Month: April 2016

Author Interview – Shannon L. Perrine

My Writer's Journey


SL PERRINE is a wife to a mechanic and mother of four crazy teenagers (3 are boys) who eat her out of house and home. While raising her kids she has obtained three degrees, and now works to feed this bunch as a Registered Medical Assistant in a private physician’s office in the city she currently resides.
She is a native of Schenectady and Saratoga Springs, New York, having spent equal time growing up in both cities.

Writing has always been a passion of hers since she was young. She finally sat down and finished her first book in 2012 and self-published.

She has several projects in the works.

“If I never make a dime off my books I don’t care, I just love the fact that my work is out there for others to read.”


How would you describe your story in one sentence?

Immortal Slumber…

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Human Emotions and Writing



Let’s talk about emotion. You know, that important part of our writing. Well, I think I know what emotion is, but I’m not sure. In researching emotion, I found that many scholars have discussed the issue over the years.

In the 1890s William James, brother of Henry James, decided emotion is the perception of bodily changes. Since then, many experts have suggested many explanations and models for emotion. Two major perspectives today conflict by dealing with emotion  as either expression or experience. Groups of researchers who embrace the social construction paradigm prefer the experience approach. More physiological researchers tend to like the expression approach. Emotional experience is studied through subjective states perceived by individuals. Emotional expression deals with physiological or behavioral responses to stimulus.

I wonder about why people developed emotions in response to the needs of primitive man in dealing with the world. Surely emotion contributes to what motivates people to take action. Happiness or sadness, make us get off the couch and do something. Anger makes us contribute to a political campaign, or argue with our boss. So emotion seems to motivate human action.

Another use of emotion is for communication with our companions. Isn’t it most often more fun to see a movie with friends or loved ones. It seems to increase our interest when we are around other people who are reacting emotionally. So, emotion serves a social purpose to binding people together and helping them communicate.

All-in-all emotion seems to be a tool for humans to process sketchy, incomplete, confusing sensory inputs. We have our intellectual brains to process clear, factual information, but humans need to react when there is not clear information to process.

Art is a great field in which to observe emotion at work. Paintings, music, TV, movies, and books can evoke, trigger, and channel emotions. Let’s keep working on this fun topic.

Academic Titles:

Campe R, Weber J. (2014). Rethinking Emotion : Interiority And Exteriority In Premodern, Modern And Contemporary Thought. Berlin : De Gruyter.

Smith, Greg, M. (2003) Film Structure and the Emotion System.
Cambridge University Press.

Websites: source of emoticons The a-to-z Challenge S. A. Gibson author page

Writer’s Café for Creating a Novel


I have wanted to report my experience with Writer’s Café since I began using it. Now, I’ve used it daily for almost two months. Writer’s Café is a text editing, story planning, writing software.

If my computer did not run on Ubuntu Linux, I would probably be using Scrivener. However, the full up-to-date version of Scrivener does not work on Linux. So, I’ve been searching for a similar program. For the last year, I’ve been writing in Sigil. This program is not a sophisticated story building system, what it does is help with formatting ebooks.

Writer’s Café is a program for writing text and aiding with many aspects of the writing work.  Let me quote from the authors of the program: “StoryLines is a multi-storyline planning tool that helps you weave a set of virtual index cards into a finished, formatted story.” Here are the features advertised for the program, Drag and drop cards, Formatting including custom styles, Screenplay auto-formatting, Text and screenplay import, Instant reports, Outline view, Navigator view, Tag-based searching, Multiple sheets (for different versions of the same story), User-customisable structure (Chapter, scene, etc.), File export (HTML, OpenDocument, etc.), Make HTML Help books, Character profiles, Story locations, Spelling checker, Pockets (store unused scenes for placing later), and Keyboard shortcuts.

The most immediately useful feature for my writing was the ability to easily see the scene and story overview and jump to any scene at any time. For me, this is a huge advantage over a flat word-processor, like Word. I also am glad for the character and location files. I can instantly look up a location or character I have entered, to check spelling and details. All-in-all I have been very happy with the program, and plan to keep using it everyday.

Now, let’s mention some negatives, since no software is perfect. What I noticed was the software was probably originally written for helping screenwriters writing a screenplay. There are extensive tools to aid with formatting screenplays. Of course, whether you find this a negative depends on your writing audience.  Another daily annoyance has been an issue of cutting and pasting. When I cut to and from LibreOffice, I keep the font, but have been losing the style on emphasized words. A minor annoyance that is also a positive, is the forced scene structure. The program defaults to a scene structure, instead of chapter structure.  This annoyed me, at first. Now, though, I would probably not go back. It makes sense to think about a scene as a unit that I work on.

So, there you have it. A quick overview of the Writer’s Café program. It is available on Windows, Mac, and Linux. The purchase price is $40 US, or $30 for students. I tried the free download first. The free version is mostly full featured, except you are limited to the number of scenes you can enter.

If you don’t have a writing program, or want to try something new, I recommend Writer’s Café.

Websites:  Writer’s Café  Scrivener Sigil The a-to-z Challenge


Planning a Fight Scene


I have run into a situation in my current work in progress, where I want a multi-chapter running fight scene between dozens of characters.

Yes! I have forced myself into a difficult position. It’s as if I am playing a game of 3-dimensional Clue. Is Colonel Mustard in the library with a candlestick, or is Miss Scarlett in the Conservatory with a dagger? I struggle to keep track of who is where, with what weapons, and standing beside what other people?

I have been reduced to drawing maps, with the building and where each character is at in each scene. Next are the details of writing about fighting. At least some of the factors to be accounted for are, building tension for the action scenes, showing character motivation, bringing the action to life, and fully building the visual detail for the reader.

Before an action scene can mean anything for the reader, it needs to become interesting in terms of characters and the plot. So the dozens or hundreds of pages leading up to the fight has to build the characters and story as solid and believable. Protagonists with whom we can relate, villains who  have believable motives. This is work that needs to be done first.

Characters before the action and during the action need to have strong motivation, intent, and desires to act. JB Lacaden said “Take time to make readers care for your characters.” A major part of the story that is being told is why the characters are doing what they are doing. Why are they risking their life and limbs in the fight.


An action scene is a dance that we build with choreography. Chuck Sambuchin said “Make your fights into a conversation spoken with actions in which the real conflict is happening in the hearts of the characters.” JB Lacaden said, “Visualize how each moment of the scenes will take place.” The better that we can see the action as we are writing it, the better experience it should be for the reader.

Finally, the mechanics of writing action scenes are always important. Marc Davies said, “Changing the shape and length of your sentences can allow you to occasionally surprise the reader and keep them interested.” I want readers to feel that they are right there with the characters in the scene. I agree with Robert Wood, who said, “The key is to thrust the reader into the thick of the action…”

Well, there were some thoughts and quotes about writing an action scene. Keep writing!

Quote Sources:

JB Lacaden

Marc Davies

Robert Wood

Chuck Sambuchino

April daily posts brought to you by: The a-to-z Challenge


If you are interested in S. A. Gibson’s books check out my Amazon page: