Archive for the ‘crime fiction’ Category

The Great Things: 

My book got published – Yay! And did really well (what?) Sunday Times best seller, #1 in the Kindle charts – I have been encouraging nearly everyone I know to start writing a book. Having found out the secret to getting published and making all your publishing dreams come true is actually working really hard at it for years and years (who knew?) Seriously though, if you think you want to write a book – write the damn book!

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My second book got published! and also is doing well #1 Kindle – it has a super awesome cover. I’m hoping for a less food based cover for book number three as I just want cake whenever I look at the cover for ‘The Secret’ (funny the apple on the cover of the Teacher did not have this affect on me!)

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SO MUCH great TV – Between  Netflix exclusive ‘Stranger Things’, HBO’s ‘The Night Of’ and ‘Westworld’ – which are probably my three top favourites of the year – If you haven’t seen them – do!  Even the DC (CW) offerings of Arrow, Supergirl,  The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow have been good, (although not perfect through my hypercritical eye). As excited as i was for Luke Cage (Marvel) it just didn’t deliver for me for a multitude of reasons, most of all being that it should have been a great deal shorter because it was long and tedious. Some great performances but ultimately very disappointing.

The Night of was just phenomenal though, so so good. I don’t want to say too much about it for fear of spoilers – but John Turturro and Riz Ahmed both give fantastic performances.

I met so many great people, I got invited to go and see Michael Buble play at the Camden roundhouse as a treat from iBooks (he was SO good) – where I also met the lovely Lisa Hall and Louise Jensen. I must admit to avoiding most social gatherings as I hate ‘the outside’ (said in a similar tone to ‘the upside down’ for those of you that have seen Stranger things).

 

I run a tiny writing group locally and that’s pretty much my entire social life. I shall be doing a new one this year as well locally. Anything that gets me out of the house is a bonus, I must keep battling my inner agoraphobic.

I have booked Crimefest & Harrogate – and will be going to Bloody Scotland as well this year so I really need to get over myself!

The not so Great things:

Lets not forget the sleepwalking. Turns out that in the run up to publication I get really stressed and experience some bizarre side effects like doing weird shit in my sleep.  before The Teacher was released I took my new Karin Slaughter paperback book and ripped the first few pages home out and chucked it across the room in my sleep. I woke up in the morning slightly confused but vaguely remembering doing it. (it was a great book by the way – Pretty Girls). The weekend before The Secret was released I moved house. I had previously had some cream velvet curtains made up and they were folded nicely in a bag and in a crate, under another crate. In the morning all my covers were on the floor and I was wrapped in my brand new 7 foot long velvet curtains. Very strange.

I was invited out for drinks in London – to the Groucho club – so I planned on going into London for a few hours before to do some research. I got dressed up in the morning and did my hair, put my best make up on and going out clothes but my friend asked me to stop with her at the surgery and she would drop me off at the train station. I went with her to to docs and then as we were walking back to her car a young policeman kept staring at me, he was on a bike and kept circling back. I imagined I must either look pretty amazing or he knew I who I was (its happened, its a small town) ‘Can I help you?’ I asked  – ‘Whats your name?’ he asked me – ‘Katerina Diamond’ I responded ‘Why?’ – ‘Because you match the description of a lady who has escaped from a secure facility and is a danger to herself and others.’ –  Yeah. That really happened.

 

Whats next? 

Be more organised, be better at admin generally (so so bad at that) Drink more (no really) Read more! I have read 2 books this week and it feels amazing – but its not something I usually give myself time for. Write more – and be more organised about that as well. Work hard and play harder! Blog more!

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Here is a long overdue blog post about things that have been happening with me. The unexpected side of being a published author – both positive and negative.

First of all this may seem like I am complaining – I absolutely am not complaining! I have been so happy lately I’m beginning to wonder if I can drag my mind back down to the depths I need to go to in order to finish the second book… I’m sure I will manage!

Getting Lucky

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So I ‘got lucky’ and got published. Suddenly I find myself on a ‘side’ – I didn’t know there were sides! I am very naive when it comes to the politics of these things because all I have done is keep my head down and write. I have faced a little resentment from a couple of people, probably because I seemingly came out of nowhere, because I got lucky and published my first book which then rocketed into the charts and has been doing steadily ever since. Its taken me a while to crack this writing malarkey and I have had my fair share of rejection – but I changed what I was writing and tried to get better every time, if you learn from rejection its not quite so bad! So being jealous or resentful because I am not out marketing myself at every turn, being annoyed that this is some kind of cake walk for me- is rather silly because it was not an easy path – yes the last year has been utterly phenomenal – but it took me a long time to get there. I really haven’t just walked into this, its been my dream for most of my adult life.

