Saturday, June 28, 2008

WHAT HAPPENED TO THE TURN SIGNALS?

by Suzanne Welsh
Have you ever been riding along, minding your own business when someone jumps from the right or left lane directly in front of you without any kind of warning? Their inconsiderate, spontaneous action forces you to make a decision, hopefully quick enough to prevent the crunch of metal on metal and the deployment of airbags. The biggest aggravation is they do it without issuing a turn signal. That tiny little piece of their car that takes one or two seconds to activate. Just poof, they jump lanes and God forbid you're having a conversation with your wayward characters and miss their lane change.

Just this week this happened to me on the thirty minute drive to work. Since I work twelve-hour nights, my commute to the hospital takes place during the evening rush hour when people are trying to get home to dinner or take the kids to soccer/baseball/basketball games. This particular day three people jumped in front of me on one trip alone. (Ergo the blog idea.) None of them used their turn-signals. I could blame it on them being teenagers, but they weren't. Maybe they were on their cell phones? Didn't look like it. Perhaps the kids were fighting in the back seat? Nope. No kids in two of the cars. Maybe their signals were broken? Possibly, but not very likely. It simply happened and I had to deal with it.

There's a line from one of my favorite movies, While You Were Sleeping, that stuck with me long after the movie's HEA. Peter Boyle plays Ox Callahan, the patriarch of the family Lucy (Sandra Bullock) falls in love with. (The family, not Ox.) It's a quiet Sunday morning and Ox is reading the morning obituaries because he's an estate buyer, a company he runs with his son Jack, (Bill Pullman). Jack brings him a box of illegal donuts not allowed on his low fat diet. Ox, says "You know, sometimes life is good. Everyone's healthy, everyone's happy, things are running smoothly." That's when Jack pulls a left turn and says, "Pop, this isn't one of those times." We know Jack's unhappy helping with the business and wants to build beautiful hand-crafted furniture instead. But poor Ox is clueless until this moment. No turn signal. (Although I think those donuts might've been Jack's turn signal for his dad.)

That's how life is. You're going along minding your own business and poof, some drama happens. A son gets engaged, a daughter says, "I'm pregnant", the dog breaks his leg, you're offered a new job you didn't know you wanted much less needed. You have your Ox Callahan moment. Your course is now changed. You must make adjustments in your speed or use your skills to maneuver around the obstacles.

Writing is like that, too. At least for me. I've got my inciting incident, my characters are fully formed in my mind, or starting to gel quite nicely. The plot is taking shape out of that gray foggy mist I call plot-land. The letters and words are flying onto the pages, and poof, the heroine pulls a gun on the hero and says, "Get me the hell out of here." Okkkkkkkaaaaaaay... Never saw that one coming. Or the heroine is riding along tied to the pommel of her horse and poof, a cougar jumps from a cliff onto her and her mare. Yep, didn't see that one coming. Or the hero is minding his own business driving the sheriff's car around town and poof, finds a woman standing on a car riffling through the bank's trash dumpster. Okay, maybe I saw that coming, but he didn't.

Even without those signals that a change is coming, life and writing's surprises can be rewarding. The son married a lovely young lady. Daughter gave me a beautiful granddaughter to enjoy. Dog made great photography with the lampshade on his head. Job turned out to be great fun and more money. The heroine with the gun? She was complex and dear to my heart. The heroine attacked by cougar, has great fortitude. The sheriff? Sexy, funny and worth the heroine's love.

So dear readers, have you ever had one of those no-turn-signal moments in your life? Or if you're a writer, in your story? Did it turn out worse or better than you imagined?

60 comments:

Gannon Carr said...

Should I say "Cock-a-doodle-do"?!

Gannon Carr said...

I do believe the Golden Rooster will enjoy a little North Carolina mountain air. I vow to take good care of him--maybe a little pampering is in order after his demo training with p226. :)

I'll give the GR a hot toddy and then it's nighty-night.

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Gannon, congratulations on the chook! I think you should say "cock-a-doodle-do!"

Suz, what a great post. Ain't that true about life? It's happened to me a few times, so often, in fact, that I've learnt to distrust those times when everything seems to be pottering along in the right lane. Happens with my writing all the time. To give you an example, Matthew in Untouched was meant to be a cranky ultra-alpha. I mean, come on - he had every right to be as mean as a junkyard dog. But, nuh, he turned up on the page a sweetie and he stayed that way. I tried to change him and then the book just stopped moving forward. They're stubborn these characters, sometimes! So eventually I gave him his way. You wouldn't believe how many people have told me how much they love him, for his sweetness and his honor and his gentleness. So I think sometimes our instincts, at least with writing, are right to change lanes without hitting the indicator!

flchen1 said...

