Write Like a Mermaid — Guest Shari Randall

By Shari Randall, who is celebrating publication of her new book, Against the Claw.

Shari is giving away a copy of Against the Claw to someone who leaves a comment! Here’s a little about the book:

Welcome back to the seaside village of Mystic Bay, where someone’s been found sleeping with the fishes. . .Ballerina Allie Larkin is still back home, healing up from a broken ankle and lending a hand at her aunt’s Lazy Mermaid Lobster Shack. But now that the famed restaurant is branching out into the world of catering, Allie’s help is needed more than ever―even on the lobster boat. The last thing she expects to find once she’s out on the bay, however, is the dead body of a beautiful young woman.

When days pass and not even the police can ID the corpse, Allie takes it upon herself to learn the truth about what happened. Her investigation leads her all the way from the local piers to the secluded estates of Mystic Bay’s posh elite. But how can she crack this case when everyone seems dead-set on keeping their secrets beneath the surface?

“If you can be anything, be a mermaid.” This is one of my favorite sayings.

I named the shack in my Lobster Shack mystery series The Lazy Mermaid because I love mermaids. One of my characters collects “mermaidabilia.” I have an Instagram account where I post mermaid photos on #Mermaid Mondays. It’s fun to see who else has a mermaid obsession.

It’s also fun to see how mermaids can help plot a book.

I was shopping for swag for a Facebook party when I came across this great pen. It’s the Mermazing ™ What Would a Mermaid Do? Predict-a-Pen. It’s a much sparklier version of a Magic Eight Ball, but instead of answering questions it offers advice.

The pen has been helpful as I write. Not only are the predictions good life advice (well, maybe “crash a ship” isn’t a good idea in real life) they’re great suggestions for a writer.

Here’s some writing advice from the Predict-A-Pen:

Pose on a Rock – I translated this into “showcase your character” – let the characters show the reader who they truly are – good and bad, fins and scales.

Make Friends with a Crab – Good advice. Every protagonist needs a friend, a sidekick to share the adventure and watch her back while swimming with sharks.

Brush Hair with a Fork – Okay, I had to give this one some thought. It’s a pretty funny image. Perhaps the magic pen is telling me to add some humor?

Grow Legs – As we all remember from The Little Mermaid, this was a turning point that changed the trajectory of Ariel’s life. For my writing purposes, it means take a chance, do something bold – even if it turns out to have life altering repercussions for my characters. We all like to see characters grow and change, especially if that growth comes from lessons learned by making mistakes and owning up to them.

Fall in Love with a Pirate – A little romance, especially with a dashing partner will add spice to a story.

Crash a Ship – Okay, very bad nautical advice, but great writing advice. Big conflict, disaster, and drama keep readers turning the pages.

Readers: Anyone else love mermaids? Or have a slightly embarrassing obsession?

Shari Randall lives in a mid-century money pit on the Connecticut shore. When she’s not committing murder (on the page, of course) she enjoys dancing, reading, and volunteering at her local library. You can see what’s new with her at https://us.macmillan.com/author/sharirandall/.