Overcoming Shyness

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Getting over my crippling shyness – this has been the biggest obstacle for me. Both in writing and in self promotion I am very secretive and ‘closed’ and so it took me a long time to send off for an agent, it took me a long time to have enough belief in myself to do that. I have had to let it go a little and just trust that other people who know what they are doing believe in me and so I should stop trying to self sabotage and start behaving like an author would (whatever that means!} The anxiety I first felt of how peoples perception of me would change after they had read my book is mostly gone now. I don’t think its something that will ever truly go as its such a private thing. If a little bit of your soul doesn’t go into everything you write then you just end up with a hollow mash of well constructed sentences. I personally think its important to write what’s uncomfortable. Write the dark things because those are the thoughts that people latch onto and identify with.

Getting reviews!

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Reviews! Getting reviews for my book has been both amazing and challenging at times. I have had a lot of 5 star reviews – over 200 now (over 300 4/5*) which I am stunned by. You see I wrote the book that I thought I would enjoy to read, and its nice to see so many other people enjoyed it too. I have around 50 one star reviews – either I’m pretentious or my grammar is so appalling they couldn’t possibly get past it! Some of the other less favourable reviews have mentioned my use of the word saline – instead of tears – my mother also mentioned this to me. Its not something that I would get my knickers in a twist over if I read it in someone else’s work but point taken, I wont use it again! Also my daughter is obsessed with my use of the word wainscotting, because apparently no one knows what that is. I know I should be grateful to even have reviews – and believe me – I am! I have learned to laugh at some of my reviews, especially one who referred to me as Katerina DIEmond (in exactly that way!) and try and take some pointers for the future from others. I am not averse to constructive criticism (as long as I agree with it!). Still hard to read a dismissive review when you have spent literally YEARS working on something. Dont even get me started on reviews with spoilers in them!!! grrrr!

Meeting great People!

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I have met some great people since being published – this is possibly partly due to the fact that I feel I have the right to call myself an author now, instead of muttering that I like to write stories – which people just don’t get or take seriously. Being a published author gives me a feeling of legitimacy. I think generally I have been more open to new friendships. The support I have received from other writers is just brilliant. I have so many questions all the time which must make me seem like I have been living under a rock for my entire life. For the most part I have been quite moved by the support and sense of community I am experiencing. Also the book bloggers (who I didn’t know existed) have been so supportive as well – some have even become friends. As mentioned before there are a couple of people who I sense some deep resentment from but I see that as their issue and not mine as almost everyone else has been great. I have had one person get the hump with me for not promoting their book online but the fact is, I barely like promoting my own book – I certainly don’t want to promote something that I haven’t read. I don’t mind retweeting things that other people ask me to retweet – but I feel newly constructed or written tweets should be FROM me, about things I want to say or feel passionate about! The marketing side of things does my head in a little bit, I am so pleased I am not in charge of that myself. I really admire anyone who has the ability to both write great books and market themselves successfully without being pushy and in your face – that would be my main concern! I absolutely LOATHE clickbait and couldn’t bring myself to post any – even when I repost clickbait I put a synopsis in my post! it just seems so damn dishonest!

Having a great Agent and Publishers.

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I was a total novice and this is where I truly believe I did get lucky. My agent Diane Banks saw something in my book that she liked. My publishers Avon felt the same way. I sent off to a few Agents, and my Agent sent off to a few publishers for me to have landed with the team of people that I did was incredibly good luck on my part. I get warm squishy feelings about all of them (and I am not a warm squishy person). I think this was the best possible outcome for me – on all fronts! I think it shows in both my sales and the great working partnership I feel I have with both my previous editor and my new one. I have heard so many horror stories from other writers about shocking behaviour from both agents and publishers I didn’t realise it could be so bad! I would be utterly USELESS as a self published author, I probably would have sold about 12 books by now, and that’s even less impressive when you consider the size of my family alone. As it stands I have been in the Sunday Times Best Seller list 3 weeks in a row (what??!!) and I was a number one kindle best seller (??!!) I’m still holding into the top 5 on kindle although I feel that’s about to change as some great titles are being released over the next couple of weeks. My book will also start moving internationally soon and that’s just amazing, too.

