Creating a Compelling Plot

Creating a Compelling Plot

The best way to create a compelling plot is to create a compelling character with a goal to achieve, and then make him do the last thing on Earth he wants to do to achieve that goal. *

* I am going through some old papers, many of them from when I was trying to turn myself into a writer. I came across this quote on plot that I think is fantastic. I have no idea where it’s from, so please let me know if you are aware of the source.

Eulogy for my Dad

Eulogy for my Dad

Dear Dad

I’d like to first take a moment to thank all the family and friends…and left-handed people for coming today to honor my Dad, Stephen Liadis.

What can you say about my Dad? There are so many things really. Let’s start with what you would call him because that defines him as much as anything. To a select few of us he is Dad, or Hubby, or Papou or Father-in-Law. To others he was “Steffer” or coach, or Mr. Liadis. For a very brief period of time I hear he was even called Suzy. But to all of us he was “friend”.

What I’ve heard mentioned most in the past few days is his smile. I was always a little jealous that he had such a great smile in pictures. Meanwhile when I try to smile for pictures it comes across more like I just farted or something. But it was easy for him because smiling was just his natural state. I realize this now.

We played so many games of 1-on-1 basketball together, spent so many hours playing catch in the road in front of the house or in the backyard, traveled to so many baseball card conventions and visited so many baseball card shops. Current days he sat beside me at church, sat (or stood) beside me at the kids’ soccer matches, and sat beside me at family dinners. We even coached a U8 soccer team together a few years ago. We spend so much time together, yet it doesn’t feel like enough. I want more.

Ok, I promise I’ll be done soon. I just wanted to tell a few of my favorite Dad stories. I promise these are all true.

  • One time he was coaching Christa’s youth basketball team. He wore his running shoes and I guess they had too much traction and they wound up causing him to severely dislocate his ankle. It was so bad that the doctor’s had to pass around a “manual” to determine how to fix it. But what sticks out to me was when we saw him after surgery and he was still woozy and he had this huge smile on his face and he said “my eyebrows feel heavy”.
  • We took the 3 hour drive to Pittsburgh together the three times in the 90s the Pirates made the playoffs. Yes there was a time when the Pirates made the playoffs. I remember on the way home him blasting the radio, AC, and rolling down the windows to stay awake. I had to stay awake to “watch for deer”.
  • My Dad was a very faithful Christian but still my Dad. He used to whisper various “inventions” to us at times. His big one was flavored communion wafers. BBQ and Cool Ranch were to of his best ones. I think this could’ve caught on. His other invention was “edible Velcro” to keep those top most fruits in the fruit cups that the church sold at Houtzdale days.
  • As I said earlier we used to drive on Saturdays to the Comic Swap which is located in downtown State College. One time we went during a home football game. He had on his Mo Valley baseball cap he got from coaching. It was yellow/gold with a big “M” on the front. Some guy, probably drunk, got on his case for being a Michigan fan. I’m pretty sure Dad just laughed, which was his most used defense mechanism.
  • He jogged most of my life. In Summers he would go out jogging and I’d ride my bike along with him.  Back then his go-to running gear were plain gray t-shirts. He didn’t want some big fancy logo on there and give Nike or somebody free advertising.
  • Say a little prayer, or give your business to Rapid Transit, the local shoe shop where he got his shoes. He got a lot of shoes there. But he wore every one of them.
  • One final one. We had a bat in the house one time. Mom wasn’t home (this is a KEY detail in the story). We didn’t know what to do. And so in July, with no central air in the house, my Dad and I put on our winter coats and gloves, him a hat, me an old football helmet, and went to battle armed with a tennis racket and nerf football. No bats were harmed (at least not fatally) in the making of this memory.

In conclusion thank you all for being here for all of us. If I could ask one more thing of you it would be to continue to tell stories about my Dad. Even now when it hurts to tell the story and even later when it hurts slightly less. Keep his memory alive. And this one is for me, don’t forget to smile.

Life: An Advent Ghosts 2021 Story

Life: An Advent Ghosts 2021 Story

The following is part of a “shared storytelling event” over at I Saw Lightning Fall , Advents Ghosts 2021. We were tasked to write a scary story of exactly 100 words in length. I don’t know how much this counts as a “story” but this is my attempt at an entry.

Life

Death is the enemy we battle against our entire lives, a race that won’t be won.

When we are young, Death is the unthinkable. We are unstoppable.

“Death is not for me”, we tell ourselves. “I’m special.”

We age. Death becomes the word unspoken, as if naming it will give it power. People we love start to “pass away”.

Time moves on for the fortunate. Love is experienced, love is lost. The world speeds up. We slow down.

Death becomes less an enemy and more an expected if not entirely bless-ed friend.

Solitary immortality, now that would be a curse.

Ghosts (A 100 Word Story)

Ghosts (A 100 Word Story)

The following is part of a “shared storytelling event” over at I Saw Lightning Fall . We were tasked to write a scary story of exactly 100 words in length. This is my attempt.

Ghosts

It’s the feeling on the back of your neck when you’re alone in a darkened room. Are you really alone?

The voice in the back of your mind. Did you leave on the stove?

The prickle at your ear. Are they laughing about you?

The drive through the rural forest on a cold autumn night, the trees branches casting their shadows in your rear view. Do they not resemble long skeletal fingers reaching for you?

That headache you’ve nightly endured these past many months. Didn’t your favorite aunt have brain cancer?

Ghosts are real my friend. Oh yes they are.

Why Venus Makes More Sense Than Mars

Why Venus Makes More Sense Than Mars

I came across this article a few weeks ago and highly recommend it. It makes the case for Venus rather than Mars being the place humans should look to at least temporarily colonize. Yes we would have to live up above the clouds and never actually be exposed to the Venus air, but that is basically what we would have to do on Mars as well, just on the ground.

Anyway, it is worth a read. Personally, I don’t think I’d be first in line to move to either place.

Screw the Mars hype. Here’s why we should move to Venus. Annalee Newitz

Source: Screw the Mars hype. Here’s why we should move to Venus. – The Hypothesis