Tag Archives: drama

When Your World Falls Apart – Cause and Effect by LV Gaudet

What do you do when your world falls apart?



Photo by Jordy Meow on Unsplash

This is the sort of question that is so open ended that there is no right or wrong way to identify with it.

There is the major falling apart, dealing with loss and grief.  The kind that you cannot do anything but mourn for as long as it takes to learn to live with it.  Debilitating emotional turmoil.  Depression.  That is only to name a few.

A middling falling apart of your world might involve being fired from your job, that guy or girl you have dated for the past six months breaking up with you, or perhaps a car accident where the only casualty is that automobile you loved.  It hurts.  You want to wallow in your feelings of self-pity and loss, but even you know somewhere inside that it is not such a big loss as it feels like at that very moment.

And then there are those momentary mind-numbing mini tragedies.  Flash pan moments that bring on sudden extreme emotions that can die heartbeats later.  The kind that bring you into a heat-of-the-moment panic.  The flash of anger.  The moment where tears suddenly burn your eyes and you feel how foolish you must be because it’s not worth crying over and you must be tired.  You make more excuses for yourself.

Finally, there are the truly trivial. These are perhaps most often experienced by one in the midst of a severe emotional mood swing, including toddlers.  You dropped your ice cream.  Your mascara glopped on your eyelashes, sticking them together and it is truly the end of the world because that boy you like is going to think you look like some kind of moronic goon who doesn’t know how to use mascara (note the run on sentence thought of the teenager in the throws of a hot mood swing).  You truly are over-tired and you spilled your coffee.  These moments of your life falling apart are no less severe in your feelings at the moment they are happening.  Later, you might think, “Wow.  I really got upset about that?”



The question to dig deep and ask yourself is, “What would I do?”


Imagine a situation.  Imagine how you would feel.  What you would do.  What if you were in a different mood?  Experiencing something else, good or bad, at that moment.  How you imaging other people you know or observed would handle the situation.



Now place your character in that spot.


Ok, so your character is coming to a red light.  Just as they are approaching, the light turns green.  The cross traffic has the red.  With an internal sigh of relief, your character moves the foot hovering over the brake to the gas, accelerating through the now green light.

Just as they are beginning to sail through the intersection, a car cuts them off.  Your character is shocked.  Indignant.  Panicked.  They react too late.  Time has slowed to a crawl as they bear witness to the coming accident they feel powerless to avoid.  By an almost impossible chance, between lamely groping for the brake too late with that foot, fighting the urge to swerve onto the sidewalk where people wait to cross the street, and the offending driver gunning the gas, your character barely avoids the collision.

Weak with the after effects of the momentary surge of adrenaline, your character has a hot flash pan moment.  Anger.  Your character swears at the other driver.  Looks at the steering wheel and silently swears at themselves for not blaring the horn.  Your character drives home angrily, stomping into the house to be greeted by….


A toddler?  Your character, still hot and angry, snaps at the toddler, regretting it even as the words are coming out of their mouth.

Hurt, the toddler wanders off, looks at that sparkling pretty round diamond ring, the one your character lost last month, and woefully decides you don’t want to see it.  Hurt, angry, the toddler wanders to the bathroom and flushes it down the toilet.  Cause and effect.

Maybe it is a teenager.  Hurt and angry and in the midst of her own flashpoint of emotions, the teenager stomps off to her room.  There, she grabs up her phone and texts her boyfriend.  Hurt and angry over some very minor thing he perhaps doesn’t even know he did wrong, she breaks up with him.  Breaks his heart.  Cruelly, lashing out with the hurt and anger she is feeling against your character.  What kind of person is her boyfriend?  Do they both wallow in self-pity and pain until they get over it?  Maybe he takes drastic action to vent his grief and anger.  Cause and effect.

Or, perhaps in that flash of hot anger, your character does something extreme they will regret.


Writing is constantly putting your characters into these positions.

You need drama.  You need adversity.  Your readers need to be pulled in, desperate to know what is going to happen, what is your character going to do.  Can they fix this?  Can they at least survive it?

Always think about how you or others might handle the situation you put your characters in.  How their actions affect the other characters, how the cause and effect might play out rippling through the story line and the other characters.

Think about how that very cause and effect ripple will come back to hit your character, because, let’s face it, in real life it does tend to.


When you are stuck on where to go next, follow the ripple of cause and effect.

You may end up with word clutter that you will cut from the book.  But it can help pull you along to find the key that will push the story’s momentum further.


Like real people, characters need depth.

Depth is making your characters feel real to the reader. By messing with them.  Give your character a reaction to some minor thing in a pivotal moment that leads them in a new direction that makes sense for the story.  It may not affect the story at that moment, but it can be a foreshadowing of something to come.  Cause and effect.



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The Intangible World of the Literary Mind

This blog is about writing, being an author, and life.


LV Gaudet, author

This blog is for the fans of dark fiction, those stories that slither softly into your dreams in the night to turn them dark and foul.



Published with Indigo Sea Press:
where the bodies are


He can’t stop killing.


Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000035_00023]

Learn the secret behind the bodies in Where the Bodies Are.

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Excerpt – Death in a Small Town by H.V. Purvis

This is an excerpt from chapter 2 of my new murder mystery, released September 6.


John slowed the airport rental car to a stop in front of the building. He did not get out. He was not sure he could. He sat there. The motor running. His heart raced. It was cool inside the car, but beads of sweat covered his brow. He flexed his fingers. Make a fist. Then straightened his fingers. He did this over and over. It was an exercise his shrink had given him to regain control of his nerves. He took a deep breath and let it out slowly through his mouth. He had flown from DC. Driving still tied his guts in knots. He rarely drove anymore. He rarely even left his apartment anymore. Now that he was here, he did not know if he could make himself go inside.

He knew before he left that this trip was going to be difficult, but it was something he had to do. He owed it to Stan. Now he sat in the car, his hands shaking, his heart racing, feeling sick to his stomach. His leg throbbed, even though the doctors said it should not. He cursed at himself and stared out the side window at the hundred year old southern colonial which loomed over the business end of a street of impressive older houses.

John had grown up further down this street. All the lawns were immaculate. He remembered that on Saturday mornings the older ladies, in their “working in the yard” clothes which looked just as nice as their “going to the store” clothes, would put on their straw hats and tend their roses and flower gardens. His hands shook as he raised the soda he bought after leaving the airport. It was warm, but he took another swallow, trying to work up the courage to turn off the engine and go inside.

He smacked the steering wheel with his hand. This is stupid! I’m a grown man, for God’s sake! He stared at the double front doors of the colonial building. A gut wrenching dread knifed through him. He looked away. There were too many ghosts in this town and particularly inside that building. He had spent the last five years avoiding those ghosts. He reached for the keys. His hand stopped short.

Horrible memories of his last visit to this town ripped him apart, but he owed Stan. They had been best friends since first grade, played football together, double dated together. When John went off to college, Stan joined the Parkwood police department. After college, John joined the bureau and moved to DC. Stan was always the one who reached out to make sure they did not lose touch. After the wreck, he called John in the hospital every day to check on him. At least once a week he drove the two-hour round trip Chapel Hill to visit and sit with him. Now Stan was dead. John leaned his head back on the headrest and closed his eyes.

Someone tapped on the window. John jerked upright. He had been lost, drifting in numbness land, and the tap startled him. His heart pounded harder. He looked over and saw his sister, Helen, standing in the street. Traffic moved slowly to go around safely. No one honked a horn. No one stared angrily at her. No one raised a fist or middle finger. Most of the people did throw up their hand, but it was a friendly wave. This was the way people were here.

Hoyle Purvis

Author of Extinction            http://www.hvpurvis.com, facebook page H.V. Purvis, twitter @hvpurvis

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The Garden

Author Claire Collins- Books available from Second Wind Publishing- “Fate and Destiny” and “Images of Betrayal”

The house was perfect. The stately Victorian sat on a hill, the long driveway curving up through the tree, exposing the house only after the last turn. The Virginia countryside surrounded the house, slowly giving way to the growing town only a mile or so from the ten acres where the beautiful building dwelled.

If all of that wasn’t enough, the yard in front was a lush green lawn and stands of trees, but the back of the house contained a fall of patios, bringing the path from the house down the hill and each patio contained deep thick gardens. Upon seeing the layers of bright flowers and vines, Sandy Martinez knew this was the home for her. Her green thumb twitched in anticipation as she placed her offer with the realtor, and the urge to tend the gardens and plant new ones. The urge grew more insistent when the old couple that owned the house accepted her ridiculously low first offer.

On moving day, Sandy stood in the driveway while the moving company began unloading her belongings and dropping them throughout various rooms of the house. Her twelve-year-old son Freddy and his dog Muzzy ran circles in the yard, happy to be free from the car after the long drive from Wilmington. Sandy soaked in every inch of the façade of the house. The pale peach shutters locked tight against the soft gray siding, the deep copper of the multi-tiered roof tiles, and the bright flowers planted in deep boxes along the front of the house.

The front room would be perfect to display the flower arrangements Sandy planned to sell as part of relocating her party decorating business. The tiny town was only about an hour from Richmond, and Sandy already made some good contacts with party planners to get her foot in the door. Life was good.

A year later, Sandy’s business was thriving, mostly due to the beautiful flowers grown in her gardens that adorned the arrangements she created. There was only one spot three feet wide and about five feet long in the third tier down that refused to sprout anything. The ground remained barren despite the specialized fertilizers and tender care she lavished. Among all of the bright colors and greenery, the one lone spot looked out of place and lacking.

One day, she tended the flowers in the front boxes when her neighbor, Mrs. Bixley came to visit. The old widow was a pest, constantly nagging about Muzzy barking or Freddy’s baseball landing on her lawn. Sandy saw her coming out of the corner of her eye, but she didn’t bother to stop digging with her trowel until Mrs. Bixley stalked right up to her and blocked the sun.

“Good Morning, Mrs. Bixley,” Sandy faked cheer at seeing her neighbor. “How are you today?”

