Dear Fellow Journalers,

I knew I had to advance the plot in keeping with the timeline I had set up. The problem was that I  had no idea how to do it. Then one weekend, I happened upon a BookTv program. The author was talking about my very problem! He solved his dilemma by mentioning the season in the first paragraph of each chapter. I was reminded of the movie “Notting Hill” where the main character walked through a familiar place in rain, next shot -snow; next shot – springtime flowers; next shot- falling leaves.

Instead of taking the whole story apart, I took one chapter at a time, making sure to number them to agree with the outline. I advanced my timeline by describing the actions of the characters. One of the things that helped was I put the month on the chapter.

I took my time, proof-reading at night, spell checking at the end of each chapter. At first, doing the ‘re-write I would discard passages then delete them but as I stretched the Story, I began to save the passages for future stories.

I was also mindful of the time period I was writing about. Not being familiar with the 1870-1880’s western USA I skimmed things on the internet about travel time for mail, passengers, medicine, illnesses, food preparation etc. I started a new section called Research. I also subscribed to a western magazine.

I found out that I was using the term “he said” way to much, so I found more action verbs:

  • He mumbled
  • He spoke gently
  • He whispered
  • He grumbled
  • Putting his hands on his hips, he took a stand, saying forcefully
  • He snapped
  • He howled
  • He grunted
  • He whined
  • He questioned
  • He hissed
  • He complained
  • He replied
  • He stated
  • He argued
  • He interrupted
  • He moaned

And instead of repeating ” he stood”:

  • He jumped
  • He snapped up, to attention
  • He struggled upward
  • He eased himself down
  • He drew himself up to his full height

Oh and one day, while playing with a “character conversation” I found my title:

The Reluctant Imposter



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