Tinker Mountain 2015 – My Writing Tribe

The countdown calendar to the right of this post indicates that, as of today, I have seven days to go before the 2015 Tinker Mountain Writers Workshop. I find it amazing this is my fourth one! Three years ago about this time, I was having big second thoughts. For one, I’d never had my work critiqued by strangers, much less a well-respected, actual writer who was my workshop instructor. To say I was a nervous Nellie would freshen that cliché.

But 2012 was all positive with the incredible Pinckney Benedict; 2013 was amazing with the insightful Fred Leebron; and 2014 was an eye-opening experience with a master of genre writing, Laura Benedict. So much so, I’m re-taking her workshop this year, and I hope what I’ve submitted embodies everything I learned from her last year.

As critical as the workshop is now to my writing, the making of writer friends is, in some ways, more important. I have a circle of extremely talented writers who’ll beta-read what I’ve done and point out exactly what I need to do to make it better. More importantly, because we have that shared workshop experience, I respect their opinions. There is no sense of competition; just genuine, meaningful critique. What more could you ask for in a writing workshop?

So, today, I’m positively giddy. I can’t wait for Sunday to get here to head the loaded car south to Roanoke, set foot on the absolutely gorgeous campus of Hollins University (an inspiration in and of itself), and see my writing tribe.

Oh, and, I might get a writing themed tattoo while I’m there. Gasp!

Weapon As Character – TMWW Part 1

I was just like a kid anticipating going to Disney World in the few weeks before Tinker Mountain Writers Workshop. I was positively giddy, so excited was I to see old and new writer friends, to workshop my genre MS, to meet the instructors, to conduct the student readings–everything. (Well, everything except perhaps the beds in the freshman dorm at Hollins University where the TMWW attendees are housed.) I mean, my suitcases were in the car two days before I left.

Dinner on Sunday was a big reunion for thirteen of us who were TMWW “alums.” That meant thirty-seven of the attendees were new to the workshop, some new to the concept of workshopping entirely. After dinner, we met with our instructors to go over the schedule for the week; then, we made our way to the student activity center for faculty readings. Emilia Phillips read her poetry, and Laura Benedict, who was my instructor for “Enhancing Your Genre Writing,” read from her new release, Bliss House.

This year, the craft seminars and the workshops exchanged places, meaning we had workshop from 0900 to 1200 in the morning, and the craft lectures from 1300 to 1400 in the afternoon. Now, the good news was three unencumbered hours in the afternoon to read, write, do workshop exercises, or have your post-critique conference. However, because we backed up against lunch in the morning workshop sessions, they felt rushed to me, and we were constantly aware of the clock. In past years, when the craft lecture was from 0900 to 1000, we had two hours of free time before lunch. Afternoon workshops went from 1300 to 1600 (the same number of hours), but if you went a little long, you still had time before dinner to work in a conference or even some free time. At the end of the week, there was an informal poll about having workshop in the morning, and it was overwhelmingly in favor of that. Oh, well.

The first craft seminar on Monday was “The Weapon as Character,” given by Pinckney Benedict, my instructor from my first time at TMWW. It was pure Pinckney. He opened the seminar with Mussorgsky’s “Pictures from an Exhibition,” followed by an excerpt from “The Walking Dead,” a popular television show about the zombie apocalypse. He used Mussorgsky to illustrate the concept of “ekphrasis,” or using one form of art to describe/define another. Mussorgsky wrote “Pictures at an Exhibition” to be a virtual stroll through an exhibition of paintings by an artist who was a close friend and who had died prematurely, Viktor Hartmann. The ten movements each focus on a specific painting by Hartmann, e.g., Baba Yaga’s hut or the Great Gates of Kiev (my personal favorite). This, according to Pinckney, is the epitome of ekphrasis–a musician describing paintings, paintings which were subsequently lost in a fire so that the music is the only depiction of many of them.

“The Walking Dead” sequence was a scene with the character Michonne, who carries a specific type of sword to fight zombies, a katana (aka a samurai sword, so designed and worn the wielder could draw and attack in a single motion). This in and of itself is already defining the character of Michonne, since the traditional way to kill zombies is a head shot with a gun. She chooses an ancient weapon, one specifically designed for close-quarter, hand-to-hand combat. Yes, it would be easier to grab a gun and fire away, but her way, she has to confront her enemy directly; she has to look into their dead eyes as she kills them. Re-kills them?

