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

Our April author interviews: Perennial author Susan Wittig Albert--4/5, Sasscer Hill, horse racing insider--4/12, English historical, cozy author, TE Kinsey--4/19, Debut author, Susan Bickford--4/26.

Saturday Guest Bloggers in April: Heather Baker Weidner (4/1), Christina Hoag (4/8), Susan Boles (4/29). WWK Saturday bloggers write on 4/15--Margaret S. Hamilton and on 4/22--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Julie Tollefson won the Mystery Writers of America Midwest Chapter's Holton Award for best unpublished manuscript (member category) for her work in progress, In The Shadows.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 order.


Thursday, May 12, 2011

When the Chorus Died Down

Warren wrote recently about being saved by critics. I hope the remembrance of critics will cut down on the number of revisions needed but I can’t be certain of that because every writing endeavor is different.

I used blueprints in Hallie Ephron’s Writing and Selling Your Mystery Novel to pin down the character of the protagonist and the villain, and to identify the victims, innocent suspects, and supporting cast. I had tentative turning points in the plot, and a time, location, and context.

After writing five pages, a new suspect came to light, not in what I’d written but in what I foresaw further into the story. I sketched out chapter two, wrote it on a yellow legal pad in longhand (my favorite method for first drafts) and decided the whole chapter was excrement.

All the critics who’d spoken about feeling, word choice, hooks, and character development were standing like a Greek chorus around the edges of my consciousness. You’ve probably seen the TV ad that portrays research overload. Individuals take off on a word, its meanings, associations, and similar sounding words, and reach innumerable blind alleys. I decided to socialize, garden, and let ideas percolate.

Within a few hours a whole new chapter with what I hope is natural development for characters and plot came into mind. My blueprint pages are written in ink but I have no problem scrapping them.

Just as professional experience helps an individual make better professional decisions, years of listening to and reading criticism guide a writer’s choices.

My favorite piece of criticism is, a writer has to have the feeling before he/she can evoke that feeling in others. Do you have a favorite critic or piece of criticism?


Ricky Bush said...

I've followed some "how it should be done" advice and seen the wisdom in the words. Then, a best selling mystery comes along and breaks all those rules.

E. B. Davis said...

Yes, Ricky--and the one that always get to me is the criticism on prologues. Then I read the next bestseller and it has a prologue! Ahhh!

Warren Bull said...

EB, Having a chorus of critics shows that you are developing your self-criticism, which is a god thing. Getting them to stand quietly by while you stumble through a first draft is another skill to develop. One of my favorite mantras that often helps me slog forward is: You can edit crap. You can't edit crap that hasn't been written yet.

Pauline Alldred said...

I think it's hard not to just read a mystery and enjoy it, Ricky. But analyzing why the story works although it breaks the rules helps me understand more about the craft of writing.