How to move from real life to make believe

I haven’t written on my WIP in two weeks and barely managed to keep my blog going.

So, if I’ve been too slow to respond, I apologize.

Here at Jean’s Writing, I rarely write about my personal life. This is a place to share about my writing experience. To write what I’m learning as I struggle with stories, books, and articles. I like to keep the real world and my make-believe world separate. Let’s face it, make-believe is so much more fun.

However, too often the reality of life raises an ugly head and we must deal. What happens then?  What happens when we realize there are more important things in life than characters in a story? Like real life, real people with real life and death problems.

Today I’m going to step out of my comfort zone and write about something very real and personal.

My 9-year-old grandson, Dylan.

Excuse me 9 and 3/4. Dylan would be offended if I forgot the 3/4 of which he is so proud.

Two weeks ago my grandson was hit by a car.

He’s recovering nicely now. We were very fortunate. Nothing broken, lots of scrapes and bruises, and a severe concussion. Considering the shattered windshield of the car, his mangled bike and broken helmet he was one lucky little boy.

Dylan landed on the road with his helmet in three pieces. Emergency personnel and doctors repeated over and over, that broken helmet saved his life.

One doctor quite shaken, held up the pieces, and said, “this would’ve been his head. Good thing you wore your helmet.”

Dylan still very confused and in a lot of pain, wiped tears from his eyes and said, “I always wear my helmet, you have to.”

You see, it’s a rule in our family. Everyone wears a helmet, grandparents, parents, and kids alike. If you want to ride a bike, you wear a helmet or else you walk. And we didn’t wait until they were riding two-wheelers. No, it started when they were on tiny-trikes.

Safe Guilford May Is National Bike Month Are You Wearing Your Helmet

I shared what happened with several of my friends and I received some of the oddest comments. “My kids/grandkids refuse to wear helmets.” “They don’t like helmets.” “They think helmets aren’t cool.” Those excuses are just that, excuses.

We were so lucky that in our family a helmet is more important that shoes. I’ve watched our kids ride in flip-flops, but they didn’t forget a helmet.

Be prepared. Accidents happen when you least expect.

An inexpensive helmet can save a child/adult from permanent brain damage or death.

A child that weighs 80 pounds has little chance against a car that weighs over 3,000 pounds.  Was the driver distracted? Probably. Was he driving too fast for the small residential street? Possibly. My daughter hasn’t been ready to read the police report. All we know for sure is that Dylan was hit from behind. He didn’t see the car.

Something made of foam and plastic saved my grandson!

Now it’s time for me to get back to my make-believe world. To bring back my muse and my characters. But I must be honest. I’m finding it hard to get back in the writing groove.

This past year has been a bit of a roller coaster ride ending with a big jolt that has left me shaken. But now that my heart has slid from my throat back to its correct place in my body how do I return to writing about things of less importance?

How did you return to your make-believe world after dealing with something too real?

How did you get back your writing groove?

Any suggestions? Anyone?

PS: Summer is almost here, please wear helmets!

Talk to me – I love reading your comments.

Please head over and “like” my Facebook page at Facebook at jeanswriting . Or to connect with me, click the “write me” tab. Don’t forget you can follow me on StumbleUpon,  on Twitter @jeancogdell , and

Please stop by and say “hey!”  I’ll leave a light on. 

Bicycle Safety Tips 

Why Is Bicycle Safety So Important?

Head Injuries and Bicycle Safety


Walmart sale for under $10

Bell Sports Star Child Helmet, Green


What is the difference between suspense and tension in a story?

I know it’s hard to decide.

Suspense, and tension work hand in glove throughout a good story. The chills, thrills, big and small are what keep us turning the pages.

Here is a reblog of a post from Ryan Lanz and his guest blogger John Briggs about how to add ratchet up tension in your story: 

Favorite Writing Advice: Adding Tension to Your Story

Until recently I always thought I preferred a more direct fast paced action. What changed my mind? A book that was written with page after page of subtle clues that built suspense and tension with emotions.

This book was also written in two of my least favorite formats. Head-hopping and non-linear. You know what I mean. Where each chapter is from a different person’s point of view and the story jumps back and for over a span of time.  Yet, I couldn’t stop reading.