Being a success!

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Well I always said I was more afraid of success than I was of failure. Its a new feeling but its a nice feeling. The main thing I am noticing is that the hard work has just begun. I had my own time and pace to get my foot through the door but now its there I have more books to write and actual deadlines instead of self imposed ones. I have had so many people ask me when the second book is coming out, its such a great feeling. I am so excited for the next few years of my life. I’m also so grateful to everyone who has been so incredibly nice to me. I was feeling a little fragile on entry into the world of being an author – on publication day I came down with the flu and was in bed for 4 days! intermittently tweeting a gif between naps through my fever.

Anyway – I’m on holiday at the moment so its back to the pool for me!

live long and prosper!

Well – First world problems – Am I right?

If you’re a creative person – it’s probably not likely to change at any time soon.

Imagine sitting in a room with an artist, a seamstress, a baker, a writer, a photographer, a crafter, etc etc – now imagine instead its not a room at all but an arena where all of those people have to fight to the death to see who comes out on top – Yep.

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I used to have a market stall in a little market near where I live where I sold things that I had made. Meanwhile on the side I was writing stories at home. When I had my market stall people would come up and say – Wow your stuff is great and then buy my stuff – or they would slyly take photos of my stuff and then try and recreate it themselves – or occasionally they would just poke it like it was a dead rat or something. All in all I never really did well on my Market stall.

Before that a friend and I decided to write a TV show – we wrote 15 episodes and tried to pitch it – with both of us being introverts it was quite hard to do. Instead we wrote a web-series to go with it – thats another story entirely.

Before that I used to make rockabilly petticoats and sell them on ebay – at the time I was trying to write a movie as well – this was about 12 years ago before the rockabilly thing became a big THING and now you cant move for rockabilly petticoats on ebay. I did ‘ok’ with the petticoats – but while I liked the finished products, I didnt really like the work. I enjoy creating in general.

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I got so disheartened with that – I donated all the things I had made to a local charity shop and then decided to put away my sewing machine and concentrate on the writing – for while I like to make things: I LOVE to be writing. I thought long and hard about the best way to be a writer and I decided I wanted to write something that I wanted to read. I like reading crime thrillers and so I decided to write one of those – I was already a little way into my novel before I made that decision but while I was enjoying the story I was writing, I didn’t believe in it, it wasn’t something I would read. It was a bit boring.

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I watched a load of crime thrillers, read some crime thrillers, had a really good think about writing a crime thriller and then I just got on with it. I cant even begin to tell you the number of projects I have started over the years and not finished – mainly because I didn’t believe in myself. I decided to ignore those nagging feelings and carry on writing.

This is where it gets tricky – I’ve had such an amazing response so far to what I have written that I started to believe all the hype. At the end of the day I’m just a regular person who decided to write a book.  It’s getting closer to my publication date and I don’t quite feel like an author yet – I feel like I’m just pretending.

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However – I did write a book and it did get published. (or soon will be at least) I’m starting to get a trickle of opinions from people who don’t know me, who don’t know that I am not this remote entity with no feelings. In real life – and anyone who knows me will tell you this – I’m pretty laid back about what other people think of me. I felt vulnerable when I was letting people look at cushions I had made – amplify that by about a million and you would be close to how I feel about people reading my book.

Why the hell did I do this to myself? 

 

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I’m not complaining – I made my choices. I knew it would come to this. I just need to take a deep breath and take it on the chin. I’m going to get bad reviews, I deliberately wrote a book that would appeal to me, and I’m a hard person to please – there are things I like that other people don’t, there are things other people like that I don’t. I cant get hung up on the negativity and just try and find a way to use the criticisms I get constructively.

 

 

 

Well silly things inspire me. Sometimes it can be a music video, sometimes it can be a movie, or a tiny bit of dialogue. The mood of things is often inspirational to me. Trying to recreate a mood or a feeling for other people.

I’ll be the first to admit that I can be a little dark, for this reason I tend to gravitate towards slightly darker themes, both in music and films. I am also quite inspired by romance, not big gestures but small intimate romantic moments. I am a hopeless romantic trapped inside the mind of a slightly disturbed and over-active imagination.

