Tricky to figure timings and timeline when a pregnancy, a coma, a death, a post mortem, a funeral and a birth are involved… Now I see why writers stick things all over their walls. I’ve done three A4 pages horizontally stuck together, using a calendar to count out the days and events. I wonder if this will work.
Scene of the crime… that is the Times Crime Club Masterclass last night held way up high. Besides top agent Jane Gregory, top Hodder editor Julia Wisdom, and three super-established authors (Sophie Hannah, Charles Cumming, Henry Sutton) they even arranged a glorious sunset. It’s always good to get a writing boost from those who know. The plot-comes-out-of-character v character-comes-out-of-plot is one to turn over in the mind. And this reminder gave me a huge clue on how to resolve my struggle with Chapter 6: ‘What does the character want? What is in the way?’
Police to the rescue — when researching for my detective novel a great source turns up at the local Chiswick House Café. Community Police Team heard out my tale of an alternative therapist who finds a body in the woods in Chiswick — what happens next? Real police for the real deal from what they wear, what the skipper decides, is she under suspicion, to when CID comes in and how they’ll track that car. And the difference between harassment and anti-social behaviour. Doing their duty, Constable Aung (with me here) and Office Kingsmill wish to reassure the public that Chiswick is safe. But they also like a good story — so that’s two fans for my Julia Deogracias and A Body of Knowledge?
I am desperate to sort out the timeline. So much depends on the sequence of things. But I can’t figure out actions/things until the players speak, act, interact. That’s where the tension is and there’s tension of time and tension of characters. And then tension of interweaving storylines of J and T. I need to write scenes to know what is happening, only then are the characters real and alive, and the drama is what leads to a cliffhanger or next opening. But if I don’t know the timing… it won’t work. So I am just writing scenes into the blue and putting xxx for days and dates. But whenever I get through the draft and sort it, then the scenes might not work. ARGH, I’ve never done it this way before! = The meaning of the word NOVEL. New. First time. Just talking here from the crime detection writing coalface…
PS A new haiku on so still page here.
Still bashing away at the Discovery Draft and I’d written myself into a fab cliff hanger. Next day, Nooooo. I’ve run into a wall of resistance. I need a scene with a drama between T and her father. He’s the wicked baddie… has driven her to lies. So it is a backstory set-up, tense drama but short.
BUT I am writing in bits. Scenes, short chapters, and I’m not even sure of the order and timings. I want to stay loose so as to feel free and invent. Yet I want to stitch it all together to see if the order works. Without nailing myself down. Argh — stuck every way I turn.
This is writing in the dark, bashing on. Meanwhile here’s my photo of a magical lantern show in the gardens of Chiswick House — ships that pass in the night?
Ooooh, real hard-won advice from real helpful author Catherine Ryan Howard. I asked on her vlog and she answered me by name… How do you write your book and still do that big search for an agent? Tune into her blog Here for her reply. And loads of other good stuff on her blog, on all sorts of things. Thank you, Catherine — and here’s her exciting thriller!