Writer's Notes

Writer’s Notes: Three Steps to a Winning Scene

By Elaine Faber

Black Cat and the Secret in Dewey’s Diary

To draw the reader into the action as the story evolves, you must make her feels as if she actually becomes the protagonist, or is walking by her side. She must see, feel, and think what the protagonist sees, how she feels about the situation, and reacts with her dialogue or action.

To create this experience, before you start to write your intended scene, Consider the following.

What does your character see? (Describe the setting through character’s POV.)

The following is a much edited scene where Angel, (Black Cat’s sweetheart) first finds the diary that contains the clues to a lost treasure in gold, stolen during WII.

Angel stood at the door and gazed into the storeroom, her gold eyes wide. Boxes, parcels and baskets lined the shelves. She jumped on the worktable and sniffed at the scissors, packing tape, and address labels, and then sniffed an unopened parcel just received in the mail. “Why would someone send a musty package to a bookstore?” (Kimberlee enters the storeroom)

As Kimberlee cut the tape, the brown wrapping paper fell away, and a worn leather journal lay on the table. Sunlight fell across the stained cover. Was it from mud, sweat, or blood? Or all three? She ran her finger over the letters etched into the leather. “Oh. I thought it was a book written by a WWII soldier. This is just a personal diary.”  Disappointed, she tossed the diary on the table.

What does your character think or feel? After seeing the situation, how does your character react? What thoughts enter her mind? What does she feel?)

Angel sniffed the parcel again. There’s something… she jerked, jumped off the table and raced to the front of the store. “Black Cat, come quick. You must see the book Kimberlee just received. It’s odd. I sense something important inside. She needs to read it.”

What does your character say or do? (Your character speaks or reacts to what she has seen and thought/felt. This can be a simple statement or pitching a drink into someone’s face…a reaction!)-

(Black Cat follows her back to the storeroom.) “What is it?” Black Cat sniffed the book. “It smells musty. What’s so important about it? ”

“Make her read it,” Angel said. She kneaded the table with her front paws. “I feel it in my bones. There’s something she needs to see. You can do it. You’re so clever and brave.” She rubbed against Black Cat’s face. Black Cat pawed at the book. It plunked onto the floor, open to the title page. He held his breath as Kimberlee knelt, and picked up the diary.


By following this brief outline that describes your character seeing, thinking/feeling and reacting in each scene, allows your reader to immerse herself in the situation, to react and be personally involved with your character’s adventure. This creates a sense of ‘oneness’ with your character and a fulfilling journey for your reader.

About Elaine Faber

Elaine Faber and Boots

Elaine Faber lives in Northern California with her husband and feline companions. She is a member of Sisters in Crime, California Cat Writers, and Northern California Publishers and Authors. She volunteers with the American Cancer Society Discovery Shop. She enjoys speaking and sharing highlights of her novels at public venues. Her short stories have appeared in national magazines and multiple anthologies.

List of books:

Black Cat’s Legacy, With the aid of his ancestors’ memories, Thumper helps pursue a cold case murder.

Black Cat and the Lethal Lawyer, Thumper accompanies his family to a Texas horse ranch where they confront wild horses, embezzling, false identities and attempted murder.

Black Cat and the Accidental Angel, Black Cat and his companion are left behind following an MVA. Taken in by a family facing personal and financial disaster, Black Cat and Angel face danger and a spiritual encounter.

Black Cat and the Secret in Dewey’s Diary, a dual tale with the cats challenged in Fern Lake and mistress, Kimberlee, following clues to a treasure in gold coins in Austria.

Mrs. Odboddy-Hometown Patriot, Eccentric Mrs. Odboddy believes Nazi spies and conspiracies run amuck through her town during the beginning of WWII.

Mrs. Odboddy-Undercover Courier, Mr. Odboddy assumes Nazi spies will attempt to steal the secret war documents she carries on the train to the president.

Mrs. Odboddy-And Then There was a Tiger, Falsely accused of various crimes, Agnes sets about to restore her reputation and return missing war bond funds.

