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

Check out our February author interviews: 2/7-debut author Keenan Powell (Alaskan lawyer), 2/14-Leslie Wheeler (Rattlesnake Hill), 2/21-bestselling author Krista Davis, who unveils a new series, 2/28-Diane Vallere answers my questions about Pajama Frame. Please join us in welcoming these authors to WWK.

Our February Saturday Guest Blogger Schedule: 2/3-Saralyn Richard, 2/10-Kathryn Lane. WWK's Margaret H. Hamilton will blog on 2/17, and Kait Carson on 2/24.

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

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. Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th.

In addition, our prolific KM has had the following shorts published as well: "Making Tracks" in Passport to Murder, Bouchercon anthology, October 2017 and "Turkey Underfoot," appears in the anthology The Killer Wore Cranberry: a Fifth Course of Chaos.


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.