rooting for the desperate mother. As she struggles to her feet, she can only watch as the spooky creature carries the boy away into the dark woods. She limps after them, following boot prints through the woods until she comes to an abandoned old warehouse. She sneaks inside and searches until she finds the boy. Okay, we all know what’s coming next.

Well, no. As it turns out, we don’t. This is where the weird plot twist happens. The curly headed boy suddenly runs away from the nurse, screaming in panic. Hmmm…why would he do that? She pursues and encounters the shadowy figure, who is now shielding the boy. A violent fight ensues, involving everything from busted furniture to an axe. During the struggle, the hood falls away and we see the red headed woman. The boy is running with this character, not from her. I have to admit, I was completely fooled. It was almost like a slap in the face to realize that the supposed monstrous villain is actually the boy’s mother, fighting to snatch her kidnapped child back from the nurse. At that moment another character appears and mistakenly helps the wrong woman and then is also dispatched by the nurse in a tragic ending to this twisted tale. The nurse is the insane person who has been trying for some time to make other folk’s children her own. When it didn’t work out, she “disposed” of them.

Thanks for hanging with me through all this retelling of the story. Now, my question is, “Was that a fair plot twist?” The only character portrayed in the movie as a protagonist is really the villain. It was certainly effective, but I was left feeling misled, maybe even cheated a bit. Maybe it worked because this is a movie. The viewer is just that: a viewer. We’re not made aware of what the characters are actually thinking. If this were a book, could an author have pulled off this misdirection in the same way? As a reader, I tend to identify with the viewpoint character, whether good or bad. I may not be directly told what she is thinking, but I don’t expect the narrator to intentionally hide things from me.

Any thoughts? Would this be a clever plot twist in a novel, or an unfair trick?

Norm Brown is the author of the suspense novel Carpet Ride, published by Secondwind Publishing, LLC.


Filed under books, fiction, writing

Along Life’s Road by J J Dare

2007 – Grounds at The Hermitage in Hermitage, Tennessee

Yesterday, I was talking about how sad I was that my late partner and I did not have the chance to take some journeys together. There were places I’d traveled that I wanted to show him and places he’d traveled that he wanted to show me. In addition, there were places neither of us had been that we wanted to experience as new adventures with each other.

We were able to go on a number of trips. The most exciting ones were to Las Vegas and Nashville. The best ones were weekend jaunts within a few hours of our home base. The perfect ones were the ones we were planning but had yet to take. Boston was at the top of our list of shared journeys we looked forward to taking.

Do we walk every journey in solitude? Even with someone sharing the adventure, do we ultimately move toward our destinations alone?

A close one brought up a point yesterday when I was feeling blue. Her conclusion was that, even beyond describing the places to others, we are the result of all the places we’ve been and those who aren’t with us on these journeys can experience them through us.

It was a lot to take in. My summation is I carry those I love with me, no matter where I go, no matter when and no matter who is with me. People who have been present for part of my journey are present for all of it, even if they are not with me in physical form.

The same is true with writing. The stories I tell are journeys and I travel with those who read what I’ve written. I want to take the reader to places I’ve been and to places I will only dream of visiting. Experiencing these destinations through writing has opened up my own world and the best compliment from a reader is that it has opened up their world, too.

One of my favorite quotes is “The journey is more important than the destination.” How many times have you read a book and when you come to the last page, you don’t want it to end? The journey you take when you immerse yourself in a world another has created for you is oftentimes more satisfying than the end.

With certain books I’ve read, in my mind I ask the same question at the end: what happens next? Sometimes the author will continue the story with another book. Sometimes I have to continue the story’s adventure on my own. I never want the journeys of my favorite books to end.

I am guilty of delaying some of my own writing adventures. Although writing is my lifelong voyage, the “False” trilogy I’ve worked on is one shy of the trio. Right now, it’s the “False” duo. Life happened and the journey I’ve been on for the past two years pushed the final book of my trilogy on an unforeseen hiatus. One day, though, one day.

