Monday, October 29, 2012

Tools for Writers and Vampire Slayers

By Emil Bacik via

Finding the right tool can be difficult, especially when you are a new writer.  Or a vampire slayer.

Dressed as a vampire slayer this weekend, I ran to the garage to grab a matching stake.  It was a kid party, so I picked a non-threatening dowel rod.  My husband shook his head no.  I came back with a broomstick.   He yelled, "Short, fat stakes kill vampires better!"  There was a silent "duh," which I found a bit condescending.   I was planning to slay zombie vampires, in which case you would obviously want to keep some space between you and the target.   Duh.

Having a killer stake in hand did not help me avoid the first 4-year-old who asked "What are you Miss Lauri?"  I realized quickly zombie, vampire, and slayer were difficult to explain and the term "blood-sucking" generally should be avoided with the young crowd.  So, I magically turned into a dragon trainer- complete with a perfect stick for playing dragon fetch.    A good stake can really be a multi-purpose tool.

I recently devoured Ann Whitford Paul's Writing Picture Books like a zombie vampire who just discovered the delicacy of brain.   It fed me picture book craft in delicious mouthfuls and offered action steps to strengthen my works in progress.  My favorite multi-use tool has been the sounds of letters.

I am now equipped with hard consonants (B, D, K, P, Q, T, hard C) to invoke action like a pitchfork breaking while attacking Frankenstein or to express the wickedness of a witch's cackle.  I can also express the sorrow of seeing my love moaning in the street with a long, sad sentence with soft vowel sounds (oo, ow, oi, ah, aw...) and a DUM da da dactyl rhythm.  All of my muscles roared wishing to help my sweet love as he slowly staggered on one foot lugging the other along.  

Lucky for him I brought the correct stake today.  J

Happy Halloween week everyone! 


  1. I'm with you, Lauri. The longer the stick, the better. And I finally got my copy of Writing Picture Books. I decided to read it front to back instead of jumping to chapters.

    1. Excellent! I hope you get as much out of it as I did. Pull out a manuscript to work on starting around chapter 4.


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