Woo! Congrats on the GR, Gannon! I guess the GR experiences a fair number of no-turn signal moments ;)

Suz, that was definitely a terrific post! I do think that life's full of no-turn signal moments, and sometimes it works best to somehow try to roll with it. It seems to happen all the time now that we've got kids--or maybe it just seems that way because I'm getting old and cranky? ;)

Donna MacMeans said...

Great Post Suz!
I don't recommend it for the highway, but those left turns are what keep life & books exciting.

I had one of those this evening. I was writing a transitional paragraph. The purpose was mainly to indicate the passage of time. It ended up to be a big sex scene -who knew?

Gotta love those left turns *g*

Helen said...

Well done gannon I too think he will enjoy some pampering have fun with him

Great post Suzanne how true it is life certainly is full of twists and turns some sharper than others but we learn to cope some make us stronger people I think.
There have been many in my life in 1994 hubby was diognosed with bowel cancer he was 39 after a big operation and 6 months of kemo and radiation therapy he finally got back to work only to be made redundant the year after. Double turn in our lives he couldn't get another job and is now unable to work I worked hard at my job studied and got a promotion and have an excellent job he stayed at home and became the house husband. Everything changed but you do what has to be done and I am sure this has all made me a stronger person.

Donna I am really looking forward to reading that scene sounds good, Anna I too loved Matthew because of the caring sensual person he is and I am glad he made that turn.
BTW Jeanne I started Dark and Dangerous today and am loving it got me hooked right from the start.

Thanks for a great post Suzanne
Have Fun
Helen

Amy Andrews said...

Great post Suze and can I just say hugs on the 12hr night duty. Ugh! They really never get an easier.

I'm with the general consensus - in writing no-turn turns are to be followed at all costs. In real life however it may take a long time before the purpose of those turns to become evident :-(

LOL Donna. Nothing like sex to pass some time ;-)

PJ said...

Hey Gannon, congrats on nabbing the GR! This is his first time going home with you, isn't it?

PJ said...

No-signal turns in life are energizing and exciting. No signal turns on the highway, not so much.

I'm going MIA for the next week. I'll be lazing at the beach with a stash of fabulous romances, some written by our amazing banditas, and no internet. Hope y'all have a fun week. For the U.S. folks, have a safe and fun-filled 4th of July holiday! Hugs...

Suzanne Welsh said...

Good morning Gannon and congrats on snagging the GR!

Suzanne Welsh said...

Hey Anna! Good to see you this morning.

People think I'm strange when I tell them I had one idea for my character, but he/she didn't like it. Usually, if I try to force it to go the way I want it, the story stops dead in its tracks. Once I give up the driver's seat to the characters and let them have their lead, things start running smoothly again.

Suzanne Welsh said...

Hey Fedora!! I so understand the kids throwing a wrench in the machinery of life. When they're small the slightest bump or fever can change your plans. The older they get, the more they take over the reins of our journey through life. Then one day they're out the door and we have to figure out what to do with our time!

Suzanne Welsh said...

Hey Donna!

A transitional scene that turned into a love scene? How cool is that? I bet you either have very happy or very frustrated characters right now.

The only thing better is a dead body drops into that transitional scene. Both keep the tension going and the reader turning pages!

Suzanne Welsh said...

Oh helen, I hate those kinds of left-turns. That happened to my parents. My dad fell about 26 feet on a construction job, shattered his elbow and permanently seperated his sacrum. Both of which had him collecting partial disability for the last 10 years of his working years before retirement. He became sort of the Mr. Houseman, while Mom continued working as a nurse. He was a union plumber so money wasn't a huge issue, but still they had a major reversal of roles, which actually worked out well for them. Hopefully it has you and your hubby too!

Suzanne Welsh said...

Hey Amy! Life's no-turn signal turns are more difficult to trust in, except the older we get, the easier it is to think, there may be a reason for this happening, and we learn a bit more patience.

Writing...well if the left turn doesn't work out, I can always cut and paste back in the stuff that got left out!

Suzanne Welsh said...

WOW PJ! I am big time envious!! A vacation, at the beach, with books....Can I come too?

Sighs...no vacation for me until San Francisco. But hopefully it will be a grand week of fun and not too many left turns!

