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  • Brian Peterson

Writing Weather

Hello from the recently thawed land that is Kansas. After a couple of weeks with temperatures as cold as Canada, we never knew 37° could feel so toasty. It’s been Reading Weather—or in my case, Writing Weather. Of course, not long later we were even warmer.

With Paper Doll in editing, I’ve been looking into various marketing options and outlining my next novel—and the two after that. I plan to begin writing, in a couple of months, a sci-fi trilogy (and to my shock, I already have titles for all three in the series). The plan is to outline all three before I begin writing in order to build the story as a three-book story. By knowing the entire story before I write it, I will be able to make the trilogy flow better. I wouldn’t want to kill off a character in Book 1 and then regret it in Book 3, for example.


Most of the time, a book (or movie) series is written one individual installment at a time, with the writer saying, “Hmm. Where do I want to go with the story this time?” Back when George Lucas wrote the original Star Wars movie, what we now know as Episodes IV, V, and VI were intended to be one film. As he wrote it, he came to the realization that the story would be far too long, and he didn’t want to cut out great ideas he had. His options were to either chop it up and make it one story you and I would not recognize today, or make three films. You know which route he took, and the results turned him into a film industry giant.

Back to the Future, parts II and III, were written as one story, as well.


The point is not that my trilogy will be the next Star Wars, but that a trilogy should be three distinct yet cohesive stories wrapped into one. Then it’s just a matter of effective execution (strong storytelling).


After completing a research-heavy project like Paper Doll (see prior blogs), simply creating a story next time will be a delight. I don’t have to worry about describing a fictional planet “just right” because you haven’t been there, either. And it doesn’t exist, so I really can’t mix up the facts.


An excerpt from Paper Doll is below.


Take advantage of the waning winter; read a book. In fact, I know a good sci-fi or two good psychological thrillers for you—or for friends and family, if you recommend me to others.

I look forward to the day I can announce a publication date for Paper Doll. Until then, stay warm.


Brian W. Peterson

Somewhere on the edge of the Great Plains



A brief excerpt from Chapter 4 of Paper Doll.

* * *

Minot, North Dakota, did not hold any records for remoteness, but to Bud, it should have. When a Conservation Corps friend decided a weekend with friends in Williston was in order, Bud jumped at the offer to take the 125-mile trip. A day of digging potatoes out of the ground at his camp was enough to make anyone want to flee.

After showers back at the barracks and weekend passes in hand, the two young men hit the road, west on US Highway 2, in time to arrive in the small town of 5,800 during the Friday night revelries of its young citizens. Much smaller than Minot’s population of 17,000, but far from the hot July potato field, Bud and his new-found friend Stanley, in their borrowed 1938 Ford Coupe, pulled into the parking lot of the Williston skating rink.

The sleek, rounded black car, with its fat white walls and unusual headlights—not quite round but not quite tear-drop—growled like a leopard ready to attack as it slid to a stop only a few feet from a small group of youth.

“Stanley!” a young lady called out, impressed by the car and happy to see him.

“Look who just blew in,” one of the boys called out.

“Hiya, kids!” Stanley climbed out of the two-door as he greeted the group.

“How’s the hard work? They turning you into a he-man?”

The group of seven was now nine, with four girls and five boys.

“Nah, I can’t kick,” Stanley answered Kendal, who was about to start a job with the railroad. “They’re paying me, so everything’s swell.”

“Look at that. Stanley’s rich. Look at that car!” Harold Hilb, who was usually called by his surname, laughed with a loud snort.

Seventeen-year-old Stanley laughed and shook his head. “No, that’s not mine. I borrowed that from a friend. The CC is pinching my jeans.”

The group laughed again, but Chrissy’s attention was focused elsewhere. The brunette eyed Bud as she questioned her friend. “Aren’t you gonna introduce us to your friend?”

Bud had only wandered as far as the front bumper.

“Oh. Sorry.” Stanley looked at Bud, then gestured toward the group. He carried his friend’s attention from right to left. “This is June, Eddie, Sandy, Harold, Hazel, and Kendal.” He paused as a wry grin enveloped him.

Chrissy glared at Stanley as she fought a smile from overtaking her. With an exaggerated display of disdain, the darkness hid her pretty blue Nordic eyes and the twinkle which floated Bud’s way.

Stanley laughed a loud, hearty laugh. “And this fiery dame is Chrissy Anderson.”

Bud’s step toward her provided concealment for his moderate shyness around women. “Hello,” he said with a gentle tone and smile.

Chrissy froze for a moment before blurting out, “I envy the girl who gets you some day!”

The group laughed, except Bud and Chrissy. Before she could finish her exclamation, embarrassment painted her cheeks red. She physically recoiled in horror at her boldness, taking a step away from her new acquaintance. Bud’s smile eased her tension as he erased the added distance.

“I’m Bud Peterson, but you can call me Pete.”

* * *

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