At first we see her confronting a zombie who looks remarkably like her and that appears to put her off her game. Then, she draws the katana and begins to fight, conquering an overwhelming number of zombies. The character at that point is the katana, which seems to have a mind of its own while dispatching the walking dead. This, per Pinckney, is the perfect example of a weapon becoming a character itself. “Michonne would not be Michonne without her katana,” he explained. I don’t watch the show because, frankly, my dreams would be full of zombies, and that’s just too unpleasant for me; however, I might have to watch some episodes because I’m now intrigued by Michonne and her choice of weapon.

Pinckney acknowledged the potential controversy in having a weapon as a character, and then dismissed the controversy by saying that if you don’t like weapons, don’t write stories that feature them. Amen. I encounter this myself. I write about spies. Spies on occasion use weapons. I’ve had people declare to me they won’t read my work because my characters carry guns. Okay, that’s fine. I respect that, but respect my personal writing choices in return.

After we tossed about some characters who are so closely associated with their weapons that, if they didn’t have the weapon, they would no longer be that character, we discussed the pros and cons of including weapons in our work–beyond the Chekhov adage that if you show a gun in the beginning it has to be fired before the end. Research, research, research, Pinckney emphasized because if you go on what you assume to be true about a weapon and an expert in that weapon reads your work and finds your knowledge lacking, it will color his or her opinion of the whole work. And, Pinckney says, the weapon has to fit the person and the setting and the time period of your work–unless, of course, you write Steampunk. Then, you can be very inventive.

In a recent piece of historical fiction I wrote, I had a soldier from World War II use a bazooka against a German Tiger Tank. That involved researching not only the types of bazookas used in World War II (and selecting the appropriate one), it also meant researching the Tiger Tank’s vulnerabilities (few though they were), all for a brief mention of the bazooka’s range of effectiveness.

You do that, in the world according to Pinckney, to be authentic, and if you’re authentic, he said, people will read your work and want more.

Next installment: Workshopping genre fiction and additional craft seminars.

Getting Ready for Tinker Mountain

TMWW logoI’ve made my to-do list for the next week so come Sunday afternoon, I can hit the road and arrive in Roanoke for this year’s Tinker Mountain Writer’s Workshop. It’s the tenth anniversary, with a lot of extra workshops and new instructors. As usual I’m nervous, excited, and, well, nervous.

The past two years have been very positive experiences. Last year, for example, led to having an agent review a manuscript. (He turned it down but said lots of positive things.) The first year I attended was the first time any of my MSS had been critiqued by total strangers, and they liked it, they really liked it. This year is the first time a portion of one of my genre MSS is being critiqued by strangers. The workshop I’m attending is “Crafting High Quality Genre Fiction,” and the instructor is Laura Benedict. She also happens to be the spouse of my first Tinker Mountain instructor, Pinckney Benedict.

The forty pages I sent in comes from an MS titled A War of Deception, which is loosely based on the Robert Hansenn spy case from the early 2000s. I say loosely because it started out as a fictionalized version of that event with my U.N. spy characters in the mix. It turned into a study of revenge when what I intended to be a subplot became the main plot. The title comes from a Sun Tzu quote in the Art of War, one of my favorite books: “All warfare is based on deception.”

I’m sure I’ve mentioned my love affair with the Art of War before. I had the audio book on my iPod and listened to it every day on the way to work. It was that kind of workplace at times. Plus, Sun Tzu has a lot to say about spies and espionage which resonates today.

Anyway, the nervousness comes from having my genre fiction workshopped. It’s a first, though the material workshopped in my first Tinker Mountain visit was a speculative fiction piece I submitted because I didn’t have anything else ready. However, I don’t consider myself a speculative fiction writer. A lot of my flash fiction falls into that genre but only because I’m not sure I could sustain a full-length spec fic novel, even that particular manuscript. It seems I inadvertently channelled Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale when I wrote it for NaNoWriMo a few years ago. When Pinckney encouraged me to work on that MS, I explained about the striking similarity to Atwood’s dystopian piece–“Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery,” he said. Ms. Atwood may not think so, however.

This year’s MS is one of my “historical thrillers,” to borrow a term from Alan Furst, a writer of espionage fiction I hope to emulate. It’s got a mole in the FBI, sex, violence, marital discord, and two mysteries to be solved. I hope I have a third great experience. Even if the rest of the workshop hates it– Ack! Let’s not put that in my head!

