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

June Interviews

6/02 Terrie Moran, Murder She Wrote: Killing in a Koi Pond

6/09 Connie Berry, The Art of Betrayal

6/16 Kathleen Kalb, A Final Finale or A Fatal First Night

6/23 Jackie Layton, Bag of Bones: A Low Country Dog Walker Mystery

6/30 Mary Keliikoa, Denied

Saturday WWK Bloggers

6/12 Jennifer J. Chow

6/26 Kait Carson

Guest Blogs

6/05 Samantha Downing

6/19 Lynn Johanson


E. B. Davis's "The Pearl Necklace" will appear in the new SinC Guppy anthology The Fish That Got Away to be released in July by Wildside Press. The anthology was edited by Linda Rodriguez. It will be released on June 21st.

Paula Gail Benson's monologue "Beloved Husband," from the perspective of Norton Baskin the second husband of Marjorie Kinan Rawlings (who wrote The Yearling and Cross Creek), appears in the Red Penguin Collection's An Empty Stage (released March 28, 2021).

Martha Reed's "Death by GPS" will appear in the Spring 2021 issue of Suspense Magazine, which will be released in the second week of April. Congratulations, Martha!

Susan Van Kirk has a new audiobook, A Death at Tippitt Pond, that will be released this month. Marry in Haste will be released in May by Harlequin Worldwide Mystery, as will Death Takes No Bribes in September. Congratulations, Susan.

Congratulations to Martha Reed. Her short story, "The Honor Thief" was chosen for the 2021 Bouchercon Anthology, This Time For Sure. Hank Phillippi Ryan will edit the volume, which will be released in August at the time of the convention.

Margaret S. Hamilton's short story, "Killer Weeds," appears in the January 20 edition of Texas Gardener's Seeds: From Our Garden to Yours. Congratulations, Margaret, who, if you follow Facebook know, is a superb gardener herself!

Congratulations to Paula Gail Benson whose "Reputation or Soul" has been chosen for Malice Domestic 16: Mystery Most Diabolical anthology to be released this spring.

KM Rockwood's "Stay Safe--Very Safe" appears in this year's 2020 BOULD anthology. Congratulations, KM!

Annette Dashofy signed with agent Dawn Dowdle of the Blue Ridge Literary Agency. Congratulations, Annette!


Thursday, March 18, 2021

The Intrusive Character by Marilyn Levinson

I am one-quarter into the sixth book of my Haunted Library series. I love my characters, love writing about their relationships, adventures and watching them grow. Up until now, I have written an outline for each book  which I follow loosely—taking detours and making changes as I move farther along in the manuscript. I've discovered that with each book I write, I'm doing less initial plotting and more pantsing. I find this method more liberating, and frankly it's more fun to see what escapades my characters get into as they gather information to solve mysteries. So far, my muse has never let me down.

Along with my sleuth, Carrie Singleton, every book in my Haunted Library series involves the people in Carrie's life: her fiancĂ©, her best friend, Evelyn the Ghost, the police chief,  her colleagues and close relatives. Since a murder or two—or occasionally three—occur in every book, I bring in new characters, most of whom are either a victim or a suspect. Since I often write about two seemingly unrelated homicides, I need to create characters that bridge both storylines. Sometimes plotting gets very complicated, indeed!

In my current Work In Progress, a young, brash investigative reporter named Julie Theron announces on TV that a body has been discovered in an abandoned building. Julie appears a few days later to berate the police chief for not discovering the dead man's identity fast enough. In fact, she goes on to say that Carrie Singleton has solved most of his recent homicides. Finally, she declares that she, Julie Theron, is going to solve the murder herself!

Who does this Julie Theron think she is, worming her way into my plot? Sure, I need someone to report the news, but that doesn't give her the right to make herself part of the story. Though I didn't plan for this to happen, I quickly saw it for what it was--a wonderful new facet of my novel. And I knew how I was going to milk it, too.

I suppose Julie Theron came to life because of my looser, pantser style of plotting. Are you a pantser or a plotter? Or a combination of both?


Annette said...

I'm somewhere in the middle. And the process for each book varies.

I do love it when characters take the wheel and steer the story in an unexpected direction! Sounds like you're in for a fun ride, Marilyn!

Jim Jackson said...

I'm primarily a pantser. Some intrusive characters end up working their way into permanent secondary character status. Others end up as the killer's next victim, showing them that even a pantser author is ultimately the boss of the story.

Susan said...

Glad to hear you’ve found the best way for you despite an occasional uppity character.

Margaret S. Hamilton said...

I love a new character, intrusive or not. I was recently told to name a secondary character, and as soon as he had a name, his abrasive personality appeared.

Molly MacRae said...

I'm half plotter, half pantster - a plantster. It's an organic process. Have fun with that new character, Marilyn, but keep an eye on her.

KM Rockwood said...

Ah, yes. The characters who refuse to conform to what we think they should do. I've met any number of them. Sometimes I find the best way to deal with them is to write a short story with them as the main character. It often makes them less demanding in other ways.

J.C. Kenney said...

I'm a big plotter, Marilyn, though my characters are the ones in control. When I introduced a new character in book three of my Allie Cobb Mysteries, I had no idea how important she would become. I bet she did, though!

Kait said...

Wonderful story, Marilyn! I have a foot in both camps. My books begin with a series of scenes and bullet points that provide a loose structure and important guideposts. After that, I let the story take me away. Sounds a lot like your process. I’m looking forward to Julie’s debut and reading how Carrie handles her.

Marilyn Levinson said...

Thank you all for your comments re your plotting method and re my new character. Like Annette and Molly, I'm a bit of both, but becoming more of a pantser every day!

Marilyn Levinson said...

Oh, and you, too, Kait—having a foot in both camps!

Shari Randall said...

I pants but how I'd love to be a plotter, to have the security of knowing how everything will go between the first and last pages of the book.
Julie sounds like she could become a scene-stealer - watch out!

Marilyn Levinson said...

Shari, She's already causing trouble!

Tammy Euliano said...

great post. I'm still trying to decide which I am. I plot, then the characters disagree, and I replot. I got all the way to the last couple of chapters, and they decided to change who the bad guy was! Now I have a lot of revising to do.

Marilyn Levinson said...

Oh, Tammy, what a bunch of bossy characters you have! Still, you have to listen to what they say.