An Arcade-themed breakroom

Last week, I wrote about my husband’s new office and covered some of the decorations that are not found in a typical law firm. The one area that I didn’t cover was the break room.

If you read last week’s post, you know that we tend to decorate with things we like – Batman, Avengers, Star Wars, and Indiana Jones. We even put photos of roller coasters in one of the spare offices. So, what to do with the break room…

We went with an 80s arcade theme.

The main attraction of the room is an arcade machine we bought that has 400 arcade games from the 80s. We needed something to put it on and planned to build a simple shelf. But on a trip to Home Depot, we saw these glass bricks on clearance and that simple shelf turned into this.

Surrounding our arcade machine is 3 metal posters from Displate. It is pretty cool that they are put up with magnets so no additional holes in the wall.

My husband also wanted a dart board. I bought this electronic version with safety darts on Amazon. We did have to have electrical outlets run for both the arcade game and the dart board. Next to the dart board is a pinball print I found on Etsy.

Also from Etsy, I found these metal signs of old video games and these Rubik Cube/Pacman creations. They were quite delicate as my husband broke one the first time he tried to pick it up, but luckily the vendor sent a few extra Rubik Cubes, so we were able to repair it. He then put a clear coat on them to hopefully secure them together better, but I am betting if they ever fall off the wall they will be in a million pieces.

Leading into the break room, we hung this lighted arcade sign that I found on Amazon. It runs on batteries.

For the counter, we have this Space Invaders canvas container to hold snacks, and I decorated an apothecary jar for their Sweet&Low.

The employees love the room. Now the only issue is making sure they don’t spend too much time playing in the break room rather than working.

 

Moving means more nontraditional decorations for my husband’s law firm

Last year, I wrote about my husband’s law office, and the non-traditional decorations (at least for a law firm). At the time he had seven employees and we thought he would be in that new expanded office for quite a while.

Well by April of this year, he had added two additional employees and was busting at the seams in his 8-room office. He had to get a bigger place. Luckily, his landlord had another nearby property and was willing to customize it to fit his needs. In June, he moved into a place with 11 offices, a break room, a conference room and a reception area.

We let each employee (except the receptionist) decorate their own office according to their own tastes (with the restriction of nothing nude or vulgar). But the rest of the place is up to my husband and I to decorate. We brought over all the items from the previous place, but with more walls, we had to buy (and still need to buy) more pictures.

Reception

There are two reception areas. The outer one will be shared by a neighbor and has furnishings provided by the landlord. There were no pictures on the wall or knickknacks on the tables. I took care of that with a trip to the At Home America store. I bought two pictures which worked with the mirror we had from the outer entry area of his last office. I still need a few more items for the tables, but it is already looking better.

Now once you enter his office, there is another reception area with his receptionist’s desk and two visitor chairs. On the back wall, we hung the law office sign we made a few years ago. We have also ordered two pictures of lady justices for one of the walls and are still trying to decide what goes on the other wall.

But it is the wall across from the receptionist that will garner the most attention. It is our movie clock wall.

Yes, these are vinyl clocks featuring different movies. There are 22 of them!

Superhero Hallway

In the old office, there was an Avenger hallway and a Batman hallway. Well, with this new office we have one long hallway. We started off with Batman.

Then right after the hall to break room, we move into the Avenger’s section. Again, we had to buy more prints from Etsy to fill in this longer wall. (Added four new prints for a total of 12.) And we still have our metal Avenger’s logo.

Conference Room

Our Indiana Jones themed conference room made the move with us, but the room got much bigger. We had to replace the 8-foot conference table with a 12 foot one. We have also added a few more display cases that will be filled with memorabilia and 3-D printed artifacts inspired from Indiana Jones movies.

Now there are two areas I haven’t covered. One is the hallway leading to my husband’s office which includes an open area by the employee entrance. I have suggested a Star Wars theme (like his office) but we haven’t gotten around to working on this one yet.

And the other room is the employee break room. On the hallway to this room, we have all the past firm group pictures. (No traditional, stuffy photos here.) On the opposite wall, I have an idea to put up a Scrabble tile display with all the employee names, but first I must convince my husband how cool this will look. As for the break room, we have a good plan for this and once it is done (hopefully by next week) I will share you the fun theme we picked for it.

Cutting unnecessary scenes from your novel

Every author at some point will write a scene that just doesn’t really need to be in their novel. The scene might be rehashing something the characters or reader already know. Or maybe it is connecting two scenes that could have been connected another way such as with a chapter break.

Every scene in your novel should be an integral to the story arc. If it isn’t, then it doesn’t belong in your story.

These unnecessary scenes can derail the plot or bore the readers.

So, as you are writing or revising your story, take a good look at each scene and make sure it belongs in your story.

Here are 11 types of scenes (or parts of scenes) that might be unnecessary.