Buffie said...

wOOt Gannon!!!!! Great snag!

PJ, enjoy your relaxing vacation. Just like Suzanne, I wish I was going too!

Suzanne, I live in the Atlanta area so there are thousands of people here who never use a turn signal. It drives me bonkers!!! I call it flashing. And I think everybody should be a flasher!

Donna MacMeans said...

Suz - well, if my characters had their way, they'd be very happy right now - but today I'll edit that scene and they'll be very frustrated once again - esp. the hero - he deserves a little torturing for what he did in THE EDUCATION OF MRS. BRIMLEY. But letting the characters take the wheel is like magic, isn't it?

Joan said...

Driving wise there is a exit from the Watterson Expressway onto Dixie Highway with a right hand merging lane that people ASSUME they can merge WITHOUT TURN SIGNALS! Drives me nuts!

Ahem.

As to writing, my characters throw me curves all the time. Take Bran, the hero from Barbarian's Soul. He's a scarred ex-gladiator, the brother of Bryna heroine of The Patrician's Desire. In that first book Bran and Bryna finally find each other after two years of enslavement.

He takes her to his lodgings and....three children stroll into the scene.

Children? I gasped.

Yeah, a 14 yo boy, 10 yo boy and 6 yo girl.

Sure aren't Bran's. He's been a slave, a gladiator in a foreign land for two years. He was fighting to stay alive, his soul was being damanged in the task of killing to live. There's no mother to be seen. What the ????

Oh there are secrets and depths to Bran....Ones that his heroine Adria is soon to discover.

And those kids? Well, suffice to say Linus, Julian and Cyma will probably surprise me too

Gillian Layne said...

Congrats on the GR, Gannon. :)

Suzanne, what a great post! Been there, done that on the huge and very abrupt life changes. It certainly can make you a stronger person, if you can just hang on for the ride.

Your teasers are making me crazy! I'd love to read those stories. :)

Caren Crane said...

Gannon, you sly thing! You'll have a time with the GR today. I understand he was on maneuvers with P226 yesterday. Anything goes!

Buffie, I'm with you. Flashers rule! *g* Really, though, I had to call the Road Rage number this morning to report a guy in a work truck who was apparently so furious at me for using a turn signal and waiting for a lane to appear before I switched into it that he had to swing his extended cab Ford F150 at my van. Twice. At 7:45 on a Saturday morning on a deserted four-lane road! He actually hit the brakes and WAITED for me to get near him so he could do this after he had roared around me.

I'm sure he'll get nothing more than a letter from the police department, but I felt stupid calling 911 for THAT. Still, I'm sure I should have. Ah, well.

Life had lots bigger issues than that. My husband was laid off, then I was laid off. I sort of retooled and started doing different work. He started a home-based business and became Mr. Mom. He did a good job, but interestingly, money makes life a lot easier. Now I'm thrilled he is working in his field again. THRILLED!

Gannon Carr said...

Have fun relaxing on the beach, PJ! Yes, this is my first time with the GR. Does that make me a virgin?! *snort* I'm letting the GR come to work with me today--I work at a wine and cheese shop. We'll be having a wine tasting today, so I'll have to keep an eye on him and make sure he doesn't get loopy. But we do carry a wine called Le Drunk Rooster. Better not let him see it--he might get ideas!

Life without turn signals is normal for me, especially as a mom with 3 kids. Keeps me hopping. But on the road...makes me wish I had a laser to zap the "flashers" right of the road! :)

Claudia Dain said...

My writing life is enslaved to the shocking left turn out of nowhere. Like in the book I just turned in, this guy, not the hero, became the hero! I mean, this is not the guy I had in mind for this girl! What the...?

Louisa Cornell said...

Gannon is the snatch and grab queen today! Not only did she get the GR (saved him from p226's clutches! I'm sure he's grateful - the GR not p226) BUT I believe she is the same Gannon that snatched the ARC of Colleen Gleason's When Twilight Burns from me on the Eloisa James / Julia Quinn auction!!! LOL Good for you Gannon! I'll just have to wait until August to read it. It looks like they raised a lot of money and I am so glad!

Now, Suz, don't get me started on people who don't use their turn signals! In the Deep South I am convinced they are all rusted shut or the page from the driving manual was ripped out of every manual in the state! GRRRRRR! My nephew makes fun of me because I put on my turn signal for every turn, even turns where there is nowhere else for me to go!

One left turn that took me on a great adventure happened when I was 9 and sang at a school talent show. I was all set to be a writer and my 6th grade teacher told my parents I had real singing talent. The rest was history and I had a great time!



