Wednesday, March 28, 2012

I want your opinion on this story - and I want your opinion to be that you love it...

I asked my husband to take a look at my Work in Progress the other day and to offer his honest opinion. He did.

"It's too slow here," he said, pointing to a specific chapter. "I think you need to go back to thinking like a journalist."

What?! I was mortified. Offended. Miffed. Disappointed. How could he not see my genius? How could he not realize how wonderful  my words were, see the beauty in my prose?! What was he, crazy?!

Then I took a few minutes to cool off, and read over the chapter in question. I reviewed his comments in my head and realized, that, well,  he was right. That chapter was indeed moving too slow. It didn't have a journalist's edge. It needed work.

I also realized that I'd fallen into an age-old writer's trap. I hadn't really wanted his review, I'd wanted his validation.

 Critiques can be hard to hear. But they're necessary. Vital, even, to move a story forward. Sigh. Type, type, type. Back to the drawing board.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Old boyfriends and dead editors - how much information is TMI?

Should I tell you about the old boyfriends, the hometown, the murdered editor? Or wait a minute - how much information is TMI?

That's a quandary I'm wrestling with as I work on the sequel to Death on Deadline. In a sequel, much background information is too much? How much will help, and how much will hinder?

How much does the reader really need to know about protagonist America Miles to understand the mystery she's embroiled in now?

I want the sequel to stand on its own. For me, there's nothing more annoying than picking up a book and finding out you don't know what the heck is going on because it's not the first book in the series.

But like with any relationship, the more you know about someone, the better you understand their actions. Does it make a difference that the "someone" is fictional?

So I'm treading lightly, with carefully placed transitions, a few remembrances and a trip or two down memory lane.

I feel like I'm walking a tightrope between the past and the present. I just hope I can keep my balance.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Planning evil deeds in a newsroom is not an easy task

A newspaper is a really hard place to commit a dastardly deed - even fictionally speaking. I discovered this recently as I was writing the sequel to my first book, Death on Deadline.

Death on Deadline is a light-hearted mystery novel that centers on a crime that's committed in a newsroom. I don't want to give it all away, but suffice it to say that there's a nasty editor whose

days of slicing and dicing the copy of reporters is numbered.

Anyway, in the sequel, which I'm working hard to finish and is tentatively titled Paper Cut, I decided to off yet another person in a newsroom. (Apparently I have issues).

But because of the circumstances, I needed someone to find the body. You know, because it's a MYSTERY. In Death on Deadline, the editor was pretty much killed in plain sight - the killer was just that sneaky.

Not so in Paper Cut. Someone needs to actually find the victim - which means the newsroom has to be EMPTY. I never even thought of the difficulty of that scenario when I was plotting my victim's demise.

Because here's the thing: Newsrooms are never empty. If I were a killer, I would never feel confident that I had my victim alone in one. There's always a reporter, editor, photographer or copy editor wandering in, checking a schedule, eating a sandwich, writing some copy or bringing in equipment for repair.

It took some serious rewriting, and a lot of creativity to make it work. I might have to find a new venue for my next foray into fiction.