Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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Useful tip?

It turns out that writing SOS in giant letters is indeed a useful strategy, if you happen to be stranded somewhere.

Here’s a useful tip: If you ever find yourself stuck on an uninhabited island in the Pacific, it turns out that writing SOS in giant letters on the sand works.

At least, it did this past weekend for three men whose small boat had run out of fuel and drifted off course among the hundreds of islands and atolls of Micronesia.

Short article, basically that’s the whole jist of it right there: ran out of fuel, got stranded, wrote a giant SOS in the sand, got rescued — sounds like it all worked out.

It makes me think of that bit in The Touchstone Trilogy where Cassandra makes it through that whole ordeal of swimming and running gauntlets of bad guys and then winds up in that desert and makes that huge flaming arrow. That was a effective series of scenes. Long, drawn-out crisis, but the whole thing was very tense, especially when Cass nearly got turned around in the desert at the last minute. That’s a good example of how to ratchet up the tension for an extended period during a story.

Anyway, the author of the post about the giant SOS starts it off with that “Here’s a useful tip” line, and I must say, I doubt many people will ever be in a situation where that tip is remotely useful. Fortunately.

On a (very) slightly related note, it occasionally passes through my mind, when I’m reading a lost-in-the-woods story, that if I’m ever lost in the woods with the right dog, I definitely won’t starve to death. Not that box turtles are probably particularly desirable as a food source, but I’m sure they’re edible, and many of my dogs are excellent at finding them.

This is a puppy named Jos who was just puzzled by the whole concept of “turtles.” I think it’s one of the most adorable expressions I ever captured for one of my dogs. But many of them go beyond puzzled to FANATICAL. This spring, Conner found FIVE turtles in less than ten minutes in an acre-and-a-half area. So, while looking for a good place to create a giant SOS or huge flaming arrow, I would also have plenty of turtles to sustain myself and my dogs as I waited for rescue.

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