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“You enter the extraordinary by way of the ordinary.” ~Frederick Buechner

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Strategy # 4 Hungry Territory: Visible Threat by Janice Cantore

Build Your Story: 8 Strategies for Writing Innovative Setting with Impact

Visible Threat: Case Study

Brinna sighed. “I went into the water accidently, nothing heroic. Then I blacked out and next thing I remember I was in an ambulance.”
Brinna shook her head and explained. “When I saw the girl, adrenaline took over. I tried to get close enough to the edge and grab her and fell in. It was stupid.
“Hear, hear.” Maggie held up her soda cup up. “She and Rick were connected by a leash. When Brinna lost her balance, so did Rick.  They both went into the water, but he hit the rocks. Matt and Jeff grabbed him; then all of a sudden there were firemen everywhere. Their timing was impeccable.”

The above passage gives a version of the characters impression of the events that left Long Beach Officer Brinna Caruso with a broken wrist, and a fellow officer facing dangerous surgery due to a fractured shoulder and broken back.

Earlier the readers saw that five police officers acted capably and with courage, but not with any degree of irresponsibility. They all knew the dangers of the river and took precaution. All Brinna planned to do was kneel on the water’s edge in the hopes the drowning girl was swept close enough. Rick also stood as close to the water’s edge as was safely possible. Then they added the extra safety precaution of the leash.

It’s a great example of how the combination of a known natural territory and experienced preparation can still upend a situation into high conflict and high stress.  Now a life is on the line as well as a solid partnership, and relationships both personally and professionally.

Exercise: Make a short list of normal actions your character does in their daily job. Then next to each one choose how an accident could be directly related to that normal activity.

Share: Think of a possible example for your character where a slight fall could have dire consequences based on their territory.

Read deep, marcy

For more information on Janice Cantore's intriguing mysteries check out her site at:

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