I was asked to write a blog on music that inspired me while I was writing my book.I do listen to music when I write, a lot of other writers I have spoken to were horrified by this notion. How can you listen to lyrics? I also explained I sometimes watch TV while i am writing. Sometimes I do need to switch everything off but usually have something going on in the background.

So each one of my characters usually has a song that fits them, for me – usually based on mood – lyrics – feelings etc.

Between the Bars – Madeleine Peyroux

This song has always been a favourite of mine, moreover this particular cover of it. The original recording was by Elliott smith. I always thought of it as purely a love song until I met one of my main characters then it took on a whole new meaning. suddenly the lyrics were sung from the point of view of that destructive voice in your head that constantly reminds you who you are, deep down; coaxing you to stay the same as you have always been, never to improve yourself because you cant escape who you really are. That the only thing you can really trust is that you will fail at some point, its inescapable.

 

Pretty when you cry – VAST

Well this is a tricky song, but its beautiful in its own way. For me it explores the idea that somehow someone elses actions towards you can be your fault, as though you are forcing them to behave a certain way just because of who you are. Of course we all know this is nonsense, but that’s the delusion some predatory people have. It also makes me think of the overwhelming urge in some people to possess, violate and control something pure and innocent, because of their inability to be a human being. Of course by doing that you lose interest in them, you take away the thing you wanted and suddenly you don’t want them anymore. The hypnotic beat and monotone matter-of-factness of the vocalist adds to the mood of the predator – “This is all your fault you know, if you weren’t so vulnerable then I wouldn’t be forced to take advantage of that…”

 

Change (in the house of flies) – Deftones 

Possibly my favourite song ever anyway. But the theme of this is what gets me – again – the compulsion to make something ugly, to take away that which makes it beautiful. The need to witness that destruction. To essentially make something as ugly as you. Both physically and metaphorically.  Also a part of yourself hating that you have this inside you. Then replaying the guilt of your actions and waiting for the repercussions; wanting them. For me this fits several of my “victims” who have created the “ugly fly”.

 

Say it Right – Nelly Furtado 

I don’t know what the official meaning of this song is but for me it speaks to one of the most important relationships in this book. Which is two broken people who need each other, but are afraid to admit it. Its more of a feeling than the lyrics. The hesitant building of a relationship and that knowledge that this could be IT, the big one, the forever relationship. Also the understanding that if you both accept this is really happening that everything will change. That you can save each other. Also I think its about laying it all out there and saying “Look – I’m fucked up – are you SURE you want some of this? Because once you do there is no going back…”

 

Made of Scars – Stonesour

scar tissue is stronger than regular skin. This makes me think of a  survivor, someone who has been scarred in lots of different ways but still refuses to be a victim. Remember your past, use it to become a stronger person. Also the idea that everything that happens in our life shapes who we become.

 

46&2 – Tool 

OK, without going into the Jungian 46&2 theory  (look it up, its interesting) For me this song perfectly sums up the need to move on and the willingness to do whatever it takes to get there. Its sinister and sexy in the way it sounds (to me anyway) and that adds to the drama of it. The idea of picking your scabs (obviously these are mental scabs) but it has to be done in order to “shed the skin”. Rebirth through cleansing, confronting the things about yourself that need to be addressed before you can have a new life. Its about making the decision to move forward with your life but knowing there is no easy way to do that, that in order to do that you have to clean out the darkness and sometimes that means becoming the darkness. Being aware of every part of you so that you can get rid of the parts you don’t want anymore.

 

Exile – Show of Hands 

A beautiful song written by Steve Knightley. I spent a lot of time at folk festivals when I was a teenager, I saw this band a few times although this is not my video. This song was one of my favourites. It took on a new meaning for me after writing this book. Metaphorically it represents the loss of an important relationship  within the book. How one event that takes place immediately estranges one of the female protagonists and that suddenly she’s all alone. For me its about the father/daughter relationship that is suddenly impossible.

 

 

Bring me to Life – Evanescence

To be really seen by someone, to realise that as lost and alone you are that there is someone else who can reach you and accepting that you can come back from the brink of darkness. That your whole life is a prelude to meeting this person and that when you connect you will both be alive again. Even though that’s almost a literal interpretation of the lyrics   its a passionate song – begging to be saved – from yourself and the choices you have made, from staying hidden, from making yourself invisible. There are a couple of invisibles in the book and in a way the book is largely about when they ‘wake up’

 

How to disappear completely – Radiohead 

Firstly, the amount of Radiohead songs I could have included in this list isnt even funny. I personally find their music very evocative and moody, not just lyrically but melodically too. I picked this one because its just lovely. I think the lyrics speak for themselves and require no explanation. To me it sounds like a mantra you would say when you close your eyes, when something so terrible is happening that you need to take yourself out of that situation at least mentally.