 “Working on your flowers again I see. That’s all the last man who lived here did. His wife sat in the house all day while he was out here digging in the dirt. I must say though, before he moved in, nothing would grow out here. At least you aren’t letting the property values decline by letting it go to seed.”

Sandy smiled as she looked up to see her neighbor. Maybe this visit would let them be friends. “Well, I’m glad you like the flowers. I will cut some and bring them over to you.”

“Hmph. Flowers are a silly waste of time. You should just put in plastic ones like I did.” The old lady eyed Sandy up and down before gesturing down the driveway with her cane. “Anyway, I didn’t come over here to socialize. That boy of yours and that hoodlum across the lane were taking apples from the tree in my yard this morning. I’m calling that school and telling them to move the bus stop from in front of my house.”

Sandy stood and stretched, using the back of her gardening glove to wipe the perspiration from her brow. 

“I do apologize for the boys’ behavior, Mrs. Bixley. I will talk to Freddy and tell him not to touch the apples or come into your yard. I will talk to Jeff’s mom too.”

The old lady didn’t seem pleased by her answer. “Like that will do any good. I’ve had to come over here with my bad knee aching too many times now. If you can’t control that little terror of yours, then I will call the police and have him arrested for trespassing!”

Sandy smiled through her gritted teeth. “That really won’t be necessary Mrs. Bixley.”

“I’ll decide what’s necessary. You just keep that boy under control.”

With one last shake of her cane, Mrs. Bixley toddled back across the lawn and through the shrubs to her adjoining property.

Sandy finished in the front box, but her anger didn’t subside. She decided to work through it and returned to the empty spot in the third tier. With relish, she dug along the edge of the patch, only realizing she dug too deep when she saw the roots of the flowers.

“Damn,” she muttered. “I hope I didn’t hurt those roots.” She put her hand down to feel how deep the roots went and how damaged they might be. Her fingers brushed something hard under the tips of the roots. The confrontation with Mrs. Bixley shoved to the back of her mind, Sandy dug around a little deeper and pulled on the object. It didn’t readily come free from the hold of the earth. She used the trowel to dig around and under the rounded mass in the dirt under the flowers. Enough dirt was finally scraped away for the mystery in the ground to begin to wiggle. Sandy used her hands and moved the soft soil from under it until it came loose. With a satisfied smile, she pulled it free from the ground and looked at her discovery.

It looked back.

Eye sockets with meat still clinging to it stared at her, the teeth giving a ghoulish eternal grin. The skull slipped from her shaking hands as she shot to her feet. She scanned the tiers of gardens and her eyes came back to rest on the bare patch under her feet. She had dug deeply in this spot many times trying to get things to grow. Ignoring the skull, she took her shovel to the hole under the roots where she made her discovery and she started digging. She dug all along the edge and then around each tier. After she had carefully dug under the roots of her wonderful flowers in the backyard, she moved around to the boxes in the front.

Like every layer of the back tiers, the front flower boxes contained bodies. The ones in the front were nothing more than skeletons. They seemed to be the oldest. The first tier in the back contained the next round of bodies and the bottom tier leading into the woods held the most recent bodies. Many of those flower beds contained forms that looked remarkably like people. Exhausted, Sandy returned to the bare patch, her shovel in one hand and her sun hat in the other. She smoothed loose strands of hair back from her face and surveyed the garden. It was so beautiful, the source of her success. She needed to call the police. She cringed when she thought of all of those people trampling through her gardens.

She brought the back of her gloved hand to her mouth to stifle her sob as she realized they would have to dig all of them up. Her entire garden would be ruined along with her income. She would lose not only the gardens, but her home. She sunk to her knees, the original skull she uncovered glared at her accusingly.

She rolled it back into the hole from where it came. The thought occurred to her that the bodies acted as a natural fertilizer to get the flowers to grow. There was no body under the section where she sat. That’s why nothing would grow there. She had about three hours before Freddy came home from school. There was plenty of time.

Sandy set to work covering all of the exposed bodies, glad that Muzzy stayed clear of the garden. Within an hour, all of the bodies were safely covered, the remains continuing to feed the thriving flowers. Satisfied that her business would not be forced to close, Sandy leaned on her shovel and looked around the garden. It was beautiful again. The momentary pang of guilt passed quickly, after all, the people were already dead, and she didn’t kill them. She could pretend she never knew they were there.

Back where she started in the barren plot, she shifted the dirt with the toe of her sneaker. Nothing would grow there. The rest of the gardens fed off the natural fertilizer provided by the prior owner of the property. The old man was the murderer, not her. Nothing would grow there.

Another thought occurred to her. Maybe something would grow if it had the right nutrients.

She hefted the shovel onto her shoulder and walked around to the front of the house and across the yard between the shrubs to the neighboring property.


            A year later, Sandy was still successful. Her business was booming and the demand for her flowers was at maximum capacity for what she could produce. Her gardens were lush and full with no bare spots. She planned to clear a patch at the bottom of the tiers and add more gardens. All she needed was the right fertilizer.




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