The journey continues . . .


J J Dare is the author of two published books, several short stories and triple digit works-in-progress.

Current enthusiasm is sharpening intangible knives and co-authoring at Rubicon Ranch

Facebook addiction


Filed under books, fiction, life, musings, Travel, writing

Stasis Books, Part 1 by J J Dare

The writing folder on my computer is so full that it’s leaking onto my desktop like a science fair volcano. I did not realize how many finished and unfinished stories I had in that folder. I’m a little embarrassed because the number of unfinished stories has increased exponentially since I confessed the last time.

How in ramen noodles did this happen? My guess is I’m suffering a bout of some form of WADHD (writer’s ADHD). I’m a balloon of inspiration for books, but my writing air leaks out shortly after the first chapter or two. It’s mortifying to look in my writer’s folder and count in triple digits the books I lost interest in and put away like those odd-shaped nails I found in 1992 and might have a use for one day.

Even with this disorder, I managed to finish seven books in the past two years. Five of these are just sitting and waiting for me to do something. Like, uhm, submit them to my publisher.

I call my patient five the stasis books. They’re just hanging around, hoping one day I’ll send them in. I’m holding back because I need to tweak them. The problem there is I’ll start editing and tweaking and usually end up rewriting the whole thing.

Since I haven’t invested as much time in the unfinished books, I don’t feel too guilty when I tweak . . . and tweak . . . and tweak . . . and finally just give up and go in a different direction.

Distractions are a big problem, too. In addition to WADHD, I’m back on my video-making kick. Yesterday, instead of trying to finish a book or two, I played around with the covers of the books I’ve already finished.

Yes, darn it, the covers. I wasn’t editing the content. I made a video with the titles and covers and some really great music.

If I could redirect the energy I put into other distractions toward my works in progress, I’d have beaucoup finished books instead of hundreds of bums just lolling around.

With the good ideas I have a couple a times a week, at least I’m keeping my imagination going and not sinking into a pit of writer’s apathy. How do you deal with distractions that keep you from finishing what you start?

J J Dare is the author of two published books, several short stories and thirty-plus works-in-progress.

Current enthusiasm is sharpening intangible knives and co-authoring at Rubicon Ranch

Facebook addiction


Filed under books, Humor, life, writing

Why Present Tense? by Norm Brown

I try to exercise on my stationary bike for 30 minutes three times each week. It’s a goal I often struggle to achieve. It’s not so much the “no pain, no gain” aspect of the exercise that causes me problems. Pedaling’s really not that strenuous. The main complaint I have against such regular exercise is the mindless boredom. It’s a motivational problem. So, I chose the stationary bike because it frees up my hands to hold a book. Reading a good mystery novel makes the time pass quickly and relatively painlessly.

This past Monday, I needed to find a new book so I wouldn’t have an excuse to skip my afternoon stint on the bike. Lately I’ve been having pretty good luck buying and downloading books to read on my Kindle. So, I logged onto Amazon to search through the bestseller lists. As I browsed through the titles and reviews, I decided I was in the mood for a story with a little atmosphere, set in either an unusual location or a long ago time. A murder mystery by an English author caught my attention. The protagonist is an archaeologist who lives on the edge of the Saltmarsh near Norfolk in Great Britain, the site of real excavations of mysterious mummified bodies from the Iron Age in Europe. I read a few of the online reviews to see what readers thought about the author and her book. I quickly discovered a repeating theme in the opinions. Readers seemed to like the setting and main character, but several were put off by the fact that it was written in present tense. One reviewer even said that he wouldn’t have bought the book if he had read the sample on Amazon first.

