Writing on Research: Hypothermia from Water Submersion

tmp_9796-water-4188_1280420314986How quickly does hypothermia come on after cold water submersion? At what temperature is hypothermia a higher risk? How quick is recovery from mild hypothermia?

These are just a few of the questions I needed to answer for my book. Fortunately it’s one of those topics that doesn’t really change with time, although the answers do vary based on specific conditions.

I found the answers to my questions and lots of other useful information in these links.

Hypothermia Prevention: Survival in Cold Water (Minnesota Sea Grant)

This site is one of many that includes a “how long can a person survive in cold water” table.

Teaching the Cold Facts (Beyond Cold Water Boot Camp)

Includes more videos and graphs than most of the other sites I found. I sometimes need the visuals to understand new ideas, so this was helpful.

Hypothermia (Wikipedia)


Water Temperature Table for All Coastal Regions (NOAA)

If your water situation occurs in the ocean, this seems a valuable tool.

See the (short but growing) complete list of researched topics here.

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Secretly Building


Much like the last post, I have not been idle in my time away.

After a wild fire chased us off our mountain home, we found ourselves in an unfinished basement. Two bedrooms and a bathroom later, we welcomed our 5th child. Then we bought a fixer-upper house, I wrote a couple children’s books, and I unsuccessfully tried a pseudonym.

I learned a lot of what not to do in the marketing/ publishing department. (Thank you, so much, to my faithful friends who are still with me in this writing journey!)

With new writing projects looming, I’m trying a different approach. I’m not sure what this blog will turn into, so for now I’m content to keep it lost in the noise of the internet.

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Writing on Research: The Car Chase


The service van slammed on its brakes to avoid hitting us. I grinned at the two startled faces and took aim with the super soaker. (Novel, WIP)

tmp_11624-muscle-car-1155884_1280-1538765505I’ve just finished writing my first ever car chase scene. For a first draft, it’s…well, it’s terrible. Like all my first drafts. Only afterwards did I think to check the internet for insights, and now I have a page of notes to mentally chew on before my first round of revisions.

The page I found most useful was a thread on Reddit. The whole thing was interesting, but this comment in particular proved incredibly helpful.

One of the recurring thoughts in almost every website I visited is not to get bogged down in the details. Keep the momentum going, and let the reader fill in the gaps with their own imaginations. tmp_11624-taxi-842341_1280-700805876

A number of places recommended reading movie scripts to get a sense of what’s important and what’s not, and so I landed on whatascript.com’s entry on car chases. It was a fascinating read. Also, there was a snippet of screenplay from one of the The Bourne Supremacy car chases, so that’s, you know, cool.

See the (short but growing) complete list of researched topics here.

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Pen Wending news

This blog has been inactive for over a year, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been writing!

Over the spring and summer months I wrote out a children’s story that has been in my imagination for…well, for as long as I’ve been writing, actually.

I now feel I’m in a place with it to pursue the next step…representation!

Behold, the Scary Thing that is the query letter. The single most important page I’ve ever written to date.

I spent a week researching and hours upon hours of reading. At some point, though, you’ve got to tell yourself “enough reading, time for action.”

Enter two days ago, when I finally sat down to draft the letter.

“Dear FirstName LastName:”

Then I got up, because who wants to ruin a perfectly good start with self-conscious wanderings of the tongue?

I’m a firm believer that the right word (or words) makes all the difference, and I’m not so arrogant as to think I’ll get all the right words down the first time, it’s just…this is a huge step!

In light of this next step, I’m putting together a test team. Once the letter is done, I will email it to the team for reactions. Hopefully that way I’ll catch any flaws before the real queries go out!

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AtS Update

So, there will be a bit of a break between the stories for a couple reasons. The sequel wasn’t flowing the way it should, and while I’ve come up with a fix, it requires going back to near the beginning and re-working some stuff throughout the storyline. Shortly after I undertook the change, a wildfire forced my attention onto other things. Like needing to be ready to evacuate. A chain reaction began, and while the fire is now gone we’re continuing to pack up the house and move off our mountainside.

Instead of writing 2-3 pages a day, I’m writing 2-3 sentences. Some days I’m not able to pick up the pen at all. Re-working the story is going to be a long process, but I am still working on it and it’s coming together very smoothly. I’m hopeful that I can start releasing installments in another couple weeks.

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Uncertain about the sequel.

Writing up ORD, I felt pretty confident from start to finish about the flow of it. The balance of action to non-action, dialogue to description, etc. It’s kind of a quirky story to me, stemming from a dream and all, but at least I felt like it actually went somewhere.

I’m having real trouble with AtS, and as I write this I’m not sure if it’s going to work or not. The beginning is alright, I suppose, but then it has some action and was kind of already written for me anyway. I just smoothed it out. But how interesting will a courting story really be? With the exception of the beginning, there’s not much in the way of tension or conflict outside of Anita’s personal struggle with her past. In my opinion, that kind of emotional conflict can get old pretty quickly, so I’m trying to be really careful of that.

I have been trying to think of a way to incorporate some of what John does into the story, but since it’s from Anita’s POV there’s not a whole lot I can do there. I thought of a mission story or two in letters or emails, but because his team is entirely covert it would have to be rather general, and then it goes back to how interesting would it be to a reader?

I’m still writing it, still plugging away, but right now I’m feeling kind of lost.

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I’ve got it!

Not too long after writing the last post, I found myself browsing through my binders of WIPs, looking for inspiration. Help. Something.

Then I landed on a piece-meal story that started out as a dream and grew into a little more. Based on the date on the original section, I was 18 when I wrote it. As I read through the snippets, I realized that my younger self had more relationship insight than I remembered. Not only that, certain elements felt eerily familiar. They mirrored closely how The Dearliest and I interacted during our friendship and courtship, and that’s when it occurred to me to blend the old with the new!

So now I’m working on binding the story together. My young self wrote the major plot points already (as such they are…once you reach the top rung, the story is little more than a romance), but there’s all the in-between stuff yet to do. And an end. Like most dreams, I woke up before the end, but fortunately I have experience to draw from now and an end shouldn’t be too difficult.

On that note, I would like to complain that the first section happens at a flooding church and the second section happens at a flooding hospital. It took me THREE DAYS to write the characters from one scene to the other. This has the foreshadowing of being much more difficult than I first supposed, but I will persevere. Anita must meet her John.

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