  • A day in the life – Sometimes descriptions of a character’s daily routine can be interesting or provide important details into that character. Or it can simply be boring. There scenes often appear at the beginning of the novel as the author gets to know the character or isn’t sure how to start the story.
  • Backstory – You may have spent a lot of time developing the backstory for your character, but rarely is it necessary to share that backstory with the reader. And if you do share some backstory, it should be bits and pieces as needed instead of a long dump of information.
  • Hanging out – Conversations may break up action or scene descriptions but should only be used if it progresses the plot. No one wants to read the conversation of two characters just “hanging out” or exchange of pleasantries.
  • Description overload – Descriptions let the reader see the characters and the setting. But there is such a thing as too much description. Readers may tend to skip over this if they know nothing is happening. (I’m one of those readers.)
  • Information overload – Sometimes your character needs to update another with an event that your reader has already witnessed. There is no need to tell the event again unless perhaps in the rehashing (or internal dialogue) something will be revealed, or a connection will happen as the puzzle pieces fall into place. You can even create some conflict if the characters don’t agree on the fact or relevance.
  • Too much character thought – Extended character thoughts can become tiresome especially if they are doing nothing to drive the plot forward.
  • Repeated scenes/information – Repetitive scenes are an easy trap to fall into. But once you establish your character as a caring, dog-rescuing woman or top-notch safe cracker, you don’t need to go over it again in another (and another) scene.
  • Times-a-wasting – Characters need to take a break from the action. But you don’t want characters to sit around rehashing their tough day or just resting. Make sure their actions and dialogue move the plot forward.
  • Minor character relationships – Minor characters can give your main characters someone to interact with but you don’t want to spend too much on their life or history or romantic relationships unless it moves the plot forward. Heck, there are some minor characters that don’t even warrant a name.
  • Research dump – As an author, you may do a lot of research into something – your character’s career or hobby – so that you can paint their life realistically. But there is no reason to put in scene after scene with details of these jobs/hobbies. There is nothing wrong with using information to bring color and realism to a scene, but the scene should never be about the information unless it is actually driving the plot.
  • Transitions – Whenever you switch settings or jump time in your story, you’re usually going to have to account for what happened between Point A and Point B, if only to avoid disorienting readers. But this doesn’t mean you have to show your character driving to the next location. In fact, often you can easily change scenes with a chapter or section break with just a few words noting the time or location change.

Now, I know you probably recognize some of these scenes not only from your own work but that of other famous authors. I know a well-known romance author who often does the research dump.  And maybe these scenes worked in that story, but in most cases, these scenes are completely unnecessary, and readers wouldn’t miss them if they aren’t there.

As you write or edit your story, look at each scene. Imagine the story without it. Would the story still make sense? Would the plot still progress, and the character development still flow? If the answer to these questions is yes, then the scene is not needed. If there is only one or two important elements in the scene, then you might consider adding these elements to another scene and cutting out the parts that don’t advance the story.

Do this consistently and you will create a solid novel with no unnecessary scenes, and hopefully one that readers will want to keep reading rather than closing the book.

No baby fever here

Ah, baby fever – the intense desire some women (and men) get to have a baby.

Some people may never feel this. Some parents have one baby and know they are done. Others have two, three, four or more kids and can never seem to shake that desire to have one more. And that desire is often fueled by seeing other women with their newborns.

I know quite a few moms that hold someone else’s newborn (or even just attend a baby shower) and get that wishful look on their face even if they know they are done having babies.

Nope. Not me.

For the longest time, I didn’t want to have children. I think the fear of childbirth was a major put off. But after we decided to have a baby and Jase came along, I knew that I would want one more. I grew up with a sibling and couldn’t imagine Jase not having one.

That led us to having Lexie almost 3 years later. But after I had her, I never again suffered from baby fever.

I see a newborn and can think they are cute, but in no way do I want one. While there are things I liked about being pregnant such as the first flutter movements of the baby, I didn’t relish the big belly or recovering from a c-section. And then there are the newborn days – the constant demands and sleepless nights. Yes, there are those great milestones and cute baby gurgles and giggles but nope, I am done with that stage of my life and have no regrets about that.

This topic came up between my husband and I last week when we went to a going away party for one of his employees. The employee’s wife had a baby in May, and they are now moving back to California to be close to family.

Of course, everyone gathered around the baby, gushing as one does with new babies. And you could see it, that look of desire, on a couple of the women’s faces. They miss their kids at this stage. And they want another one.

But while I think the baby was cute, I don’t envy the parents in that all-consuming baby stage of parenting. No more diapers or diaper bags for me. I am glad to be done with that stage.

Jase and Lexie are now 14 and 11. I like that you can have conversations with them and that they don’t need constant care. I like that we can leave them at home which allows my husband and I some alone time to go out to dinner or run to the store.

So, when I see baby, I don’t mind making the appropriate remarks on how cute he or she is. I actually do like going shopping for baby items and just recently began making some special onesies for the employee’s new baby. But want one again?

No way. I’d rather be the veteran mom who hands out advice as well as handing back the baby to its mother to resume enjoying my snack (uninterrupted) while watching funny videos and planning our next vacation.