Friday, December 30, 2016

Assignment: Murder

As any one knows when you begin a book, any book, you have to consider everything that happens in the book--even if it is fantasy--if the things that happen are plausible.

In a murder mystery you've gotta go the extra mile. It's pretty much why I avoided writing mysteries, even though those are my favorite books (along with John Grisham, I enjoy Sue Grrafton, Tami Hoag, and a few others--including the "Murder She Wrote" books by Donald Bain), to read. And it's why I put a mystery in every book I've ever written.

Here are my notes from 9-4-16 on my thoughts on how to have a person appear to have hung himself (suicide). But it's really murder.

Oh, and if you intend on reading the second novel this is a spoiler alert.

...I was having trouble with how the man would be hung in his office. I mean where could the rope (or whatever used) would be hung from? It has to be solid [enough to hold a man's weight]

Side note: {Changed to a bathroom]

Then I thought about a woman who hung herself in the women's john from the frame over the door. 
So, I may have to rewrite this. {which I did]

inside women's john, see upright cross section
sorry this is a poor picture
Above is picture of the very stall in which a  woman hung herself (true story, happened over a year ago) at NIU student center. I learned about it through a friend who is a janitor there. I was actually in the bathroom when this woman was setting up to do herself in. I saw she had a chair in there, and unfortunately I was in a hurry to get back down to my bus to keep it on time, so I didn't think too much about it, just thought it weird she had a chair in there.

Back to Notes:
So, okay, I've named this character Blake [I've named him Ellwood Blake], who walks into the men's lavatory & finds this teacher hung himself ... {here I've had him take a picture, but later on I decide he is recording himself on his cell phone working on a novel he's writing for a class, and he takes a whole video of the body bottom to top, which Lainey later views and comes to the conclusion he didn't commit suicide}

My notes continue from here, but I've changed everything, so I won't include them here. 

However, I've taken pictures of various parts of the Student Center, if only to help me create--in my head--how this small college would look like inside, and certain Modus operandi as well.

Above is a hallway with a number of doors, it's a moderately long hallway and turns right at the end and continues.

Here is a small classroom.

Obviously, this bathroom had to be off in a remote part of the college. I put it down in a subbasement where no one ever goes, except maybe the janitor on occasion. Beyond the hallway are the locker rooms for sports teams.

By the way, the murders all happen off the page. My murder mysteries are "cozy" type where the more grisly or ghastly scenes are kept off screen, as it were. It's a YA type of book, and I wanted that any age could read it.

To continue with the murder:

Background: The teacher's wife,Carol Taylor, was in charge of the bursar's office (of small college), and finds that funds are way low from what she knew them to be when a large check has bounced. She is fired by the president, Mr. Smith, claiming she was the one embezzling. Her husband is Chad Taylor, English teacher, teaches creative writing class in which Lainey Quilholt is student.

The next day, after Carol's dismissal, Smith goes to the Taylor's home, hoping to get them together, but unfortunately only the wife is there. He gains entry, smoothly saying he's thought things over and wants to apologize. But when she's let him in under these pretenses, he shoots her--but not after learning that Mr. Taylor has gone to the school early. Thus he has to figure out how to kill him. But he can't use a gun. It would make too much noise, and to make it look like suicide, he'd have to shoot him in the head. No. he figures out a different way.

Luring Mr.Taylor away from his office to come and talk to him in his office gets him into the elevator. Cleverly, he's got the cart (below) inside the elevator, ready. He'd make some excuse like "Janitor must have left it here." He somehow gets behind Mr. Taylor and strangles him with a bit of cord. (I have not figured out where this has come from as yet.)

Once Taylor has been snuffed out, he angles his body onto this cart, presses G for Ground Floor, and rolls the man's body to the men's john, and hangs him up in the stall to make it look like suicide.

Mr. Smith is a very obese man, but is able to carry this murder out easily enough, I think. 

I've gotten past page 50, and the two murders--at this point it's considered a murder/suicide by police--have been discovered, using the whole embezzling thing is motive behind Mr Taylor killing his wife, and hanging himself. But Lainey will find clues, pester Sheriff John Weeks (who has since first book has married her aunt), to look further into this, especially since a number of anomalies and discrepancies have surfaced. Lainey will already know who has murdered them, but has to figure out why, and how he got away with it, and then trap him into confessing.

How far do you go to figure out the legitimacy of the things you write? Or how, physically, they could be done? Do you find places, things, objects and take pictures to help you create your story?

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

In Writing Cave

Hey, guys. I'm in my writing cave. I won't be doing much on social media, so if you've even noticed I'm not around, that's why.

Thought I'd give you some funny headlines today. Really, some of these editors should think about what they use for headlines before it goes to print. So, here you go. Have a laugh on them!









Weren't these fun?
Hope you all have a good week.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Happy Birthday, Ludwig!