So, off to do laundry, water plants, and pack, etc., and be ready for a worthwhile week of workshopping, craft lectures, and writer friends that is Tinker Mountain Writer’s Workshop.

Tinker Mountain Day One

“The only way to bring your novel to the final level is to address what worries you the most about it.”

So said workshop instructor Fred Leebron after having us answer, to ourselves, three questions he posed:

What excites you most about your novel?

What worries you most about your novel?

What do you want to accomplish in your novel?

The answers to those questions should all be the same, and that’s where you have to focus during the revision process. For me, the answer to all three was “It’s a radical departure from what I usually write.”

And this is just one example of a constant three hours of mental exercises about the novel excerpts we submitted for the workshop. It was a grueling yet very enlightening afternoon, preceded by Pinckney Benedict’s morning craft lecture “From Page to Screen.”

Benedict explained that when you attempt to bring a work to the screen, you can be successful only through “the power of collaboration.” He described the collaboration not only between him and the filmmaker but between them and the small town where they shot the very (very) low-budget movie version of one of Benedict’s most anthologized short stories, “Miracle Boy.”

Much of the collaboration Benedict acknowledges is accidental but because he and the filmmaker had a strong professional and personal relationship before the project, there was automatic trust. Benedict knew his friend would do his story justice.

We got to view the seventeen-minute film, which richly brought to life the short story I was very familiar with. “Thinking cinematically,” Benedict said, “helps you write how things look.”

Probably his best advice of the craft lecture was, “While you write, indulge the fantasy that your writing will win a Pulitzer or will become a movie. Why not? You can always dream.”

Leebron’s craft discussion on the first day of the workshop was intense and packed with information–he accompanied his presentation with a thirty-two page handout. It was complex yet simple in content. It’s all stuff I’ve heard before in various writing classes and workshops; yet, it was far more coherent and better explained than I’ve ever experienced. Conflict, for example, is far more complicated than we think and yet expressed in such simple terminology.

Leebron moved on to narrative arcs (using the example of The Great Gatsby), how to write movement in your work, how to make your work resonate, and more. It was a ten-pages-of-notes day. Great stuff.

Tomorrow is the first of the critiques, and I’m up second, purely by coincidence of having a last name that begins with D and close to the top of the alphabet. The craft lecture for tomorrow is by poet Thorpe Moeckel, and his topic is “Food and Drink in Poetry: The Techniques, Trappings, and Themes.”

In the evening is the time set aside for student readings, and I signed up and will read my short story, “Marakata,” which recently took third place in a contest.

Another busy day to look forward to.

What’s on Tap – Tinker Mountain Day One

On Sunday evening we had our orientation and meeting with our instructors, after a tasty dinner, dessert, and wine. Yeah, this is my kind of workshop.

One thing is clear: Fred Leebron is going to challenge us in the Advanced Novel workshop, and that’s what we’re here for. Our “homework” is to spend thirty minutes tomorrow morning thinking about the novel project we submitted an excerpt of and to ask ourselves two questions about it: How much is it taking on, and what are we leaving unasked?

All fine and good. I do this sort of thing all the time and make notes. Fred’s twist? We’re to think about it for thirty minutes without writing or making notes. After thirty minutes we can write away. The “thinking” should be about the whole book, not just the excerpt. An interesting concept, and I know it will be hard for me not to pick up a pen for thirty minutes. Oh, and during that thirty minutes–no music, no radio, no internet, no video streaming, just thinking. Oy!

He’s also leaving us wondering about the order in which we’ll be critiqued. Last year I wondered why I was last. This year it’s a different fretting, then–when will I be critiqued. Trust me, there’s always something to fret about.

Tomorrow’s craft seminar features Pinckney Benedict (my instructor from last year), and his topic will be “From Page to Screen,” or taking a story and adapting it for film. In the past year, one of his stories, “Miracle Boy,” was made into a film, so it will be interesting to see how he adapted it.

The actual workshop starts in the afternoon, except again Fred is turning it upside down. No one will be critiqued Monday afternoon. We’ll introduce ourselves, discuss craft, and ask questions. There are seven in this workshop, including yours truly, and an auditor/observer. So, I think the discussions will be lively. It also means I need to get reading everyone else’s manuscript.