Why? Because I had to find out what happened.

The story is about a neighborhood and the domino effect that happens when one misunderstanding after another leads to problems. Throw in a stalker, control freak, drugs, booze, kids and you have a recipe for one big mess.

Fractured by Catherine McKenzie is a five-star read!

Fractured by [McKenzie, Catherine]

But which do you prefer?

The blood and guts action or subtle building of suspense?

Talk to me – I love reading your comments.

Please head over and “like” my Facebook page at Facebook at jeanswriting . Or to connect with me, click the “write me” tab. Don’t forget you can follow me on StumbleUpon,  on Twitter @jeancogdell , and

Please stop by and say “hey!”  I’ll leave a light on. 

More great articles for your reading pleasure below!

Suspense versus Tension

What’s the Difference Between Conflict and Tension?

Do you know how to write good exposition background?

And how to avoid info-dumping?

FYI, I’ve been working on my latest book for the past year and boy-howdy this has been a big issue for me.

Not sure what writing with good exposition is?

It’s like beautiful painting when done right. But done wrong, turns into ugly info-dumping.

Too much information in a story all at once drives me nuts. How to weave it in so the seamlessly so that the reader absorbs the information without distraction, now that takes a little talent and a lot of hard work.

So what is the difference between info-dumping and good exposition?

Bridget over at Now Novel (link below) just wrote a terrific blog post that gives us examples to live by. And for me, this couldn’t come at a better time. I just finished ripping about a thousand words from my WIP because it contained too much info.

What did I learn about writing “good exposition” from this post?

  1. With dialog, make it realistic.
    • Remember how people have conversations. No one dumps their family history all at once when they meet a stranger.
  2. Use to set up the history of a place.
    • I can use a characters’ present and their past or even future, to flesh out historical details of their lives. But it’s important to merge the description with the scene settings.
  3. Write descriptions with rich atmosphere.
  4. A character’s personality.
    • Peppering a scene showing glimpses of a character’s personality, development, fears, loves, hopes, etc. can make the character 3D.
  5. Open by describing puzzling, dramatic events before the novel begins.
    • Sowing curiosity, in the beginning, can develop a reader’s desire to search for an answer.

This is just a glimpse at the information Now Novel shares about avoiding info-dumping and writing with good exposition.

To read the entire post click on this link. 

Good exposition examples: Narrating your story’s background

My tip… 

  • Read, read and read some more. Read good books, bad books, newspapers and magazine articles. Because unlike TV, and movies these venues must engage the customer with words. Fake news is a good example. These writers paint such a vivid picture readers fall for the story.

Did it help you understand how to avoid info-dumping?

Do you have any tips to share that will help me write better descriptive scenes?

Tell me, how you insert information.

I love your comments, keep them coming.

Please head over and “like” my Facebook page at Facebook at jeanswriting . Or to connect with me, click the “write me” tab. Don’t forget you can follow me on StumbleUpon,  on Twitter @jeancogdell , and

Please stop by and say “hey!”  I’ll leave a light on. 

Another good post, keep reading!

How to Start Your Mystery Novel By

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Are you forgetful? Do you need a list?

A shopping list? A to-do list? Christmas list? Repair list?

Me? Oh yes! I’m lost without a list for everything. I’ve lists on my phone, on the fridge, on my desk, and in my computer.

I can hear you. Yes, they overlap but how else will I have the list when I need it.

But I’d never thought about making lists for my story or for my characters!

What a wonderful idea.

Not only have I divided it up into sections but also made lists for my characters and scenes.

I even made my protagonist an anal list maker. How fun. 

My manuscript now has lists (steps) that the characters must complete in each scene.

Okay, I heard you. Yes, it’s a lot like scene goals, but I’m breaking it down a little further. For me it’s working to break through a bit of stalled writers slow down, I’ve had lately.

Click and Read Janes post –

How Lists Inform Our Writing, Our World 

Tell me have you ever made “lists” for a scene or character to fulfill? 

What do you think of my list idea?

Talk to me – I love reading your comments.

Please head over and “like” my Facebook page at Facebook at jeanswriting . Or to connect with me, click the “write me” tab. Don’t forget you can follow me on StumbleUpon,  on Twitter @jeancogdell , and

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