Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Vacation in the Ozarks of Missouri

Vacation, vacation, vacation. What better place to be than the Ozarks of Missouri to have an inspiring moment of writing. I was visiting my son recently down in Missouri when I noticed this sign posted on a vacant house. No trespassing. Violators will be shot. Survivors will be shot again. I did a double take and started to laugh, HARD. It could have been a joke, most likely it was, but it made me think before entering his land. I had a boat and docked it on the end of a pier. After seeing the sign, I decided it wasn't a very good idea. I walked around his yard, making sure I never crossed the property line.

Stories like these can give me some really funny ideas for writing. The image stuck with me. I imagined a man hiding inside an old abandoned house with a shotgun in his hands, waiting for the first person to invade his territory. Property rights are one of the oldest and most valuable things to own. People can become very territorial when someone is caught trespassing on their land.

When I returned home and started writing again, I found the perfect place to add this sign to my story, Wyoming. I had been stuck writing it—writers block, probably. I knew exactly what I wanted to write but I didn't exactly know how to write what I wanted to—if that makes sense. The vacation was good for me but seeing that sign gave me ideas and invigorated me to write something funny in my story—and I must admit, a little creepy too.

The chapter deals with a very bad man named Red, driving through an empty part of Wyoming. He carelessly drives his Hummer utility vehicle into the side of a barn and crashes—yes, I agree that it would be very difficult to crash a Hummer but it happened. Red starts to inspect his situation when he discovers the sign and can't help but laugh to himself. Before he can catch his breath, he notices an addition to the sign in red handwriting that says, Any remains will be fed to my dog. Red can't help but laugh with joy. Finally, he had found someone with a similar sense of humor.

I'm guessing this is how most people begin writing a story. A simple sign or image appears and from there, everything just expands into a short story or maybe even an entire novel. That's how it works for me anyways. Sometimes these images are hard to keep up with and can be lost as easily as they were found. I try to keep a small journal of most of these images. Some of them have blossomed into entire novels. Some of them are just beginning to evolve, while others like this one have only become a small part of the story.

Wyoming continues on after a short hiatus. I have been spending most of my summer reading and writing some other wild and crazy adventures, but now it's time to continue on with my story about a young man who has lost faith in everything he's ever believed in. I have a really good feeling that he's about to discover that not everything is bad in this world we live in and somehow that wheel of fortune keeps spinning around for all of us.


  1. I love it. It sounds like you had a great vacation - good. Funny how ideas seem to just appear out of nowhere. I look forward to reading the book. Hope you had a great summer.

  2. What a wonderful place to spend your vacation.
    That sign is a killer! Pardon the pun! LOL It's always fun to read how writers get their inspiration. Now I need to read the story and see how this fits in!

  3. Sherry and Laura, always good to hear from both of you. I hope your summer vacation has been as enjoyable as my summer has been. Just keep an eye out for those killer signs!

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