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

October Interviews
10/2 Debra H. Goldstein, Two Bites To Many
10/10 Connie Berry, A Legacy of Murder
10/17 Lida Sideris, Double Murder or Nothing
10/23 Toni L. P. Kelner writing as Leigh Perry, The Skeleton Stuffs A Stocking
10/30 Jennifer David Hesse, Autumn Alibi

Saturday Guest Bloggers:
10/5 Ang Pompano
10/12 Eyes of Texas Anthology Writers
10/19 Neil Plakcy

WWK Bloggers: 10/26 Kait Carson


Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Lyrical Press will publish Kaye George's Vintage Sweets mystery series. The first book, Revenge Is Sweet, will be released in March. Look for the interview here on 3/11.

Shari Randall will be writing again for St. Martin's, perhaps under a pseudonym. We look forward to reading Shari's Ice Cream Shop Mystery series debuting next year. Congratulations, Shari!

Susan Van Kirk's A Death At Tippett Pond was released on June 15th. Read E. B. Davis's interview with Susan.

KM Rockwood's "Frozen Daiquiris" appears in The Best Laid Plans: 21 Stories of Mystery & Suspense, edited by Judy Penz Sheluk. The anthology was released on June 18th.

Fishy Business anthology authors include KM Rockwood, Debra Goldstein, and James M. Jackson. This volume was edited by Linda Rodriguez.

Please read Margaret S. Hamilton and Debra Goldstein's short stories (don't ask about their modus operandi) in a new anthology, Cooked To Death Vol. IV: Cold Cut Files.

Warren Bull's Abraham Lincoln: Seldom Told Stories was released. It is available at: GoRead: https://www.goread.com/book/abraham-lincoln-seldom-told-stories or at Amazon: https://tinyurl.com/ydaklx8p

Grace Topping's mystery, Staging is Murder was released April 30.


Saturday, May 25, 2019

I Killed Them, and I’m Not Sorry by Kait Carson

Kill your darlings. If you are a writer, you’ve heard that advice a million times. I know I have. It never really applied to me before now. Oh, I thought it had, but I was wrong.

My previously published books have been in the traditional mystery genre. Now I’m in the midst of writing my first cozy series, Southernmost Secrets. Writing the first book of any planned series is a balancing act. The writer needs to introduce characters, especially the core group, make the setting come alive, and make readers care about the characters and their lives. The writer needs to do all of that without an information dump.

That’s basic writing 101. No information dump. Unfortunately, the writer is participating in the same learning curve as the reader. When I started Pirates on Parade, the first of the series, I had no idea of the depth of my characters or the details of their lives or setting. That is something this writer learns through the writing.

I raced through the book to chapter 13. Then, I stalled. Dead-in-the-water stall. Blank-page-for-days stall. Something was wrong and it held me back. The premise? The lead in? The plot? Whatever it was, I could not move forward. Not without fixing the foundation. Rather than follow the stellar advice of Jodi Picoult that you can’t edit a blank page and soldier on, I decided to go back and review my prior chapters. Try to identify where the story went off the rails.

The problem was in chapters 7 to 10. My characters talked about life in the Florida Keys. Hank Wittie, the protagonist, shared her love of her home and how the Keys shaped her. They brought the characters’ emotional side to life and laid the foundation for part of Hank’s story arc. They were wonderful chapters. Except they did nothing to add to the story at hand. They were four chapters of three women sitting on a porch in the Florida Keys talking. INFORMATION DUMP.

I loved those chapters, but they had to go. The story needed action not introspection. It’s a mystery not a history. With a heavy heart, I highlighted all four chapters and moved them to my outtakes file. I killed my darlings. Know what? It hurt. Oh yes, they had served a purpose for me, I got to know a lot about Hank by writing those chapters, but the reader does not need to know how the sausage is made. Nor should they know.

Chapters 7 to 10 are now in the work-in-process stage. They will likely become chapter 7 and maybe 8. Depends on what action Ozzie, the Key West Police detective, decides to take. This is where he needs to shine. Hank and the rest of the characters will share their stories, but in teaspoons, not quarts.

I killed my darlings. I’m not sorry.

Writer, have you ever had to painfully kill your darlings?
Readers, do you think some darlings need killing?


Margaret S. Hamilton said...

I killed an entire book, but I periodically pull it out for secondary character ideas and details.

E. B. Davis said...

In each book, I have a discard file. I keep it because some of it is good writing, but usually tangents I stray to instead of keeping true to the plot. For the last book, I killed two POVs. Luckily, I brought them in for just a chapter so I deleted the entire chapter. Valid criticism, which I heeded, but then, some of the illusions and dialogue were fun--but discards. We truely are writers who kill!

Kait said...

@ Margaret - An entire book! Oh, my. So glad it's not going to waste.

Kait said...

@EB - Great play on the blog name! Hanging on to the discards is a fabulous idea. Some writers have told me they have gotten entire plots from their outtakes. No writing is wasted.

KM Rockwood said...

Outtake are necessary, but that doesn't mean the time spent writing them is wasted.

Kait said...

That's so true KM.

Gloria Alden said...

I've only done a few outtakes over the years of writing that I recall. But I've been writing for a lot of years so maybe I'm just forgetting when I did do that.

Kait said...

Good to hear from your, Gloria. I admit, I've done the odd paragraph, and often I let myself write backstory for the first chapter of the first draft to ground myself knowing it will be taken out, but this is a first for me too. Still, I learned a lot about my characters in those chapters so they weren't a loss.

Jim Jackson said...

Backstory is tough, not only in the first novel in a series, but in later novels. Congrats on making the right decision.

Kait said...

Thanks, Jim!

Debra H. Goldstein said...

When I was writing One Taste Too Many, it moved along well and then I had to stop for awhile. When I went back to writing the book, it didn't seem to work - even though I was almost finished with it. I stopped and thought about it and realized I had pegged the wrong character as the killer. At that point, I threw out the second half of the book and quickly rewrote it completely. It killed me to throw out my darlings....but it made it such a better final book.

You did the right thing, too! But, oh, it hurts.

Grace Topping said...

The valuable lesson here is not to totally kill your darlings, but to add bits of what you cut to different places in the story. Avoid the information dump, but still give readers a glimpse into your characters pasts.