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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

No Controversy from Carol Kilgore (a guest post)

Photos and maps related to Padre Island. Padre...
Photos and maps related to Padre Island. Padre Island National Seashore - sand dunes (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

         I'm away from my desk due to an illness in my family.  Thankfully Carol Kilgore is here to fill in for me and perhaps bring a touch of sanity back to my blog page.  You probably need a bit of a breather after my recent rantings.  Carol will brighten your day a bit.

If you've visited my blog, Under the Tiki Hut, you spotted the differences between it and Arlee's Tossing It Out right off. All the same, I love visiting here. Opposites attract.

True to its name, a lot of controversy has been tossed out on this blog recently, but I promised Arlee I wouldn't go down that path. If anyone wants to be a contrarian over my little bit of fluff here, go right ahead. I'll just smile and say something I hope is funny enough to defuse the issue.

If you couldn't tell from the Tiki Hut, I totally hate controversy. I don't like debates, arguments, tension between disagreeing people and groups, or clashes of any sort. I do enjoy discussion among participants with differing viewpoints as long as the discussion doesn't escalate and no one employs bullying tactics.
I inherited my love of harmony from my mother. My dad, however, loved a good argument.

That said, I have no problem heaping trouble, misunderstandings, arguments, and conflict on my characters. But it hasn't always been that way for misunderstandings and arguments.

Hailing from the overall mystery/suspense genre, I learned early how to create suspense, tension, and conflict. But those don't necessarily stem from controversy. I like crawling into the criminal's creepy little mind and learning the why.

My first published short story several years ago was from the POV of the chairman of the largest bank in London … who was kidnapped by a gang of hoodlums. The bank chairman had plenty of problems, and they didn't all come from the thugs. There was much tension, but no real controversy. No debate that a phone call couldn't settle. The story even won an award.

In my recent novel, In Name Only, there are two honest-to-goodness arguments between Gabe Duran and his father, Charlie. Each character believes he is correct, of course, and is the hero of his own story. I tried my best to cut the arguments short, but my critique partners said no way. I was sure I had worked the arguments into great clashes until I got the manuscript back from my editor. She said I made it way too easy on the characters. I needed to flesh it out, make it last longer, make them angrier, dig more deeply into their emotions.

She was right.

As I worked on following my editor's suggestions, I learned that angry exchanges are almost as fun to write as the scenes from the bad guy's head.

But controversy in real life about real things is still not for me. Life's too short to spend it being angry or upset about something you can't control. I'll take Bobby McFerrin's words any day – "Don't Worry, Be Happy."

In Name Only--a synopsis

No home. No family. No place to hide. For Summer Newcombe, that's only the beginning.

The night Summer escapes from a burning Padre Island eatery and discovers the arsonist is stalking her, is the same night she meets Fire Captain Gabriel Duran. As much as she's attracted to Gabe, five years in the Federal Witness Security Program because of her father’s testimony against a mob boss have taught her the importance of being alone and invisible.

No matter how much she yearns for a real home, Summer relinquished that option the night she killed the man who murdered her father. But Gabe breaks down her guard and places both of them in danger. Summer has vowed never to kill again, but she's frantic she'll cost Gabe his life unless she stops running and fights for the future she wants with the man she loves.

Author Bio:

Carol Kilgore is a Texas native who has lived in locations across the U.S. as the wife of a Coast Guard officer. Back under the hot Texas sun in San Antonio, Carol writes a blend of mystery, suspense, and romance she calls Crime Fiction with a Kiss. She and her husband share their home and patio with two active herding dogs, and every so often the dogs let them sit on the sofa.

Learn more about Carol and follow her here:

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  1. Hey Carol! We are fine with no controversy under the Tiki Hut. In our writing it is fun, but in real life, not so much.
    Besides, be hard to do Friday's Top Ten List that way, wouldn't it?

  2. A little controversy isn't terrible, especially for our characters. Let's face it, even for a romance that ends with a happily-ever-after, there has to be something for the MC to overcome. Conflict, controversy...those can spark a heap of ups and downs in our novels.

  3. I'm with you, Carol. I'd rather heap the conflict on my characters than deal with it in my own life. :)

  4. Count me in the No Controversy column, Carol. I prefer my tension and drama in fictional form, and peace in my real life. :)

  5. Hi, Carol! Nice guest post. My vote is with no controversy.

  6. totally agree with you, milady Kilgore, can't stand controversy myself either :) Defusing the issue is the way to go :)
    Cannot stand people who build their careers on controversy, like that horrid Madonna wench who last week wrote on her naked body a name of that little Pakistani girl who was shot at in her country since she fights for peace and justice. Madonna is a disgusting type who would raise controversy in order to bring her career back from the dead....

  7. Carol,
    I think one of the reasons my first novel sits untouched in a folder on my desk is that there isn't enough conflict. Then I took a writing workshop and realized I had no story without conflict. In my current WIP, I asked myself, "What is the worst thing that could happen to my characters?" It took me weeks before I could actually write the answer to that question, but when I did, I had a novel. After nine revisions (so far) it is now out to readers for a third round, and I have hope this one might make it out of the folder and into the world.

    The good thing about writing conflict? It's all fiction!

  8. Good to see everyone! I hope things are going well for Arlee, and I want to thank him for posting the photo of Padre Island up above. It made me smile because it was so unexpected. Thank you :)

    Alex - OMG! I don't even want to think about a controversial Top Ten. My worst nightmare!

    Angela - Totally cool for novels :)

    Stina - Exactly.

    Linda G - Yes. I'm the Un-Drama Queen in real life.

    Susanne - Ooh, there are a lot of us :) Nice to meet you!

    Dez - I'm a great defuser! That Pakistani girl is my new hero. She's so brave.

    Liza - I think all of us have at least one novel like that. We have to learn.

  9. Your book sounds so cool Carol, thanks so much for dropping by to tell us all about it! I'm kind of with you when it comes to controversy, I don't like to go out simply to offend people or bully people although I think Lee has done a great job in not venturing down that path. Your book sounds like a really worthwhile read to me as well!

  10. Carol, I agree, controversy only in our books. And even that's tough! We can do without it, our books can't.

    Hi Lee, I wish the best to you and your family:)

  11. I'm a lawyer and I HATE controversy. Weird career choice, right ;) But I do think a little bit can be educational although I usually tend to be more of an observer than someone who jumps into the fray.

  12. YeamieWaffles - Thank you! I appreciate your kind words. And I totally agree that Lee has stayed true and above board. He's just a really nice guy :)

    Gwen - Yep. Total agreement on that :)

    Johanna - Too funny! And here I thought all lawyers loved to argue :)

  13. wow carol, way to fill in--i feel the same way about controversy and your work sounds amazing---i hope everything is okay soon with arlee

  14. Lynn - Nice to meet you. And thank you. I had fun writing In Name Only. I hope everything is soon OK for Arlee, too.

  15. Thank you for covering for me. All is well here in Tennessee. We had the funeral today and now are trying to keep my mom cheered up. Having a very nice time with my kids, grandkids, and other family members.

    Thank you Carol and all of you who left their comments.


  16. My sympathy to you and your family. Losses are hard, but it is so good to have family and friends who are with you during this time, especially when they say, "I remember when. . . ."

  17. I'm with you, let's keep the anger and the conflict in our fiction and not our blog conversations.

  18. Arlee - I'm sorry for your loss. Have a safe trip home. Nobody is too rowdy so far :)

    loverofwords - What nice words for Arlee.

    LD - Yeah! Pumping fist :)

  19. I'm like you, Carol, I like a good discussion as long as it doesn't escalate and no one employs bullying tactics.

  20. Great post! I'm like you. I avoid controversy too. I like to write and read about it, but in real life, I prefer peace.

  21. Carol,I agree with you, though I do enjoy it in print and on the big screen. Lee, I'm sending lots of good thoughts to you and your family. Julie

  22. Christine and Julie - Maybe we need some kind of tranquility in order to write big, messy scenes.

  23. IN NAME ONLY sounds very interesting--I really like the pitch for it. :)

    Thanks for the post!

  24. Hi Carol!

    It was lovely reading about you and your book here!

    Well, controversy does make life more interesting, doesn't it?


  25. I like to watch or observe controversy :) but I don't like to actually be involved in it. ;)

  26. Charlie - Thanks! Nice to meet you :)

    Nas - I turn up in all kinds of places, LOL! As I've been responding to comments I realized how boring life would be without some controversy. As long as the participants don't get too carried away.

    Southpaw - Same here.

  27. Controversy is fun, as long as you are observing and not living it. Actually, controversry and conflict a=can benefit an individual as it exposes weakness if one is humble enough to recognize and accept it.

  28. Oh, goodness, Stephen. I have so many weaknesses it's not even funny. This is a thoughtful comment. Thanks!

  29. OK, Lee, I'm outta here.

    I swept up, dusted off the keyboard, restocked the fridge, and got the coffee ready for in the morning.

    Everything is set for Nancy S. Thompson to take over in the morning.

    Thanks so much for letting me blog with you. I had a great time!

  30. Thank you Carol for the guest post and thanks to all who commented.



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