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

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.

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.
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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

I'm not writing a novel

"How's your novel coming?" is the first question asked when fiction writers get together.

"I'm not writing a novel," has never been a satisfactory answer. Writing short stories is my joy and writing a novel takes sooooo long.

Around the first of the year, I hit on a safe plan. I would start a novel, so that if anyone asked I could say, "It's coming along slowly." I wouldn't have to do any work on it, maybe take a look at it now and then, change a word here or there. I took some characters I have used in two short stories. I am rather fond of them, so I thought I could live with them hanging about in my computer for eternity in an unfinished novel. Hannah and Silas live in colonial Delaware in the mid eighteenth century.

When ever I start writing anything, I set up a three ring binder with all the information I need to make sure I don't mix up eye color, what Jane takes in her coffee and exactly where the house is in relation to the print shop.

This is my first completely fictional setting. In the short stories it was a mere sketch of a town on the Delaware River. For the novel I started drawing maps, figuring its location relative to the real towns around it. I even dug into the geology of the area to see if there was enough solid ground under the marsh to support a town. Since there wasn't, I made up a better foundation for it. I populated the town with secondary characters of all classes, including indentured servants and slaves. I added businesses, farms and a government. One section of the binder is for setting so all this went behind the divider labeled "Cobbs Crossing."

I spent time pouring over the Pennsylvania Gazette and found just what I was looking for: pirates. A prominent pirate of the time was from the nearest big city. What had been a childish fantasy in the short story became a full blown obsession in the novel. Hannah has given up any idea of ever becoming a pirate, but the skills she learned prepared her to be an 18th century detective. I found the historical figures under whom Silas would have served as town constable. A second divider was followed by 100 pages of newspaper articles that I might find useful.

I read books on slavery and visited historical sites that are coming to grips with the fact that the men who owned them were not only great patriots but also slave owners. So another divider with notes on my reading and visiting.

In the front of the binder is the manuscript for the story which has now grown to 7,000 words, one tenth of a novel. I've begun working through some possible sub plots. Deepening the characters, and making the two dimensional people from the short stories full blown characters in their own right.

At some point along the way I realized I was actually writing another novel. I wasn't just visiting sites and reading books and papers, but putting words on paper. Sometime in the next six months I should have an entire first draft.

The final divider has behind it a list of the people who helped or inspired me along the way. I don't want to forget any of them. My editor who loved the characters but who never pushed me to write a novel; the blacksmith who answered questions about Sam Bly, the people at the John Dickenson Plantation, the staff of Newlin Grist Mill, and my critique group. I will even thank those who said "What? You aren’t working on a novel?"

7 comments:

E. B. Davis said...

I'm not working on a novel either, KB! I started revising my novel in May, but then three opportunities for shorts presented themselves. I've finished and submitted the first one. I'm writing the second one, and I've plotted and planned the third one, but it isn't written yet.

So, the novel revisions are coming, but they will take a while because I'm working all the while on getting these shorts finished, submitted, and hopefully published.

Since I'm not published yet on the novel market, it seems important for me to get my name out there in front of editors and publishers, add to my publishing credits and perhaps, get one nominated for an award, which in the v-e-r-y long run could help get my novel published. But then, it's taking forever to finish this novel and all the while I'm working away. Did anyone say this was easy?

Warren Bull said...

For me, it is important in a novel in progress to have characters who I want to hang around with for years on end. I'm certainly interested in Abraham Lincoln but I may be "noveled out" with him. My non-Lincoln novel HEARTLAND featured a family and let me move from character to character. Maybe for me that's the way to go.

Linda Rodriguez said...

LOL, KB! I love it! Congrats on your new novel-in-progress, which sounds fascinating.

I'm the opposite of you. In fiction, everything I write wants to turn into a novel. I'm always working on one or more novels. I tend to write short stories only when specifically asked for a short story. Often, I'll take a short story to my critique group, and they'll say, "We want to knwo more about this and this. You've got a novel here."

Warren, you did a fine job with HEARTLAND. I suspect you resonate with having an interrelated small group of characters to write about.

EB, don't be hard on yourself. You've got time with this first novel. Take it! The time will come when you're under contract and under deadlines, and you'll look wistfully back on the days when you could take all the time you wanted to explore and revise and rewrite.

Gloria Alden said...

I didn't start writing short stories until the Guppies came up with a plan for an anthology - FISH TALES. Even then the first story was way too long to submit (I'm a novel writer.) and since I couldn't find a way to cut it down, I started another short "The Professor's Books" which made it. Since then I've had two more published and one accepted for the new Guppy anthology. But I still like writing books. Like Warren, I get attached to my characters and want to bring them back, plus add new ones I've dreamed up. I also like creating a fictional town.

I'm glad you've finally realized how rewarding writing a novel is, KB. And sooner or later you'll find the pleasure in writing that novel, too, when your characters start talking to you, Elaine.

E. B. Davis said...

This is actually my third novel. The first of course is what they always are--practice. The second got some agent interest, but no offers. So, three the charm, right?

Warren Bull said...

EB, Getting "some agent notice" on a second novel is a rare accomplishment. Don't sell yourself short. PS I think I just discovered the bare bones of a structure for a novel with one of my more interesting characters.

Alyx Morgan said...

Congratulations on your non-novel, KB! Must be there's a novel writer somewhere inside that's thrilled to finally get out & explore. :o)

Good Luck!