If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book next year, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com

Our March author interviews: Karen Pullen (3/1), Lowcountry Crime authors: Tina Whittle, Polly Iyer, Jonathan M. Bryant, and James M. Jackson (3/8), Annette Dashofy (3/15), Edith Maxwell (3/22) and Barb Ross (3/29).

Saturday Guest Bloggers in March: Maris Soule (3/4), and Virginia Mackey (3/11). WWK Saturday bloggers write on 3/18--Margaret S. Hamilton and on 3/25--Kait Carson.

Julie Tollefson won the Mystery Writers of America Midwest Chapter's Holton Award for best unpublished manuscript (member category) for her work in progress, In The Shadows. Big news for a new year. Congratulations, Julie.

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Warren Bull's new Lincoln mystery, Abraham Lincoln In Court & Campaign has been released. Look for the Kindle version on February 3.

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published.

Margaret S. Hamilton's short story, "Once a Kappa" was published as a finalist in the Southern Writer's Magazine annual short story contest issue. Mysterical-E published her "Double Crust Corpse" in the Fall 2016 issue. "Baby Killer" will appear in the 2017 solar eclipse anthology Day of the Dark to be published this summer prior to the eclipse in August.

Linda Rodriquez has two pending book publications. Plotting the Character-Driven Novel will be released by Scapegoat Press on November 29th. Every Family Doubt, the fourth Skeet Bannion mystery, is scheduled for release on June, 13, 2017. Look for E. B. Davis's interview with Linda here in June!

Cross Genre Publications anthology, Hidden Youth, will contain Warren Bull's "The Girl, The Devil, and The Coal Mine." The anthology will be released in late November 2016. The We've Been Trumped anthology released by Dark House Press on September 28th contains Warren Bull's "The Wall" short story and KM Rockwood's "A Phone Call to the White House." KM writes under the name Pat Anne Sirs for this volume.

James M. Jackson's 4th book in the Seamus McCree series, Doubtful Relations, is now available. His novella "Low Tide at Tybee" appears February 7 as part of Lowcountry Crimes: Four Novellas, which is available for pre-order.

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Thursday, August 12, 2010

BACKSTORY REVISITED

I’m using Ramona’s blogs on “Battling Backstory” and “The First Chapter Coloring Project” to revise my first three chapters. Advice on writing could fill a city library so no writer can legitimately claim lack of help led to bad writing. As a writer, I think writers hear what they need at the time they need it. I was wondering what to do with those first three chapters that I’ve read a hundred times and remembered Ramona’s blogs.

After removing backstory from the first chapter, I focused on showing character traits and leaving interesting questions to be answered later. The process felt like removing clutter from a closet so everything inside was visible as soon as the door opened.

I’ve never used the omniscient voice that sounds very nineteenth century to me. Past experiences with others do motivate our relationships in the present. A character’s opinion of another character lets the reader know about both characters. In my writing, I often omit the thinking that precedes a character’s action. Critique partners have commented on this but not all of my critics want the omission rectified. In my heart, I believe we are what we do. Sure, we often need to think before we act but, if we keep thinking about life and not doing anything, are we living in any way except the biological?

I think the often subconscious idea that actions speak louder than words gives us a sensitive antenna for hypocrisy. If a person keeps telling us how much she loves her family and friends, I wonder if she has many unresolved relationship issues and could be manipulating family and friends for her own gratification. If a person keeps telling me what a great sex life she has, I wonder if she’s covering up fears and dislike for her partner or partners.

Acting on Ramona’s advice, I’ve removed backstory from the first chapter. Now, I’m working on how my characters think about their histories, those snippets and flashes in the mind that color what characters do. A character steps up on a stage to present her point of view and remembers the constant teasing she received as a teenager so her heart rate triples and she gives a lousy performance.

Revision makes a writer expand or deepen characters. Thank you to Ramona and all the authors who’ve written books about writing.

1 comment:

Ramona said...

I'm happy to know my posts were helpful to you, Pauline. Your comment about your characters considering their histories has me intrigued today. You've returned the favor.