My journey with Peri and her friends

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How did she do it? (Part 1)

Posted by Gayle on July 7, 2008

So, a lot of people have asked how I came up with the storyline in my novel. Basically, it came from two sources: 1) the Southern California Writers Conference, and 2) my warped sense of humor.
I went to my first SCWC in 2006, in Palm Springs, armed with a handful of my humor essays, a kind-of-short story and an open, if clueless, mind. The conference had a topic contest: 250 words, any genre. The topic? Ice.
When I first heard it, I thought, “How stupid.” But an idea began to percolate. By Sunday morning, I had written 250 words on the hotel stationary and submitted it. And guess what? I won. The entry is here:
www.writersconference.com/ps/topic/ps3topic_a.html
It’s a “noir” kind of piece, with a humorous angle. At the same time, I began to joke about a new detective for the Baby Boomer generation – Peri Menopause, Private Eye. She was a gal who’d solve every crime by crying, eating chocolate and bitch-slapping everyone until someone confessed.
Shortly after the conference, I married the topic contest entry and Peri, and envisioned Peri finding more than an ice cube tray in the freezer…
How about a severed hand?
Naw, not compelling enough.
How about a severed hand wearing a big, expensive ring?
Viola! A story begins to take shape! Now all I had to do was figure out who the hand and the ring belonged to and how they got in the freezer.

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