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

Here are the upcoming WWK interviews for the month of July!

July 4th Christopher Huang, A Gentleman's Murder

July 11th V. M. Burns, The Plot Is Murder

July 18th Edith Maxwell (Maddie Day), Death Over Easy

July 25th Shari Randall, Against The Claw

Our July Saturday Guest Blogger Schedule: 7/7--Mary Feliz, 7/14--Annie Hogsett, 7/21--Margaret S. Hamilton, 7/28--Kait Carson.

Our special bloggers for the fifth Monday and Tuesday of July--Kaye George and Paula Gail Benson.

Please welcome two new members to WWK--Annette Dashofy, who will blog on alternative Sundays with Jim Jackson, and Nancy Eady, who will blog on every fourth Monday. Thanks for blogging with us Annette and Nancy!

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Annette Dashofy's Uneasy Prey was released in March. It is the sixth Zoe Chambers Mystery. The seventh, Cry Wolf, will be released on September 18th. Look for E. B. Davis's interview with Annette on September 19th.

Carla Damron's quirky short story, "Subplot", was published in the Spring edition of The Offbeat Literary Journal. You can find it here: http://offbeat.msu.edu/volume-18-spring-2018/

Tina Whittle's sixth Tai Randolph mystery, Necessary Ends, debuts on April 3, 2018. Look for it here. Tina was nominated for a Derringer Award for her novelette, "Trouble Like A Freight Train Coming." We're all crossing our fingers for her.

James M. Jackson's Empty Promises, the next in the Seamus McCree mystery series (5th), was published on April 3, 2018. Purchase links are here. He's working on Seamus McCree #6 (False Bottom)

Dark Sister, a poetry collection, is Linda Rodriguez's tenth published book. It's available for sale here:

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.

Shari Randall's second Lobster Shack Mystery, Against the Claw, will be available in July 31, 2018.


Saturday, June 2, 2012

Does Not Color Well Between the Lines

I’ve just come off the first phase of my book tour for Every Last Secret, and one question that I was asked at almost every event was: “Do you outline your novels before you write them?”

That seems like a simple yes or no answer, but with me, it’s a little more complicated. Yes, I outline my novels before I write them. No, I don’t follow those careful outlines when I write.

The truth is that I’m genetically incapable of following a pattern or a plan. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve bought a sewing or knitting or weaving pattern that I wanted to make. Once I begin, though, I can’t stick to it. I have to tamper with it, to redesign it. I just can’t do what someone else tells me to do. Perhaps I have a problem with authority figures. (Do you think?)

This is why I never bother with patterns when I knit or quilt something anymore. For me, they’re a waste of time and money. I just go ahead and design my own work “on the needles.”

When it comes to writing novels, I’d like to change my rebellious attitude, especially now that I have contracts to fulfill with deadlines, and I’m not writing on spec any longer. So, I sit down and do some hard thinking about characters’ needs and motivations, about various actions characters might take, about conflict and pace and things like that. I write out a scene-by-scene outline for the book.

 Then, I sit down to write it. After a while, I find I can’t go on. I feel there’s something fundamentally wrong with the book. So I start looking for problems and testing out characters for new villains. (It’s often the murderer who seems to be wrong.) As I continue to fiddle and play around with the characters and the scenes and various possible actions, I inevitably come up with a stronger villain, a more original motive for murder, and as a nice side benefit, more scenes with powerful conflict enacted.

My method is hard on the nerves, but in each case the book that came from all the redesigning is a much stronger book than the original would have been. So my answer to the question: “Do you outline your novels before you write them?” is still yes and no. Now, I usually outline for about 50 pages and write that before outlining the next 50 pages. That seems to be working for me at this time.

How about you? If you’re a writer, do you outline your novel before you write it?


E. B. Davis said...

I think that it's nearly impossible to write a complete outline. There are so many nuances and quirks that happen during the writing taking the action in new directions. I plot very similarly to you, Linda. I have an overall plan, then I write storyboards for each chapter. Chapter 1--what happens and its function within the overall plot and by which charaters-how I want them shown.

After that is written, I do the same for Chapter 2. For me it is important that I write the storyboard for Chapter 2 after Chapter 1 is written. What comes out in the actually writing effects the next chapter.

Warren Bull said...

I'm trying to learn to outline more. My current WIP has more detail than usual on paper and it is working but if I go into too much detail I end up feeling like I have already written the book.

Gloria Alden said...

Your title, Linda, immediately brought to mind the "D" my oldest boy got in art in the 4th grade. I asked about it at parent-teacher conference and the teacher said he wouldn't color per instructions. He didn't color the Halloween pumpkins orange. My son became a very talented artist, but it wasn't until he was in his teens we discovered he was color blind. I'm not sure it had anything to do with the odd colored pumpkins, though, because he was incredibly creative in many ways.

I don't outline, but I do have lots of ideas and notes jotted down on where I want the book to go plus the general plot is in my head. Like my son, I tend to let the muse take over and then clean up any loose ends during numerous editing later. I think it's a matter of what works best for each individual. Even though I don't outline, I'd probably still paint my pumpkins orange.

Linda Rodriguez said...

EB, you're so right. Either you change the stuff in chapters 3 & 4 to flow with chapters 1 & 2 right after you write 1 & 2 or completely rewrite them to do that during the first revision.

Linda Rodriguez said...

Warren, lots of writers say that--too much detail in outline feels like the book's already written.

Linda Rodriguez said...

Gloria, I'm with you. It's messier that way, but I think I get more creative alternatives and richness without forcing myself to follow a detailed outline.

And to your son's teacher--Bah!