I have always been kind of left turn surprised by the good and lucky things that happen in my life. The bad things I just hang on and ride it out.

Now my characters surprise the heck out of me on a daily basis. Like when Marcus decided HE wanted to be the one FOR marriage to Addy while she was the one who would be against it. I was against it until he told me his motivation. Then I had to rework some of the beginning of my novel, but I like it!

And La Campbell, as Matthew is one of my very favorite characters ever, I am so glad you listened to him!

jo robertson said...

Suz, what a wonderful post! And isn't life just exactly like that -- a series of turns with hardly any signals at all? Great metaphor!

Gannon, I'm sure the GR will need the break after p226's intensive training. Good going!

I agree with Anna -- at least with our writing -- it's a good thing our characters don't give us signals about coming changes. I suspect we might force the round characters into square boxes they're not meant to be in. The subconscious mind is a wonderful thing, isn't it?

jo robertson said...

PJ, lucky you! Have fun lolling around at the beach. I sooo envy you. That's my favorite thing to do, but the smoke from the fires here in CA is so dense, we don't even dare go outside.

We'll miss you!

jo robertson said...

Suz and Fedora, it's so true about children being one giant roller coaster ride of no-signal turns and parents just sort of hanging on for the wild ride. But they do leave soon enough and you kind of miss those unexpected turn of events and find yourself looking for something exciting and unexpected to happen.

Esri Rose said...

Gannon, congrats on the GR! Isn't it FUN to get him?

PJ, have a wonderful trip!

Caren's crazy truck driver: That is really frightening. He sounds like a genuine nutter. You absolutely did the right thing to call 911.

I'm an auto-signaler. In fact, I've often found myself signaling as I turn from the alley into my garage. Better that than never signaling.

limecello said...

Heh. For the turn signals... life has surprised me a bit - what comes to mind is school (maybe because I just took a final yesterday) - for undergrad and professional school... I ended up going to ones I never thought I would. In fact, I was so certain I'd never go there that I made jokes about attending them. :P But the joke was on me. It's all ended up ok thus far.
As for the turn signals literally... YES - EXACTLY. Last year on Mother's Day, I was driving on the highway... and this person cut me off. I don't know if he bumped into me (I'll never know) - but I spun out on the highway- and while that was happening... the punk who cut me off just drove away. I had to pay everything out of pocket. I have terrible driving luck. And notice a lot of dangerous drivers around me.

Nancy said...

Gannon--congratulations! I hope the hot toddy bought you some quiet around dawn.

Suz, I get those no-turn-signal moments from time to time, usually with writing. They usually appear as ideas that seem to come from nowhere but are like a shot of imagination adrenaline. Mostly, they work. Not always, though. I just had to dial one of them back a little. It was a great moment for the heroine but, for romance readers, took away from the hero. I think any other genre would've been fine with it, but this one definitely wouldn't.

For me, even worse than the unpredicted lane change is the jackass who comes zooming up from behind and cuts into the lane, clearly without looking, just assuming there'll be room, when the only warning you have is the one-second sound of rushing air as s/he approaches. Oh, for a phaser on such occasions. Or a photon torpedo. Nothing lethal, just enough to make the engine die. Hmm, maybe a directed EM pulse would be better. *evil G*

Helen, it sounds as though y'all have adapted beautifully to the curves you've hit. BTW, I just finished D&D last week and found it gripping.

Amy wrote: I'm with the general consensus - in writing no-turn turns are to be followed at all costs. In real life however it may take a long time before the purpose of those turns to become evident :-( Ain't it the truth? Even the moment I had to dial back made the story better.

PJ, have a great time at the beach! I hope the weather cooperates with you.

Donna, I'm sure your characters will survive. They'll probably be ticked at you for a while, though *g* It's too bad we can't always be nice to them--but then there'd be no conflict and no story.

Joan--LOL on the children! What a great curveball.

Caren, I don't think we have a local road rage number, but we could sure use one. Glad you're okay and that you and the dh handled the work upset so well.

Claudia--I feel for you. The power of the subconscious tends to be undependable, doesn't it?

Louisa, looks like you're set to be a singer and a writer. How cool is that?

Limecello, I'm so sorry about your accident! That's just horribly unfair. I'm glad your school situation worked out, though.

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

GREAT Post, Suz!
While You Were Sleeping is one of my fave movies!

