Tuesday, April 20, 2010

When writing goes to the dogs...er...cats

My Writing GIAM pal Sylvia Rochester had a wee bit of an invasion last week. But don't worry, all's well that ends well. To top it off she transitioned it into a topic for Five Scribe's. Isn't she clever? Hope you enjoy. ~ Donnell

After weeks of anticipation and snooping, I discovered where my stray cat chose to have her kittens--in my boat. Not just in the boat, but under the console and down a hole that feeds the wires to the dash. The litter had squirmed through the four-inch opening and into the area between the floor and the outer hull.

What now? As someone who lives on a bayou, I had a fishing trip planned, and it did not include stowaways. How was I going to get these adorable, unexpected invaders out without hurting them? Ah, conflict, I thought. Solution: put the mama in the boat to lure the kittens from their hiding place.

"Gotcha," I said, picking up the first one to venture out of seclusion.

"Whoa, Nellie! That hissing, biting, scratching fur ball lit into me with needle sharp teeth and claws. I never realized external conflict could be so painful. But if I wanted to accomplish my goal, I couldn't turn loose.

Can't say I blamed the little fellow. A giant monster had descended upon him. After this first capture, I treated my battle scars and proceeded with great trepidation to face the remaining enemy. Fearing another vicious attack, I, now dubbed Goliath, came prepared with a pair of garden gloves.

I crept beside the boat with stealth, snared the two holdouts one by one, and locked them all in a carrying cage. Three gray tabbies and one solid gray kitten huddled together. Sure they were frightened, but no doubt planning revenge. One look at their wild eyes, and WACO popped into my mind. Some say the letters W-A-C-O have a certain meaning, and that meaning was written all over their faces --WE AIN'T COMING OUT!


I gloated. I had overcome major conflict, and my goal was in sight. I had only to take away their
hiding place, and their mama would move them. Grabbing the necessary materials, I quickly sealed off the console. No way could they get past my cardboard and masking tape barrier. Smug in my accomplishment, I placed the carrier in the bottom of the boat and opened the door.

Crap! Two kittens weaseled beneath the shield, and the third soon followed. What I thought was an indestructible solution, proved no match for a ragtag bunch of kittens. They found one tiny flaw and made shambles out of my handiwork. I would either have to revise what I constructed or think of an alternative.That's when it hit me. The same applies to writing. Just because you want a plot to work doesn't mean it will. The incident with the kittens made me scrutinize my work in progress. How about you? Will your conflict and resolution hold up against all odds? Or will some tiny, overlooked assumption be your undoing?

Award-winning Sylvia Rochester is both an artist and an author. Check out her web page at www.sylviarochester.com or www.myspace.com/sylviarochester.


32 comments:

magolla said...

Love the pics, Sylvia! I can just see the scene in a book as the hero tries to 'rescue' kittens for the heroine only to have them blow him a raspberrry!

ArkansasCyndi said...

what beautiful kittens. I wish I could take one.

great story

Sylvia said...

Donnell, thanks for letting me share my adventure, or should I say misadventure. The following day, the mama moved the kittens under the house. They'll sneak out onto the porch, but flee when Goliath appears. At least they're safe. Any one for kittens?

Sylvia said...

Magolla, maybe their hissing sound really was a raspberry. Thanks for visiting.

ArkansasCyndi, I'd love to give all of the litter. Comming this way any time soon?

Heidi Cautrell said...

I loved this, Sylvia. It's so much fun to read about how such a simple, everyday thing, can be turned into a lesson on writing.

I hope you finally found a way to keep those kittens out? :)

Edie Ramer said...

Love the pictures. The kitties are adorable.

Sylvia said...

Heidi, thanks for stopping by. Sometimes we overlook the simple, day-to-day happenings when actually everything we do in life is an adventure and a story.

Edie, thanks for your comments. Want one?

Jo said...

Loved it! And no, I don't want a kitten ... my current feline would seriously resent the intrusion on her territory! :)

Liz Lipperman said...

