How We Write Our Blog

Good afternoon. It is Gigi the parti poodle here on my usual Thursday. Today I have brought my novelist along with me. We have chosen to take a week off from storytelling before I begin my next tale so we can discuss how we go about doing our weekly blog post. First, however, I must say we had a wild and wacky Halloween here. We got a record number of trick or treaters which was delightful. I barked and ran for the door even more than usual.

We had planned for thirty spooky guests not thinking we would ever get that many. But not only did we get thirty we got quite a few more. My novelist, however, was prepared for an overrun. She’d set up a station before the festivities began, to bring extra treats out should we get more revelers than expected. And part way through the evening both of us were getting worried. The Maltese, as usual, slept through it all. We did treat bags this year that we preset earlier in the day so that every bag had an even amount of Halloween loot. But when we started to get low on our original batch, we had to start packing more bags. And after packing a few more bags more trick or treaters wiped those out as well. Finally, we got caught up and had enough treat bags to hand out by the time the evening ended. But it was touch and go for a while there. Next year we shall be even more prepared.

Greetings. I am Karen and I am a writer. Alright, Gigi. Would you like to discuss how we go about preparing our weekly blog?

Certainly. Firstly, the blog is broken into three parts: my introduction, one chapter of my story and a Stream of the Week which is a film, miniseries, or television show chosen by my novelist. Secondly, I do not write my blog story in the same way my novelist would pen a book. The difference is I do a speed writing session twice a week and take what I have spilled out on the page and refine it into the next blog chapter. Once the blog is posted I do not change or rewrite the story. I only go back and correct say a spelling or grammar error if I come across one. Otherwise, once it’s published on the blog, I must figure out how the next chapter of the story is going to fit. It’s a bit of a by the seat of my poodle pants way of writing. The idea for me taking over the blog was to see if I could connect the next blog post to the former one and end up with a complete story. Guerilla writing as it were.   

My novelist’s books by contrast are written with deeper research and more extensive rewriting. For example, my novelist may spend weeks or sometimes months studying the subject she wishes to write about. And the research for each novel is different. For instance, Chicane required interviewing expert race car and ski experts and reading several books on the subject to create the setting and characters for the story. She also spent days watching and rewatching film footage of the geographical terrain where the story takes place.

Musicology required she watch hours and hours’ worth of reality music shows to capture the essence of the competitions and their competitors. She had to draw upon her experiences visiting Burbank, California to create an authentic setting. Also, many of the characters have regional American accents that had to be carefully and consistently structured into the dialogue. As an example, one of the characters bounces back and forth between English and German and the character’s quirks had to remain consistent throughout the books.

There was an abundance of scientific research that went into her most recent novel. It required she read many books and technical papers and watched several interviews to infuse not just plausible but accurate scientific information into the story. She drew from her year long experience living in the community in which the story takes place to create realistic characters and settings. She also studied maps of the area to weave in details and quirks that one would not know about if one were not immersed in the actual location.

When we write our weekly blog, my story is usually the first part that gets finished. And if I do say so myself it is the most difficult part. The second most difficult part is choosing a movie of the week. Alright, my dear novelist, why don’t you talk about how you do the Stream of the Week portion.     

Thank you, Gigi. Each movie I choose must be playing on one of the streamers or on rare occasions YouTube. I do not choose movies one would have to purchase separately that are not streaming on any service. Gigi and I draw from Netflix, Amazon Prime, HBO Max, Peacock, Hulu, Apple+, Showtime and Paramount +. We may in the future draw from Roku as well. Hint, hint. Sometimes we may go in with high hopes for a film but find it falls short and then we must view a different one. We also try to point out some interesting facts about each choice if possible. Most of the time we try to choose films that may get passed over by viewers otherwise. Some of the films are newer and some are classics. The reason I like to do a stream of the week comes from my background in theatre and writing.  

Oddly, despite the large number of films available to stream these days, many audience members seem to gravitate towards movies which lack complexity, subtext, and structure. We tend to agree with the idea that superhero films are not cinema. Cinema requires a certain level of depth most superhero films don’t provide. There are some exceptions like Unbreakable, but most superhero films are specifically designed for entertainment and not for depth and do not qualify as cinema.

