Hello. My name is Alison, and I'm a plotter.
I'm currently working on plotting the first book in a new series that will be set in and around the quaint seaside hamlet of Carmel-by-the-Sea. I know most of the characters, I know who "did it," and I know the major plot points. Now, I'm looking for ideas to fill in all that extra space in the middle. Stuff has to happen. You know it. I know it. Readers expect it.
However you look at it, Carmel is an eccentric little town, filled with colorful characters. It relishes its quirky reputation and encourages individual expression. The town was founded as an artists' colony shortly after the turn of the twentieth century and is now a magnet for tourists from all over the world. As a result, some pretty odd things happen here.
Carmel is blessed, or cursed--depending on your point of view, with a weekly local paper, The Carmel Pine Cone, which includes a day-by-day police blotter drawn from the call logs of the local department and county Sheriff's Office. For the past couple of years, I've been keeping a folder with some of the most unusual entries for use in futures stories. Now is the time to pull out my collection of cut-out slips of paper and start searching for items to spice up my story with bits of local color.
There are so many good ones, I'm having trouble choosing, but here are a few of the entries I'm considering using:
"Report that a known subject used a knife to cut the head off a plastic flamingo on Highway 1."
"Officer was conducting routine patrol at 0500 hours on Sunset Drive and located a large grey and black Rubbermaid travel bag. Bag contained male clothing, four boxes of window coverings, wood stakes, jumper cables, a black backpack with male's clothing and tie-down straps."
"Peace disturbance at a hotel on San Carlos Street. The hotel manager brandished a taser at a guest."
"A female reported a male howling from her driveway on Pine Hills Drive."
"Robinson Canyon Road resident reported a Buddhist monk kicked in the door to his trailer."
"Report a female on Red Eagle Alley had walked out onto her balcony in the nude and asked gardeners to be quiet. She agreed to put on some clothes."
"Report of a subject on Forest Avenue going through the garbage on private property. Subject has been admonished before. He was advised of the trespass warning. He later admitted to splashing holy water on the trash."
"Female reported that someone entered her storage area below her house on San Carlos Street and cut up some of her husband's sweaters."
"A male real estate agent reported one year ago he went to a home on San Carlos Street for a possible listing. Upon arrival, a female offered him alcohol and marijuana. He felt uncomfortable and left. Today the female called his office and said he should be fired."
Some of these are definitely going to make an appearance. Like they say, you can't make this stuff up!