Does Length (or Size) Matter?
After all these years of writing and having some of my work published, I rarely, if ever, considered word count. It wasn’t until Newsweek told me to lose 200 words of my carefully (and beautifully) constructed article on pedophilia in the Catholic clergy that I thought in terms of length. But word count only mattered in journalism, not fiction.
Taking It Scene by Scene: a coach’s advice
If you think you’re a pretty good writer (which I do) and you want to become a better writer (which I also do), then my advice is to hire an editor. Bear in mind, though, that even though you’re paying them, a good editor will be direct and honest, often brutally so. It’s kind of a writer’s version of going to an S&M parlor.
Want Help? Just Ask.
In my previous novels, I’ve stuck pretty much to the maxim: write what you know. Readers who don’t know me might raise their eyes at this statement, since my three novels have been about sexual violence and prison life; genocide; and pedophilia. In my defense, I...
Sideways and Down
Petra doesn’t need an alarm, not after all these years. Though she sets one every night.
Waking before the alarm goes off—not a stumbling into the day but sitting up alert and relaxed—she checks the clock, though she knows what it will say. 5:40. Clad in yoga pants and a sleeveless stretchy black t-shirt, she slings her feet over the side of the bed and pads out of the bedroom on panther feet.
The Alternative Prologue
If you read the previous blog, please continue reading. If you’re joining this blog at this point, I’d recommend going back and reading the previous installment.
Here’s the deal: I’m writing my next project as both a script and novel. I opened both with the Prologue from the earlier blog (a bunch of VCs aboard a yacht), but while the producer I’m working with on the script loved it as a grabber opening, my writing coach felt I was introducing characters that we wouldn’t see again until the end of Act 1. She wanted something more in line with antagonist/protagonist line of development.
Novels vs. Screenplays
I’m trying something a bit different with my fourth novel. In the first three I wrote either a complete novel or a complete screenplay, then, once it was out and making the rounds, I’d write its counterpart. Left for Alive was a novel for three years before I turned it into a screenplay. The Devil’s Breath was a screenplay first, then a novel. Same with The Empty Confessional.
A Writing Coach
In my particular case, there are two ways to look at the decision to hire a coach to help in my fiction writing. The first is simple: if it’s such a good idea, why didn’t you do it from the start? The answer to that one is equally simple: hubris. I’d been writing most of my life, thought I was pretty good, had a great idea for a novel, and get out of my way. To be honest, I didn’t even know there was such a thing as a writing coach, though if I’d been smart, I could have used the Interweb to find out. Instead, I plunged ahead and just wrote. The resulting novel was fairly well-received, so I thought I’d just keep on doing the same thing for novel #2 (The Devil’s Breath), which was better received. So I repeated it for novel #3 (The Empty Confessional), which got even better reviews.
Working from an Outline
For better or worse, with my previous three novels I’ve known the ending before I started writing. I appreciate those authors who say they just start writing and go where the characters take them. I’m not one of them. I know where the novel ends and usually where it starts—it’s what’s in between that’s difficult.
I’m almost at the point where I’m about to start writing. This time around I’ve taken a much more measured, deliberate approach to laying out the book, characters, plot, sub-plots before, in the old adage, ‘putting pen to paper.’
The Forever Game and Novel Writing Insights
Having written and published three novels, as well as one business book, I’m getting the hang of this writing thing. It doesn’t mean I’m any good at it, but I’ve got scars and lessons that I’m applying to the fourth novel and that I believe can be of interest and benefit to anyone embarking on their own fiction-writing venture.
Left For Alive
Two brothers and their ex-con cohorts are investigated at every turn by press and police. Their violent mysteries start to unravel, until a final revelation gives one brother a new life while ending the life of the other.