Monday, January 18, 2010

Hoax or Not: You Be the Judge

Pamela Tracy here, and I've been writing suspense too long. Nope, say it isn't so!!! My friends and family pretty much have stopped sending me email jokes, stories, cartoons, and such because they know I don't read them. When my boss sends me something, I do read it. He's my boss. So, last week he sends me an email titled "So you think you had a bad day?"
There were seven bad day stories, none of which made me blink, and then I came to the final story which I've posted here. I read it; I sit back; I blink, and I say hmmmmm.
Now, I've been writing suspense for over a decade. I've asked fireman about the smell of dead bodies. I've called funeral homes to ask about the lining in coffins. I've chased down a garbage man to ask about the hopper. It should be no surprise that I said, "hmmmmm." See, five days in an office... the writer in me says, "Nope, can't happen. Bad smell." I checked it out on and sure enough HOAX.
Ironically, that night I attended a workshop given by a homicide detective. I asked him if the above scenario was possible. Keep in mind. I'm in Arizona: the land of burn. I wore sunglasses today. The summer I moved here temperatures reached 122.
He said, "Tell me about the air conditioning in the office?"
Ah, exactly what a suspense writer wants to hear.
So, what do you think? Given the right degree of air conditioning, could the hoax turn into a plot for a suspense novel?


Barbara Phinney said...

I think anything, hoax or not, given the right conditions could be a part of a good plot. We just have to remember, real life doesn't always make sense, but fiction must.
Barbara Phinney

PamelaTracy said...

You are so right. Which is why I was sitting there thinking, "Hmmmm."

EllenToo said...

I would agree with Barbara but I have a thought ~~ why does fiction have to make sense??? If real life doesn't neither should fiction. But yes I know it does.

PamelaTracy said...

That's exactly what I needed to hear today. My critique group just finished looking over my newest synopsis and I got this comment "coincidense' over and over. Just think about how much suspense occurrs because a person is in the wrong place at the wrong time. Ack

Dana Mentink said...

If the characters were compelling enough, I'd go with it. If the characters were flat and uninteresting, they won't carry any kind of plot, realistic or otherwise.

Project Journal said...

Exactly! It doesn't have to make sense...that's one thing that's so cool about fiction!

I don't know if you've seen The Truman Show, but I'm working on writing my english essay on it right now and pondering that exact question right now. Funny you should post about this!

PamelaTracy said...

I think that's what kept me reading Stephanie Plum. Characterization.

PamelaTracy said...

I really liked The Truman Show. I always wanted to dissect his wife. There's conflict. To him it was a marriage: to her it was a 9-5 job.

Project Journal said...

Oh my goodness there were definitely some conflicts there! I'm sorry, but the whole, "I get paid an extra $10,000 every time I sleep with him because we're trying for a baby" thing really gets me : / The movie has issues, but overall is really thought provoking!

PamelaTracy said...

And see, I didn't even remember that part. My favorite part, albeit simple, was when he noticed the same cars going round and round. I'm a big fan of Adam 12. My husband and I watch the reruns, and there's always an off white Volkswagen bug somewhere on the street. hehehehe

Edna said...

you know the way the goverment is today, I have heard on the news where people are declared dead and they are still alive. They said it is very hard to prove you are still alive after this is done. Oh well looks to me if they see you standing there and talking something would click that maybe you are not dead. This would be a great book plot.


PamelaTracy said...

You are soooooo right. Hmmm. So, are you going to write that one?

Project Journal said...

That part was SO funny!! It was really cool : )

I really love his line...."And in case I don't see you, good afternoon, good evening, and good night!" It's just such a great line, I think.

Edna, you should totally write that book! If not, let Pam write it : )

By the way, do you mind me calling you 'Pam'? I never asked you, I just kinda picked it up....lemme know!

PamelaTracy said...

Well, Edna, you want to write it?

And, I'm good with Pam. It's what most people call me although I always introduce myself as Pamela.

Project Journal said...

Okay that's good : )

I always introduce myself as Hannah and people call me....Hannah....hmmmmm...this system seems flawed!