Links (website and blog site) :  (face book)  (Goodreads)  (email)

Purchase Links  (Amazon)  Black Cat and the Secret in Dewey’s Diary

SynopsisBlack Cat and the Secret in Dewey’s Diary:  In this duel tale of mystery, lost treasure, and riddles, while Black Cat narrates the exciting events in Fern Lake, Kimberlee discovers a cryptic clue in a diary. She travels to Austria to search for the stolen gold coins missing since WWII.

Black Cat and the Secret in Dewey’s Diary

When Kimberlee and Dorian arrive in Austria, they attract the attention of a stalker determined to steal the diary in hopes it will lead him to the treasure first. On a collision course, it is inevitable that Kimberlee and the stalker meet in Hopfgarten.

Back in Fern Lake, Black Cat and Angel’s lives are endangered with the arrival of Kimberlee’s estranged grandmother, and the return of a man presumed dead for 25 years. Their arrivals create emotional and financial difficulties for Kimberlee’s family.

Street Stories The Call Box

The Call Box: Intangible

By Ed Meckle, Retired LAPD

INTANGIBLE definition: Unable to be touched or grasped; not having a physical presence

An architect can point to a building or structure he (we are using the editorial “he” here, no disrespect to females). A contractor or plumber can lay claim to any number of projects. Even a factory worker can point to an X count of widgets at day’s end.

There are service persons by the score-waiters, clerks, doctors, lawyers, nurses and the list goes on. But what of the description, “First Responders?”

The law enforcement officer (LEO), aside from arrests and tickets, usually has only his personal satisfaction in providing the daily chores that make up his life. LEO’s must and should take motivation from the service they provide. From finding a lost child, recovering a stolen vehicle or property, and/or settling a dispute ad infinitum. The satisfaction of looking back at shift’s end and knowing that he made a difference in someone’s life (hopefully a good one).

He must take pride in whatever it was he did or didn’t do to resolve the situation; to take from that whatever he needs to bring him back day after day, to provide the fuel that feeds his enthusiasm and drives him no matter how jaded or disillusioned he has become. To prove, if to no one but yourself, that you are a person of character. Then, and only then have you accomplished something.

CHARACTER definition: The mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual. I prefer, ‘doing the right thing even when no one is watching.’

Part II


Have you ever experienced a LEO being introduced to a stranger and watched how guarded he is until told that the other person is or was a LEO? You would’ve seen a complete personality change right before your eyes. There is almost a “formal rule” or ritual that both parties go through, probably done unconsciously. If you doubt me, read law enforcement blogs or Facebook police pages.  Aside from the usual kidding you will notice a sincere sense of mutual respect and love, yes love. You’ll see an almost elaborate politeness, a sense of warrior meeting warrior.

Civil war painting-unknown battle
Civil war painting-unknown battle

In July 2016, I wrote, “I’ve been to see the Elephant.” This term was common to the Civil War wherein the young soldiers tried to put into words the horror they had witnessed. An unspoken, “we have been there, passed the test and I recognize you for who and what you are.”

Granted not all LEO’s go through this ritual but enough for me to notice. Other than the military no one besides LEO’s are that closely bonded.

I have heard too many eulogies, read to many End of Watch (EOW) notices and heard to many tales of friendship and daring-do to wonder why we don’t reach out—right now—to our old friends and partners and tell them of our feelings. Tell them you appreciate all the times together and tell them as only one man can tell another, “I love you, man.”

It was Shakespeare who told us we were a “BAND OF BROTHERS,” are we not? 

Better they hear it now than before it’s too late. Tell them now.

Writer's Notes

I’ll Be Emceeing This Event

Copperfield’s – Redwood Writers Book Club is open to anyone! Our next meeting is at Copperfield’s Montgomery Village store, 775 Village Court, Santa Rosa, Ca. May 26, 6pm-7pm.

huachuca-woman-coverFind out about the inspiration for this character, her tribulations and adventures. Meet Arletta Dawdy, author of Huachuca Woman and By Grace. We’ll be talking about the fiercely independent Josephine Lowell in the Southwestern US from 1876 to 1961. The story is told in the engaging and colorful language of the day. Meet this remarkable woman on the pages of Huachuca Woman and come talk to her author, Arletta Dawdy.

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