Congrats on the GR, Gannon. I think a day at the wine and cheese shop will do him a world of good. Just be sure he hasn't set any booby traps!

PJ, we will miss you! Are you sure you can't take a few of us along with you to the beach? Talk about some wild left turns! LOL!

I LURVE when my characters throw me turns without turn signals. Those are always the best kind! In traffic... GRRRRRRR! Around here we have a bumper sticker that reads: Forget world peace. Visualize using your turn signals! Of course very few people do. :-P

AC

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hey Suz, great post!

You said: The only thing better is a dead body drops into that transitional scene

Ah! I love the way you think. Grins.

As for "real" life, those left turns are sometimes really good, sometimes really hard. Sounds like the one for your parents and for Helen weren't that great.

Hey Gannon, congrats on the GR! I'm headed your way in a couple of weeks. I'm signing in Asheville at Accent on Books, so I'm looking forward to following the GR down for some mountain air.

Helen said...

PJ have a wonderful trip I wish I could be there relaxing and reading WTG

Have Fun
Helen

Suzanne Welsh said...

Sorry for my absence everyone, but today was a chapter meeting and early morning board meeting....and uh I'm Pres so I couldn't play hookie!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hey, Helen, glad you're enjoying D&D! :>

PJ, enjoy the trip!

Amy Andrews said...

Here in Oz we call them blinkers. So we have to blink when turning.

Oh and BTW - only 18 more sleeps til we leave for the US.....

Suzanne Welsh said...

Hey Buffie! I've driven through Atlanta a time or two and yep turn-signals aren't very popular there. But all big citys are like that to an extent. Seems like the busier people are, the sloppier they get with the turn signals.

Suzanne Welsh said...

hehehe Donna, characters do have to be trained like children to wait, don't they? If we let them take complete control caos would rule and they'd never learn the lessons they need to in order to find happiness!

Suzanne Welsh said...

Joanie, the big bad former gladiator has to deal with children? Not his own? Oh that should be fun! :)

And exactly how does ole Bran feel about this?

Suzanne Welsh said...

Gillian, I'd love for you to read them too. Although the one with the heroine and the cougar is well, my newest MIP! Hopefully some day they'll all hit the book shelves.

I agree the rollercoaster rides with those life changes can be hair raising, but so far each one has been worth going with the flow for!

Suzanne Welsh said...

YIKES Caren! I'd be reporting him too! It's one thing for a person to inconsiderately change lanes because their world is more important than yours, but to intentionally try to hurt someone...that's scary.

Glad you're okay!

Suzanne Welsh said...

Ooooooooooooo Claudia! A hero switch. Those are always big left turns we writers have to deal with. So, does the first guy want a heroine and story of his own?

Caren Crane said...

PJ, hope you have fun at the beach! We just returned from the beach yesterday and it was WONDERFUL! Hiking, kayaking, parasailing. Some people go to the beach to, you know, get a tan or swim. We go to do other things. Good thing my family is as odd as I am. *g*

But I'm sure YOU will actually enjoy beach-like activities like a sane person. Wear sun block!

Btw, has anyone had one of those scary screenings where they show you all the sun damage under your skin? Ack!! I want to do it, but I'm afraid of what I'll see...

Joan said...

And exactly how does ole Bran feel about this?

Well, Bran feels frustrated x 100. But guilt drives him to provide for them and he THINKS his frustration will ease when he forces the heroine to be nursemaid. She is a female after all.

I think I just heard Adria groan.

Joan said...

Ok, all day today I've been paying attention to turn signals and/or lack thereof.

Almost had a guy merge into me. He DID have his signal on, just not the common sense to check his blind spot. I shook my fist and yelled "Wait till I tell Suz!"

And Caren...glad you're ok. We had an incident of RR last week where a woman felt threatened and shot a man.

That's cool ya'll have a special phone number to call.

Suzanne Welsh said...

Louisa, did you realize you had a talent before the lady said anything or did you think everyone just went through the house singing all the time. That's what happened to me until I had my first solo (not that I sang opera or had a career singing). Seems not everyone has the need to sing! And wow, a whole singing career from it...now that's a great left turn.

Suzanne Welsh said...

Jo, do your characters give you as many left turn or no-signal moments as your seven kids did? Character no-signal events are so much easier to deal with than real life ones, huh?

Suzanne Welsh said...

Hehehe, Esri, now even I don't do that! But then, I am notorious about having my left turn signal on in the left turn only lane! :)

Suzanne Welsh said...

limecello, glad you weren't hurt in that cut-off on the highway! It's always the ones who cut us off that drive merrily on their way as if their actions have no consequences...Something I tried to teach my kids about paying attention to the road around them and driving defensively at all times.