This year I couldn’t wait to get here, and I’m excited to get this party, I mean, workshop started.

No Foolin’

Today, I could have played a major April Fools joke on the rest of you by “announcing” that I’d just been offered a six-figure advance and a multiple-book contract from one of the “Big Six.” I could have, but I won’t because it’s likely the joke would be on me. So, no advance, no book contract; just constant editing and revising and hoping.

I get frustrated at times with the lack of new material I’m producing. I retired to have more time to write, and I have written more and more constantly than before I retired; but it seems at times that I do more re-writing than writing.

No difference, you say. Writing is writing. True, but I miss the mad rush of researching and drafting that comes with a whole new project. Granted, I participate in National Novel Writing Month every November, which means I have created five, original manuscripts in five years.

The first one was a semi-autobiographical piece, which, after re-reading it, I realized was 200+ pages of self-indulgent whining. It has, however, been a good source of short stories.

The second one I have edited, revised, and re-written to the point where it’s as ready as it will ever be for pitching to possible agents.

For the third one, I took a risk and killed off one of my characters, a bold move that turned out fairly well. It also helped me face the loss of my long-term relationship and address the emotions that involved; however, the character wasn’t ready to die and told me so. The good news is, I’m meshing this manuscript with another one I developed shortly after the events of September 11, 2001. So, all is not lost.

The fourth one is one that I really enjoyed writing. It’s the closest thing to a sci-fi novel I’ve ever written–a story about a dire future after the Tea Party takes over the government. Dark and political, it was a rough draft I was very proud of, and, in fact, the first 5,000 words I submitted for critique in last year’s Tinker Mountain Writers Workshop. The reception it received was awesome. (It helps that the workshop instructor, Pinckney Benedict, is a fan of dystopian fiction.) Then, I re-read Margaret Atwood’s, The Handmaid’s Tale, for a book club and went, “Oops.” It had been two decades almost since I first read The Handmaid’s Tale, but apparently I channeled Atwood when I wrote my manuscript. (Channeling Atwood could be a good thing.) However, since it got such good feedback, it’s definitely something to work on.

The fifth one, last year, was a completely different work for me, a straight-up literary fiction novel that intersects an event in a small town during World War II with an event in the same town in present day. The protagonist is a successful romance writer married to a not-so-successful novelist, and all is just lovely until they find the bones of a baby in the wall of a room they’re renovating. I always put a NaNoWriMo draft aside for six months before I start revising, so next month is when I’ll pull it out and start polishing it.

So, what am I whining about? Well, after an amazing amount of creativity in the late 1990s and early 2000s wherein I dashed out six novel-length manuscripts featuring my two favorite spies, Mai Fisher and Alexei Bukharin, as they work for the fictional United Nations Intelligence Directorate, I haven’t produced a new novel featuring them since 2002. Yes, I’ve been revising and re-writing all those original manuscripts, but I’ve missed creating a new adventure for them. I have been writing short stories featuring them (Spy Flash, published in December 2012), but aside from that, Mai and Alexei walked away from a mission in 2001; and we’ve heard nothing from them since.

You’ve written all you can about them, you might say. No, I feel they have a lot of adventures in them, and I’ve made notes about those adventures. Merely, focusing on improving my craft and establishing a bit of a name for myself as a flash fiction writer has become my immediate focus.

That’s why I need that multiple-book contract, publishers. I’ve always been well-motivated by deadlines, so take a chance. Tell me you want three books, four, or five, and I’ll get right on them.

Don’t forget, this is National Poetry Month. Take a break from fantasy or cozy mysteries and read a poet you’ve never read before.


Yesterday was Labor Day, so in solidarity and in gratitude for weekends, minimum wage, health benefits, and many other positive things organized labor has fought and some died for, I took the day off from writing.

Truth be told, since I returned from Tinker Mountain Writers Workshop two months ago, all I’ve been doing is revising, editing, and revising some more. Every time I faced doing something new–including blog posts–I had a lot more trouble getting started than I usually do. The editing and revising I was doing focused on “fixing” the common mistakes I learned about at Tinker Mountain and the other workshops/conferences I’ve attended this year.

I figured it was just me, having a bit of writer’s block. Then, one of my Tinker Mountain classmates e-mailed our group list and asked, “It is just me, or is anyone having trouble writing since the workshop?”

