Thursday, October 24, 2013

Let's Get Technical– Guest Post by Charlie Hudson


Off With Her Combat Boots and On To Writing – Meet Charlie Hudson

     There is something quintessential about the image of a writer in a garret, and with having lived in many two-story dwellings, the term "garret" was easy to adopt, although not architecturally accurate. I may have posted once about when we were looking to move from a three-bedroom to a four bedroom house, a neighbor was puzzled. "It's just the two of you at home, why do you need four bedrooms?" I immediately replied, "Separate offices." Sharing an office brings distinct problems for us and we only do that for as short a period as possible. I do acknowledge that having the wireless environment in the house means that if I am so inspired, I can carry the laptop to wherever, but my upstairs office really is set up well.
In speaking of writing, that of course involves inspiration and style - where ideas come from and how they develop into characters or story lines. Although other writers will be different, I spend time constantly watching and listening - picking up bits and pieces that might be useful someday. My short story FlightPlan illustrated this practice. I was on a lengthy delay in Atlanta during one trip and not surprisingly spent extra time in the Sweetwater Brew Pub. On that same trip I had the occasion to pass an evening with a lesbian, Wiccan couple. Really, how does one not want to use that particular tidbit to open a story? Voila!, the story of "Flight Delay" emerged. From a character perspective, I mostly do composites of people that I've met, except for times when I have to create a genuinely bad person, and for that, I often turn to true crime shows. Those are quite useful sources for not only characters, but also for methodology for investigations and murders. And what a useful tool we have with the Internet.


As I mentioned in a tweet one day, the list of “My Favorites” on the computer can have an odd collection of sites at any time that reflects sources that I have been checking for scenes. I recently deleted the ones on Meth Labs, but have left the Meaning of Aura Colors, and naturally, the Yacht Broker site that I drew heavily from for Deadly Doubloons  and False Front (http://amzn.to/104HJhD) (due out in October). I don’t have problems with getting the scuba scenes right in my novels since I dive and my husband is an instructor, but we don’t own or spend time on a variety of different boats and therefore, I need the exact image and specifications from a reliable source. We all make our choices as to writing style, and in my case, my military background (especially as a female who entered the Army during some of the “pioneering years”) is probably the major factor of my insistence on technically accurate scenes. As an example, when I recently wrote Small Town Lies (http://amzn.to/15M5WlP), I spent hours with ladies who quilt, learning about the craft, and more importantly, the passion for it. Even though I’ve always admired quilting and grew up around it, that isn’t the same and sitting down with quilters and watching/listening to them.
That is not to say that I don’t enjoy fantasy writing – it is merely that if I am reading a novel that addresses a particular topic that I am familiar with and there are errors in how a situation or characters are portrayed, I can become annoyed to the point of setting the book aside. Since I react in that way as a reader, I react in the same way as a writer. I don’t want my readers to think, “Hmm, that doesn’t make sense,” even though they are reading a novel. Again, every writer makes a choice as to style, and mine relies heavily on believable characters and strong dialogue. A fan once said, “What I especially like about your characters is that I can see them and imagine being able to sit down with them.”
So, as a writer – what inspires you and did you have a specific style from the beginning or did one evolve over time?

ABOUT CHARLIE HUDSON
Charlie Hudson, a retired Army Officer, and her husband, also a retired Army officer, relocated to South Florida where he teaches scuba and she combines her love of scuba with writing in many of her books. Charlie’s novels, non-fiction, and a rich archive of short stories can be found at http://charliehudson.net or enter Charlie’ Corner CafĂ© at http://charliehudson.net/weblog.
 Charlie and her husband dive and she uses his expertise for the more technical aspect of diving. Charlie snaps photos of scenes that she might later use in her writing. 
Follow on Twitter:    @chudsonwrites 



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