So the schools turned out good, huh?

When I was in nursing school I always assumed I'd go into surgery since my mom was a surgical nurse and my favorite TV show was M*A*S*H. But then I saw my first baby being born.

Yep a no-signal life changing event!

Suzanne Welsh said...

Oh Nancy, I have this spot on my communte where I know someone's going to jump in front of me. The road goes from three lanes to the left lane has to turn and the other two go through. Someone always wants to jump over after they've passed this huge line of stopped cars moving to the right. I suspect they do it on purpose, and that's what drives me nuts!

Suzanne Welsh said...

Hey AC! Characters and their curve balls are soooooooooo cool.

When I was writing HUNTED, the heroine knew about guns, carried one for protection....but for the life of me I never dreamed she'd threaten the hero with it, especially since he was sort of rescuing. So when I typed the scene, I literally stopped and said. "Oh!"

Then that set up a whole problem of how to disarm her without using physical means.....dogs came into play and well....made her much more interseting!

Suzanne Welsh said...

Jeanne: I KNEW you'd like the dead body reference!! hehehe

AS for the life changing turn my parents took...well, dad got to spend time revisiting his love of woodworking, AND he took on more and more household jobs for my mom. Who knew the man liked to wash floors and vaccum?

Suzanne Welsh said...

Joanie, do NOT tell me Bran can be intimidated by a mere handfull of kids OR he plans to wimp out and leave Adria to tend them herself!! I see Adria throwing HIM another curve ball soon! :)

Anna Campbell said...

Helen, thanks for those lovely remarks!

Suz, it's weird how people who are in theory imaginary just dig their heels in and won't cooperate, isn't it? I honestly just hit a wall every time I tried to make Matthew Mr. Cranky Alpha.

PJ, envious of your holiday. Especially your forays into the TBR pile. Have a great time!

Gannon, a wine and cheese shop? Chuck out that rooster and make room for a visiting Aussie!

Thanks, La Cornell - snork!

Susan Seyfarth said...

Suz, what a great post! I remember feeling that same "wait, what?" sort of thing after my first date with my husband. I was already scheduled to move 600 miles away in six weeks, so accepting this date was kind of a wild hair. I wasn't expecting much, but heck, I didn't get asked out every day. I figured I ought to enjoy the novelty.

Then I spent the evening chatting & dancing with the man who eventually became my husband. And talk about changing lanes without a signal. I drove home feeling like I'd been hit very hard in the head & was trying to get my bearings. I kept thinking, "Wait now. What was *that*?"

Turns out it was love. Who knew?

:-)

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Awwwww, Susan, that's so cool! Sounds like the start of a beautiful loves story....wait..it is! Grins.

Joan said...

he plans to wimp out and leave Adria to tend them herself!! I see Adria throwing HIM another curve ball soon! :)

Um, no...no wimping from the Bran man.

These children are not what you'd call placid. He and his clansman have been dealing with them for months.

HE considers it an amusing punishment for this thief who has caused him so much grief....

(Adria, STOP squealing in outrage)

Caren Crane said...

Susan, I love that! I remember when my now-husband showed up at school all clean-shaven and looking human. He passed me and my friend Bina on the stairs and said, "Hi". We said hi and kept going. As soon as the coast was clear, I said, "Who was THAT?"

She said, "That was Ron."

I believe I said something to the effect that I was moving him into the top 10 of my list. Little did I know, he totally did it on purpose to get my attention. I thought I was targeting him and he already had me in his sights. In retrospect (20 years later) this doesn't surprise me at all. He got me all right. WHAM! No turn signal at all. *g*

Louisa Cornell said...

Suz, I always knew I loved to sing, but at that age "real talent" didn't really show up on my radar. I don't think I realized where that turn would take me until my debut in Salzburg. I had one of those "Huh? Wait a minute! What?" moments! I've been having a lot of those lately!

Terry Odell said...

My writing is FULL of those moments. I didn't know the hero of Finding Sarah was an accomplished pianist. I didn't know Graham in Starting Over was a gourmet cook. Or that the heroine in What's in a Name? had killed someone in her past.

And these little things are always happening. Many's the time I've shut down with a character getting a phone call, and not having the slightes clue who it is.

My crit group says, "great cliff-hanger ending". I say, sure, because I'm clueless as to what's happening myself.