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Our September Author Interviews--9/6 Kathleen Valenti, 9/13 David Burnsworth, 9/20 Jeri Westerson, 9/27 Frances Brody. Please join us in welcoming these authors to WWK.
September Saturday Guest Bloggers: 9/2--Anne Bannon, 9/9 WWK Bloggers, 9/16 Margaret S. Hamilton, 9/23 Kait Carson, and on 9/30 Trixie Stiletto.
“May 16, 2017 – The Women’s Fiction Writers Association (WFWA) today announced the finalists of the second annual Star Award, given to authors of published women’s fiction. Six finalists were chosen in two categories, General and Outstanding Debut. The winners of the Star Award will be announced at the WFWA Retreat in Albuquerque, New Mexico on September 23, 2017.” In the general category, WWK’s Carla Damron was one of three finalist for her novel, The Stone Necklace. Go to Carladamron.com for more information. Congratulations, Carla!
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. 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 will have the following shorts published as well: "Sight Unseen" in Fish Out of Water, Guppie (SinC) anthology, just released, and "Making Tracks" in Passport to Murder, Bouchercon anthology, October 2017.
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.
Monday, August 15, 2011
Unnecessary and Extraneous Details
Mystery readers want to find out the solution to the mystery, reading until the end. Once the solution is revealed, they think back on what they read, remembering those “unnecessary and extraneous” details, and realize that if they had only put one and one together they could have solved the mystery themselves. They sometimes do solve the mystery or know who dunnit at some point in the book. From a writer’s point of view, we don’t want them adding it up too soon. But even when they do solve the mystery themselves, they require the facts and logic of the book to add up to the solution. I call this internal integrity, much like the research project design I studied in graduate school.
There are various methods to ensure internal integrity. The “best” method is via a novel’s outline, in which the author carefully plots the book making note of major clues, where they fit, adding complications, and then the author uses characterization, which adds to the internal integrity by making the characters authentic. The author then looks at the pacing the story making sure that the reader’s emotions engage in a pattern of peaks and valleys. In short, authors try to create a page-turner of a book.
To accomplish this, I write chapter by chapter and revise before I go onto the next chapter. Usually this occurs in intervals of two to three chapters making sure the details and connections pin the chapter in place, much like attaching one side of a garment making sure that it matches the other side. There are a few details in previous chapters that I may have to adjust, aside from word smithing and tweaking, my novel should be finished by the time I write the last word. Then I’ll let a professional editor dissect it. It should be interesting to see what the editor determines I need to rewrite.
I do have one problem though. One member of my critique group has made assumptions that she shouldn’t make. It reminds me of a TV ad in which a man cooking spaghetti sauce and holding a cleaver appears to be killing a cat that has jumped up on the counter when his sweetheart walks into the kitchen.
Reading between the lines is a fun game. But don’t blame the author when jumping to erroneous assumptions. In a way, I’m glad of her assumptions because the ending will come as a complete surprise, and yet I hope that she is not outraged when she finds that her assumptions are false. If she studies the logic and facts, she will find her error because for mystery writers and readers, internal integrity is a requirement underpinned by those “unnecessary and extraneous” details.