After a little happy dance that I wasn’t alone in this, several other writer friends from the workshop chimed in with the same lament. Then, our ever-wise instructor, Pinckney Benedict, silenced us all. “That’s the purpose of TMWW,” he said. “We push you and challenge you and wring you out so you have to go home and reboot.”

Oh. [Pushes reset button here.]

And, well, that makes perfect sense because what’s the purpose of a workshop if not to alter you in some positive way, especially something as intensive as Tinker Mountain? I think if we hadn’t come away needing to reboot, it would have been a waste of time and money.

I know some writers will find that scary. You’re satisfied with where your writing is, with your skill level; you don’t see how you could be a better writer. I’d counter that with, as with anything that requires skill, you’re in continual learning mode. I’ve had the same concern about pursuing an MFA: What will that do to the voice I’ve developed as a writer?

Yes, I was pretty happy (read complacent) with my writing before Tinker Mountain, but that reboot was exactly what my writing needed. I look at my work with less subjectivity now, and the revising/rewriting post-reboot is producing much better work.

A reboot can feel a lot like a boot in the ass, but, as with a good, swift kick, sometimes you need just that.

Tinker Mountain – Days 4 and 5

The last two days of the Tinker Mountain Writers Workshop were chock full of things to do and probably the best two days of learning I’ve had in a long time.

Thursday started with a craft seminar by Fred Leebron entitled “From Page to Screen,” a primer on adapting your or others’ works for a movie script. Leebron used clips from the film version of his book Six Figures and excerpts from the book itself to show how the screenwriter altered his book for the movie. To adapt successfully a script from a book, Leebron says, “You can’t be too loyal to the book,” but you have to distill the story down to who (protagonist) wants what (goal) and who opposes that (antagonist) then cut everything else.

There were lots of good tips on how to accomplish this, but perhaps I’ll blog on that at a later date.

The workshop session on Day 4 started with our reading aloud our homework from the night before: 1) a real dream and a fake dream, 2) a real event and a made-up event, 3) an author bio where one thing is fake, and 4) the worst opening to a novel or story ever.

The key for exercises 1, 2, and 3 was for your fellow workshoppers to find either dream or either event equally believable, i.e., that the fake one of either wasn’t obvious. The fake item in our bios–that’s the writer we want to be, according to Pinckney. The worst openings were a lot of fun, but we all may have learned too much–Pinckney loved them and said we all needed to continue with the stories we started! Well, I’ll leave it up to you. Here’s my “worst opening ever”–

She stood on the windy promentory, the incessant breeze lifting her long, soft, blond tresses of hair, which surrounded her heart-shaped face like an ethereal halo. The waves crashed against the rocks in time with her pounding pulse. If Roderigo was no more, then she could be no more. To live without his well-formed arms around her, without his perfect pecs hers to caress, was as impossible as ceasing to breathe. She jumped.

A tip from Pinckney: If you’re stuck in a scene in a story or novel, open a new file and write a bad version of it. That’ll clear your writer’s block in no time!

Then, it was hard to believe, but Day 5, the final day, rolled around. I was still dreading my critique, but I was at peace with it, despite a lot of tossing and turning during the night. I’d gotten to know the people in my workshop very well, and there wasn’t a mean person in the bunch. Their comments, I knew, would be worthwhile.

Day 5 started with a powerful craft seminar entitled “Turning to Literature for Writing Prompts: An Exercise in Reading as a Writer,” given by Dan Mueller. Mueller picked an unforgettable short story, “The Girl on the Plane,” by Mary Gaitskill and developed fifteen writing prompts from it. The story itself is about a man who boards a plane and ends up sitting next to a woman who reminds him of a girl he knew in college, a girl he rejected in a particularly horrific way.

A story, says Mueller, becomes unforgettable when there is an image in it, a powerful enough image that if you remove it, you have no story. The fifteen prompts from Gaitskill’s story illustrate what Mueller calls “the power of imagery.” I’m looking forward to writing fifteen stories from those prompts.

The final workshop session of the week started with an unusual exercise, one I’m not going to describe here because if anyone reading this takes a workshop from Pinckney Benedict (and you should), I don’t want to spoil it. The point of the exercise was for us as writers to understand the “allegory of self”–the place in your work where you find yourself, the place where you reveal yourself–and suffer the risk–as a writer.