What a wonderful distraction to take you away from your writing, then pull you right back in with an "ah ha!" moment.

I loved the comparison to a foiled plot. The kitties are absolutely adorable. And no, I don't want any!!

Great blog, Sylvia. You should paint them!

Donnell said...

Sylvia, darn it, it's not working. Nobody wants a kitty ;) Look how CUTE they are, everybody!

Sylvia said...

Jo, I understand, but do you know anyone around you who might want one? I feed three strays, two inside cats, 50 mallards, and countless birds. The feed bill for the critters is cutting big time into my grocery allowance.

Sylvia said...

Liz, thanks for commenting, especially since you have a deadline looming. Go, girl, and finish those last two chapters. I can't wait to read what will surely be a Best Seller.

Sylvia said...

Donnell, my problem is that I don't live close to any of my writer friends. I can't even sneak one over to them, not that would. Hee-Hee.

Sandra De Lorenzo Bonaldi said...

What a cute little story. And the moral of the story, superb.

Cathy said...

knowing of your past with the PC, I had to read, thought it could be some left behind adventure, glad it was only kittens - great story!
Would love to take them off your hands but too many allergies - cats are amazing and amusing to watch and very clever. Wonder if that's were the term "catty woman" comes from? Enjoy your fishing!
Cathy

Kathy said...

Oh what a cute story and how perfect to turnit intoa writing lesson. I am undergoing a thing with my writing. I have a heroine and I then I had her do a couple of things that made no sense AFTER I slept on them lol.

Sylvia said...

Sanda, this incident, like some of my first drafts. didn't work out the way I planned. Nevertheless, I'm looking for a happy ending.

Sylvia said...

Welcome, Cathy. I hoped my email to my personal contacts saying I was blogging about my wild animal attack would do just that--trigger the image of Peace Corps and Africa. Hey, you have to do something to lure visitors.

I wish Google made it easier to comment. I have friends who have contacted me and can't get Google to accept their comments.

Sylvia said...

Kathy, I'm glad you enjoyed the article. Sleeping on a problem is a good idea. I often resolve issues just that way.

Victoria Dixon said...

Love the pics! So what happened with the cats? Any takers? They're adorable and one of my dogs would happily play with them. The other one would eat them. :(

And yep, I have been in the scenario you describe - writing-wise, not cats. ;D

Sylvia said...

Hi, Victoria, guess your dog would see them as Kitten a la Mode. No, No, couldn't have that. Thanks for visiting.

VR Barkowski said...

They're so cute! Had I not adopted two kitties this month... Let's just say, if I bring home any more, my dog is planning to hire a contract killer.

Sylvia said...

VR, I know what you mean. I can't handle any more strays. Of course, if they ignite a story, I might have to reconsider.

Donnell said...

Viva: There comes a time when you have to take the checkbook away from the puppy! Sheesh... hire a contract killer indeed! ;)

Melanie said...

So cute...and yes, I definitely see the tie to writing. I've run into a plot snafu with one of my WIPs and had to put it aside for awhile and work on something else as I mull it over.

Sylvia said...

Melanie, I know you're a cat lover. Are you sure you don't want one? I can't imagine you getting stuck on anything. Seems like every time I turn around, you have another release.

Mary Marvella said...

Loved hearing about your wild cat adventure again, Sylvia, big game hunter. (snicker)

Flavia said...

Sylvia,so there really are "tigers" on the bayou. Adorable kittens and an adorable story! What a clever way to teach writing. Thanks for sharing your talents.

Sylvia said...

Mary, it's a back yard safari. You're right about the wild part. I won't try picking them up again. They'll have to come to me.

Sylvia said...

Flavia, I never thought about that. LSU's Mike the Tiger might object to the comparison though. Nevertheless, they did ignite my imagination.

Sylvia said...

Donnell, thanks for having me. It's been great fun.

Donnell said...

I loved having you, Sylvia. You're da bomb!