I went ahead and downloaded the book. I’ve been reading it and regularly pedaling for a couple of days now. I find that I am enjoying the atmosphere and the rather surly protagonist is a hoot, but there is something about the present tense style that does bother me. I’m not sure why exactly. Maybe it’s just not what I’m used to reading. To me, telling a story usually involves describing something that happened or could have happened. It doesn’t have to start with “once upon a time,” but I do seem to expect past tense verbs. Present tense makes me think more of someone telling a joke. You know, like, “This kangaroo hops into a bar and …”

With the current novel, I’m getting used to the style and have continued reading, but it leaves me wondering why the author made that choice. I remember reading an opinion somewhere that present tense can be used to add “immediacy” to the story. The reader feels like the action is happening right then. I guess I can see that reasoning, but in this particular story it doesn’t seem to really accomplish that. In fact specific past dates (1998 and 1999) are mentioned in the plot. To me the present tense narrative just feels slightly awkward and meandering. And “she says” somehow tends to jump out at me more than “she said.” Other than that, I can’t seem to put my finger on exactly why this style of story-telling doesn’t work as well as past tense for me. Judging by the numerous complaints among the book’s reviewers, I don’t seem to be alone in this.

There may well be certain circumstances where making things happen in current time is more appropriate than describing past events. Any thoughts?

Norm Brown is the author of the suspense novel Carpet Ride, published by Secondwind Publishing, LLC.


Filed under books, fiction, writing

The Quiet Zone

Shhh. Quiet. Hush.

Silence is a part of life. We are confronted by it on a daily basis, some people more than others. It is woven through the fabric of our existence.

What is silence, though? Is there a written context in which it can be seen, touched, or heard? Hmm. Let’s think about this.

1. Silence is a pretty color.

Well, to those who have noisy children, loud neighbors, or inner-city noise, silence is like a precious metal. It is a rare stillness in some lives.

I live in a small town. The loudest noise I hear is the occasional young man trying to impress the neighborhood with his choice of music or the garbage truck making a ruckus twice a week.

Here’s a written example:

After the police officers left, the golden sound of silence descended and Mary sat back with a sigh.

2. Silence is hard of hearing.

An unnatural quiet in awkward situations can make everyone uncomfortable.

In some realities, silence really is deafening. In my case, silence is louder than noise because of tinnitus. In the absence of background noise, a gazillion crickets chirp constantly in my head.

Another written example:

When her late husband’s mistress walked into the funeral home, the silence was deafening.

3. Baby silence is gonna pop.

The expectant pause is that slight break in conversation when you don’t really know what to say and need a few seconds to recoup. It’s the equivalent to the Twix need-a-moment commercials.

He didn’t know what to say and after a pregnant pause, he mumbled a reciprocal and insincere “I love you, too.”


Since written silence cannot be seen or heard, writers have to identify it some other way. But, this brings up an interesting point: can you hear silence? I believe you can, just like you can see air move or at least the result of air moving. What, however, is the result of silence?

Visual and audio silences are easy to recognize. All of us remember the heavy lack of sound from a parent when we were younger and in a lot of trouble. It was like a wet wool blanket smothering us with the absence of a parental unit’s voice.

The written silence, however, has to be prepped. Descriptive terms have to be used and we have to go beyond “everyone stopped talking.” On television, this awkward silence can be seen. In a book, however, if a reader comes across a blank section, paragraph, or even page of silence, they might assume it was a printing error.

I’m always looking for ways to express the absence of sound in written form. Sometimes a description of the quiet void needs more than the usual clichés. Sometimes, silence sounds louder than a rock concert. Depending on your written point of view, translating that moment of stillness can be a challenge.

She finished typing the article. A fog of silence rolled through the room. Her hand was poised over the send button, but she shivered as the empty quiet pressed heavily against her. The hush of a thousand voiceless echoes enveloped her. She was trapped in a cage of auditory absence. She opened her mouth to scream, but the sound was lost in the silent vacuum.

Eh, it’s a start.

J J Dare is the author of two published books, several short stories and about thirty works-in-progress.

Current enthusiasm is sharpening intangible knives and co-authoring at Rubicon Ranch


Filed under life, writing