And the dreaded hour arrived. Time for the critique. My stomach had been upset all morning. I knew I was being silly because I know I’m a good writer, but it’s that overwhelming insecurity you have when others read what you’ve written. I’d submitted the beginning to last year’s NaNoWriMo work, which was an apocalyptic piece about America after a right-wing takeover–not everybody’s cup of tea (no pun intended).

There were no negatives–even the few suggestions were logical, the things your writer’s blinders keep you from seeing. I did become emotional, but not for the reason I feared. I was so moved and uplifted by my fellow writers’ comments and raves I was almost overcome. I’m not going to describe the critique any further either, because I hold it in my heart with gratitude for a wonderful group of people I was privileged to meet and work with for five days–and that was not long enough.

My personal conference with Pinckney left me with a lot of thinking to do. I asked him what my next steps should be, and he indicated I was ready for a low-residency MFA. Wow.

A final panel, consisting of all the instructors, discussed the current state of publishing and how to break into it. Contests are one way, but every panelist emphasized you don’t get published unless you submit. None of the panelists were averse to self-publishing–at least, if they were, they didn’t speak up–but they also emphasized that anyone who self-publishes has to keep quality in mind at all times. Two of the instructors–Leebron and Benedict–have started their own, small publishing houses. They both are interested in new authors, and Benedict, in particular, indicated he prefers to deal directly with authors and not agents. A very thought-provoking and helpful final talk.

And then it was over. That was hard believe. We all felt as if we’d just arrived. We’d learned a lot, but we needed more. Next year seems so far away.

The week for me began on a low note of intimidation and insecurity, and it ended with seven new writer friends and a boost of confidence that will last me a lifetime. Tinker Mountain Writers Workshop is worth the time, the money, and the angst.

Tinker Mountain – Day Two

Yesterday, on day one, I contemplated buying an umbrella since I’d left mine at home. None of the ones offered in Hollins’ book store were small enough to fit in my backpack, so I opted not to buy one.

Later in the afternoon the skies opened and dropped buckets of water. For a couple of hours. I hung around after a lecture in the hopes of scoring a ride back to my dorm, knowing if I hiked through the rain, I’d be sick in a day or so. It turns out I got a ride from another former FAA-er who is attending the Advanced Novel Workshop. He was a speechwriter for a former administrator, and after chatting we figured out our paths had crossed before. I arrived back at the dorm relatively dry, and he was quite the gentleman–walking me to the door and holding the umbrella over me.

Because, as I well know, knights in shining armor are rare, this morning, I went to the book store and purchased a magic, green, rain-warding-off umbrella, and it’s been sunny all day long.

Today’s craft lecture was “Things Writers Can Write Besides Just Stories, Novels, and

Pinckney Benedict at the craft lecture “Things Writers Can Write Besides Just Stories, Novels, and Poems.”

Poems,” conducted by my workshop instructor, Pinckney Benedict. And being Pinckney Benedict, we weren’t treated to a mere lecture. There were TV show trailers, movie excerpts, graphic novels about the king of the hillbillies, interactive computer games, and a musical adaptation of The Scarlet Letter, all creations of Pinckney’s. And they served to show us there is a world beyond the novel, story, or poem, and that it’s perfectly all right as writers to play.

Play is a big part of Benedict’s workshop, Stretching Your Fiction. Paracosm is a new word I learned, and it means “a prolonged fantasy world invented by children.” Benedict explained that writers, as children, were big into “Let’s pretend…” All our friends grew out of that stage, but we didn’t. Keeping play in our writing is embracing paracosm, and, as writers, that’s a good thing.

Today Pinckney reminded us what all our stories have to contain: The Agon, aka the central struggle in a drama or work of fiction, i.e., the conflict. A key component we often overlook. We may think it’s there, but when we examine the story closer, it’s weak or missing.

We did a practice reading, learned about eucatastrophe, and critiqued two participants’ stories, but the best part of the workshop are Pinckney’s riffs on craft. As far as I’m concerned we could sit for eight hours every day and just listen to him. The man is an MFA on two legs.

What is eucatastrophe? It’s when a story builds up that something horrific is going to happen, but a wonderful, beautiful thing happens instead. That’s eucatastrophe, much like my blog post early yesterday and the one today. I’d completely built myself up for something bad to happen, but, instead, it’s becoming something wonderful and beautiful.