Cinema has to say something insightful about the human condition. And it often stands the test of time. This means it must have multi-layered characters, a well-structured arc, and a rock-solid premise. What we mean by a premise is a debate. For instance, if you were to look on the poster of The Usual Suspects it says, “The truth is always the last place you look”. That is the film’s premise and the argument it is trying to prove which it does very well. The Memento film poster says, “Some memories are best forgotten” which is the premise for that film, and it too proves its argument brilliantly. The original meaning of the word “actor” is plaintiff or lawyer. A person who states a case. If a film does not present a profound argument and fails to prove it well, it is probably not cinema. Some cinema is more character based and some is more plot based but the rule remains the same. The armature of the story must be a profound argument.

Now, not every film we pick is cinema. Some entertaining films are well worth the watch and so we choose some of those from time to time. But one cannot live on cotton candy alone. One must have nutrition. So, the criteria for choosing a Stream of the Week is that most choices must have substance to them. Alright, Gigi. Back to you.

Thank you. Finally, there is my introduction. I try to keep this brief, breezy and mostly off the cuff with the hopes it gives the reader something light and refreshing to start off with like an appetizer. Sometimes the Maltese will join me to add some flavor to the mix. And that is how my novelist and I construct our blog. Next week I will present the first chapter of my new story.

My name is Tucker, and I am a Maltese.

Get out of here! We’ve already finished!

But I wanted to talk about my contribution to the blog.

That’s delusional. You contribute nothing. Besides, you’re too late. Here’s a dog cookie.

Oh, goodie!

Thank you, dear reader for dropping by. Until next week, adieu.


You can check out my books Chicane and the five installments of my Musicology book series Musicology: Volume One, Baby!Musicology: Volume Two, Kid!Musicology: Volume Three, Twist!Musicology: Volume Four, Sweetie! and Musicology: The Epiquad on Amazon in Kindle and Paperback editions. You can also check out Musicology’s web site at and vote for who you think will win Musicology!!!


Rounding out our recommended Halloween films is this brilliant tense thriller of which its climax is considered the tenth scariest scene of all time by Bravo and ranks as the fifty-fifth scariest film of all time by the AFI. One of the things that makes this movie so great is it takes place almost entirely in a basement apartment in Greenwich Village which goes to show that you don’t need a lot of CGI and pyrotechnics to engage an audience.

The movie starts out with a twenty-something woman named Lisa (Samantha Jones) taking an airplane from Montreal, Canada to New York City. In her possession is a doll. Sewn inside the doll’s body is a fortune in heroine. At the airport Lisa by chance meets another passenger, professional photographer Sam Hendrix (Ephram Zimbalist Jr.). She asks Sam to hold onto the doll for her and she will pick it up from him later. As she is leaving the airport, however, she is confronted by a strange man who escorts her off.

A couple days later two conmen Mike Talman (Richard Crenna) and Carlino (Jack Weston) arrive at an apartment thinking it is Lisa’s, ready to pick up the heroine. What they find instead is the truly creepy Harry Roat (brilliantly played by Alan Arkin) the strange man who escorted Lisa off at the airport. He is dressed in leather, sporting midnight black hair and dark round wire-rim glasses. Mike and Carlino find Lisa’s body in the bedroom closet and realize Roat has offed her. They also find out the apartment does not belong to Lisa but rather to Sam Hendrix and his young wife Susy (Audrey Hepburn in a fantastic Oscar nominated performance) who lost her sight in a car accident. Roat blackmails Mike and Carlino into helping him dispose of Lisa’s body and assist him in locating the heroine filled doll. Roat is certain Suzy knows where the doll is and employing his two new henchman designs an intricate sting to get Suzy to reveal its whereabouts by using her blindness against her. The name Harry means “Home Ruler” and Roat is an archaic spelling of the word rote which means an unthinking routine or repetition. Susy means “Lily” and her last name Hendricks ironically also means “Home Ruler”.  

Suzy relies a lot on a twelve-year old girl named Gloria (Julie Herrod) who picks up groceries and other necessities for Suzy while Sam is at work. She comes and goes into the Hendrix’s apartment at will and has taken the doll for herself and hidden it in her apartment.   

The film is based on the play of the same name by Frederick Knott which premiered at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre on February 2, 1966, with Lee Remick playing Susy Hendricks and Robert Duval playing Harry Roat. Julie Herod played Gloria in both the play and the film. The play was so well liked by Warner Bros, they released it as a film on October 26, 1967. The fantastic Henry Mancini wrote the music. The budget was 3 million dollars. It made 17.5 million dollars. If you have never seen it, you really, really should.

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