"Don't only practice your art, but force your way into its secrets."

You probably think this came from some well known writer.
It didn't. I'll let you guess.
Time's up. Ludwig van Beethoven.

I have to tell you first off, today I finished my first ever murder mystery. Sent it off to my publisher, and work on the next one has been put on the front burner. Without the music of this master, I don't think my afternoons would be quite so enjoyable! Keeping me pushing on to get it done. Thanks, Ludwig!

Obsession is a funny thing. I find myself obsessed about something, or someone famous. If I find them, or it, particularly fascinating, I have to look at every aspect about them. Their history, and whatever they've accomplished.

I've always loved classical music. I guess it comes from when I was small and too fussy to go to bed, my father would carry me around the dining room with the record player going--Mozart playing in the background. So, it goes to figure I have this deep connection with classical music. I was a strange teenager, listening to Beethoven's symphonies--all 9 of them--on the record player. Not that I didn't get into the Beatles when they came along.

Beethoven more than any other composer grips me. No matter what he has written. I'd like to just go on and on about him here, but it would probably bore most of you. And, even if you are at this point uninterested, you should at least listen to some of his music, beyond the ones you know. He wrote so much! Some of it impossible to even attempt by an amateur pianist.
Ludwig van Beethoven
Born December 16th 1770
Died 1827
Beethoven, as most know, is a German composer, born in Bonn. His grandfather was also named Ludwig and was a court musician. His father was more of a drunk than anything who often beat his son during piano and violin lessons. Hopes were that the child, Ludwig would carry on the family name and that he would become another Mozart. But where Mozart was a child prodigy, Beethoven became a virtuoso. For Mozart, creating music as a mere child was, well, child's play. If you ever listen to either composer, you can see the difference. At least I can.

Many of Beethoven's compositions on the piano are so well known you can't be in this world and not know the beautiful Moonlight Sonata, or Fur Elies. I taught myself on piano (not well) how to play both of these from sheet music. The second movements are not easy by any means. But Beethoven was driven.
Remember the quote from above? Beethoven said that about his craft. He taught others how to play the piano. He composed volumes of music. He was both a classicist and a romanticist, but transcends both -- "his compositions are the expression of one of the most powerful musical personalities of all time.

To me the power of his works are found more in The Pathetique Sonata Op. 13. and then there is The Sonata No. 21  I love watching David Barenboim play these pieces. You can find more, much more!

Of course everyone knows the famous 5th and 9th Symphonies. But he wrote so much more, as you've seen above.

The first symphony was considered "the last symphony of the passing era rather than the 1st of the new". He hadn't yet had the impulse to break loose of the old style. But when he did, oh boy! He did it with passion and majesty.

Eroica his #3 symphony shows where his music stepped away from the norm. Eroica means "hero". But it wasn't the original title He had originally written it for Bonaparte. He had thought Napoleon Bonaparte would honor his promises and give people in France democracy and all they wanted. Well, it isn't the first time a leader lied just to get to power. When Beethoven heard that Bonaparte had made himself emperor, Beethoven destroyed the title page. That's how it came to be known as Eroica. The powerful first movement sounds like a battle. It's amazing what one can do with music. The second movement was said to nearly bring people to tears because it sounds like a funeral procession. Over all, the piece was quite the most exhaustive piece anyone would ever have hoped to perform, pushing the instruments of the time to the point of, well, unable to bear up to the whole thing.

Here is a BBC movie about Beethoven presenting it to the prince, his patron. Beethoven's Eroica. I thought it was well done, and shows you the instruments they used back then, and even a little glimpse in to the romance he was striving for with a woman of nobility and why she couldn't, or wouldn't commit to him. Beethoven never married, but not for the lack of trying. His famous love letters composed to an unknown woman shows his romantic side.

 Even at the point of finishing this third symphony, Beethoven was going deaf. Nearly no one knew this. He didn't want anyone to know. He didn't want to be treated differently, thus people though he was moody, or down right rude. His doctors told him there was no cure. He told them he would "take fate by the throat." No wonder many of his pieces were loud. By the time he'd finished the 9th Symphony he was completely deaf and didn't hear the audience's response to it and his players had to tell him to turn around to see the overwhelming response.

Back to Symphony No. 3. It was also much longer than anything anyone had ever written, much longer than a Hayden, and he is shown sitting in at the rehearsal of #3 in the movie.

As I've said I could go on and on about Beethoven. Let me leave you with the Triple Concierto y Fantasia Coral with Yo-Yo Ma, Perlman and Barenboim. The Coral is similar to the 9th Symphony Coral, only not quite with all the gusto and beauty.

Overall, Beethoven championed liberty in his music, and it is noticeable.

If you listen to any classical station, switch it on today. You might find they are playing music of this fascinating composer.

Happy 246th Birthday,
Ludwig van Beethoven!