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Karen Harrington

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Member Since: Aug, 2007

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The Homeless Killer
by Claude Bouchard

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Blogs by Karen Harrington

Careful. You might end up in my novel.
5/12/2008 10:50:05 AM    [ Flag as Spam or Inappropriate ]

A wonderful memoir writer with the initials Robert Rummel-Hudson once wrote, "If they had known about the book, they might have behaved."



Writers are born spies. We are watching and recording even when we don't realize it. Often, a story is inpsired by a slice of conversation between a couple we overhear in the next restaurant booth "This is not the time or place, Fred!"  or the way someone artfully complains to a steward on an airplane "Maybe this service goes over well at Greyhound, sweetie, but this is first class and I shouldn't have to tell you."


I was recently having drink with a friend at a coffee chain. We were sitting inside next to a window. As we talked, I noticed a couple sit down at a two-seater table outside.


They didn't arrive together, that was clear. She, natural and not in-your-face-pretty in a Gwyneth Paltrow kind of way, sat down first. Her ram-rod straight posture against the hard, wire-framed chair suggested she felt very relaxed and confident.


He, equal to her looks in an everyman, but not leading man fashion, carried a large laptop case, pulled out his chair and made to sit down but not before his whole case came tumbling open and the contents of it, including his laptop, spread around on the pavement at his feet. Fortunate for him, it was not a windy day. He stood there for a moment looking like he'd just wet his pants on the playground in front of the popular girl. He  scooped the papers and pens back into the case and shoved them under the seat. (I noticed she did not help him with this task.) Then, he sat on the edge of his seat, slightly hunched toward her, continuously running his hand through his hair. He was talking fast. Whatever he was saying, probably tinged with a healthy dose of nervous laughter, just made her more interested in her frothy drink and straw, which she was moving up and down inside the cup with the tips of her coral colored manicure. She was bored. I assigned her a bubble thought: "I think on my next polish change, I should go with Make Mine Mauve."


His bubble thought shouted, "Idiot! Stop talking about how your new Dell laptop can withstand a drop from three and half feet." 


I felt bad for them. Well, actually, I felt bad for him.


It was clear that this hell-date was a first and possibly last meeting. Through the window glass, I never heard any of their exchange. Still, I could see a story play out in front of me. Would she be worn down by his nervous charm when he called her the next week and they'd go out again? Or was she counting the minutes until she could text her girlfriend about this bad date? Was he waitng for her to leave so he could sufficiently flog himself for being so clumsy, fueling the start of his future serial-killer infamy as the Manicure Maniac? Or, would this send him inside for a double-tall latte from a sweet barista who would become his next girlfriend merely because she asked, "Is that the latest Dell laptop?"  


The story could go so many directions, which is the pure joy of writing. We take human observations and weave in our own "what ifs" and life experiences until an interesting scenario emerges.

Do you observe people and conversations? Do you sometimes fill in the blanks about what is taking place?  


Today's JANEOLOGY blog tour stop is a review from ReviewYourBook:

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More Blogs by Karen Harrington
• There Will Be Cake! Giveaways! Merriment! - Thursday, April 02, 2009
• He's Just Not That Into Valentine's - Friday, February 13, 2009
• 10 Word Short Story Contest - Friday, January 30, 2009
• Foggy day in Dallas - Thursday, January 29, 2009
• Not Your Father's Book Festival - Monday, January 19, 2009
• NaNo Stats & Writing Advice from my dog - Monday, December 01, 2008
• Characters with meaty hands. (Or, why every writer needs an editor.) - Monday, October 20, 2008
• We all grow up with the weight of history on us... - Thursday, October 02, 2008
• You are just one click away from a very entertaining guest blog at Literary Feline - Tuesday, September 09, 2008
• Can I trust you with this information? (Or, faux SPAM) - Thursday, September 04, 2008
• Join me for a compelling panel discussion and booksigning - Tuesday, August 05, 2008
• Dunh. Duh! CSI Barbie - Monday, July 28, 2008
• The Week in Writing - Friday, July 25, 2008
• The UnSuggester - Friday, July 11, 2008
• Is your destiny written in your DNA? - Wednesday, July 09, 2008
• What a writer really wants.... - Friday, June 27, 2008
• Read an excerpt of JANEOLOGY - Tuesday, June 24, 2008
• Uh, no thanks. I already have a book. - What? - Wednesday, June 04, 2008
• Office Space meets Cinderella = CORPORELLA - Monday, June 02, 2008
• Mother of 2 weighs in on sensitive issues behind Janeology - Wednesday, May 21, 2008
•  Careful. You might end up in my novel. - Monday, May 12, 2008  
• My daughter's Mother's Day card says... - Thursday, May 08, 2008
• Does the Page 69 Test Really Work? - Sunday, May 04, 2008
• Who is Jane and what did she do? - Monday, April 21, 2008
• JANEOLOGY - GENEALOGY - Wednesday, April 16, 2008
• Real Family Trees - Monday, April 14, 2008
• 5 Sentences I Wish I'd Written - Friday, April 11, 2008
• Out on a limb with JANEOLOGY - Monday, April 07, 2008
• Legally Stalk An Author - Tuesday, April 01, 2008
• The Night Before Publication - Monday, March 31, 2008
• Some Authory Stuff - Friday, March 28, 2008
• One Week to Publication (Or, I'm slightly giddy!) - Monday, March 24, 2008
• Doing the Snoopy Dance - Thursday, March 20, 2008
• Knowing Characters From Their Marrow - Monday, March 17, 2008
• Who Do You Think You Are - Friday, March 14, 2008
• Beautiful Weather/Bad News - Wednesday, March 12, 2008
• I'm Karen Harrington, candidate for readership, and I approved this message - Monday, March 10, 2008
• Dogs Impressed By Author Interview - Thursday, March 06, 2008
• 29 Days and counting to publication - Wednesday, March 05, 2008
• T Minus 30 Days Until Publication - Tuesday, March 04, 2008

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