 

Animal I have become –  Three Days Grace 

Again this idea that who you are is inevitable, that you have become something so vile that you are beyond saving, but so desperate for someone to save you and make you better even if you don’t believe its possible. Compulsion to do bad things because you are filled with rage and hate ; knowing what you are doing is wrong but being unable to do anything differently.  “Help me believe its not the real me” is probably one of the most important lyrics in the song for me – because thats the last link to humanity, the wanting to be better, just needing that validation is the reason  you aren’t totally bad, the moment you stop needing it is the moment you are lost.

 

Prosthetics – Slipknot (Explicit Lyrics)

Ok this is a dark one. Its heavy too. The first time I heard this it made me feel a bit sick (so naturally I love it!). From the perspective of a predator/stalker. I think its the collaborative nature of the lyrics that get me in this song. As though this stalking behaviour is somehow an agreement between two people. I feel as though this ‘relationship’ is something I have tried to recreate within the novel. As though Predator and Prey are both in it together, they know their roles. Also that sense of blame, as though the victim has created this scenario “You brought it outta me” – Aside from the lyrics I find the music itself quite desperate and harrowing.

 

Uninvited – Alanis Morissette

Falling in love is hard, especially when you are happy in your little bubble of loneliness, when you have written yourself off as someone who is unlovable. This song probably has more relevance to my second novel, although after reading the second novel certain things in the first novel will take on more significance (confused?!)  As someone who has read both I can tell you that this is happening in the first one although we don’t know that yet… Falling in love with someone unsuitable is also hard – it reinforces for me the idea that you just cant control that stuff!

 

 

 

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That’ll do for now I think but there are plenty more – maybe I’ll add more description after the book is released – struggling not to give you spoilers!

Until next time…

 

 

 

 

 

I start out with an idea rather than a plan – its hard to get a complete plan together until I have started writing, but thats just me. I would say in crime fiction planning is absolutely necessary, even if its just a basic idea that you constantly add to

Usually I write about 30k words and then I get stuck as I have to put in more plot elements that slot together Thats when i start my plan.

Because I usually write one thread that will take up chapters 1, 5, 9, 13, 17 etc then I need to figure out what slots in between there – what impact the things I have written already will have on the things I have yet to write. to be honest sometimes i write parts of chapters near the end – i most definitely do not write in a linear way, at least not to start with. Sometimes an idea I have could be slotted into almost any part of the story. sometimes it needs to be earlier or later.

Another thing I have started doing (because of the way i write, is writing all the chapter headings and then putting some plot points under the heading, so that when i get there, I can either add more plot points or I can write the story. EXample

CHAPTER 6

  • KILL BOB
  • ANNA FINDS OUT WHO MOTHER IS
  • DOG GETS RUN OVER

CHAPTER 7

  • DOG IN VETS
  • SUZY GETS SECTIONED

CHAPTER 8

Here i have an actual chapter that I have already written with little bits of information that pertain to things that are happening. Usually to start this would be a past thread, so something thats happened some time before the crimes have started – so far that seems to be my format, who knows what my next book will be written – oh i do, as I already have some ideas for that jotted down somewhere. 

CHAPTER 9

  • SUZYS POV
  • BOBS BODY FOUND BY HIS SISTER

CHAPTER 9

  • POLICE INVESTIGATE BOBS MURDER
  • DETECTIVE FALLS OUT WITH BOSS

You get the idea. and then either side of that will be fully written chapters, but so i know what I have thought i need to put in those chapters I just jot them under.  I start filling in the gaps as the ideas come to me, eventually there isnt much filling left to do. I realise this isnt a conventional way of doing things, That’s in my actual manuscript. Theres a point where you need to stop planning and continue writing, because sometimes the writing is the inspiration for more of the plot to come out. Sometimes your characters lead you in a certain direction and it can be hard to stick to your plan. Think about what the overall objective is as opposed to the journey there – you don’t have to follow your plan to the letter – let your creativity guide you. You will eventually get to a point where the end is in sight and you know what to do.

Good luck!

I think this is the most important part of a story, because without a believable character then nothing else will hold together.

One of my favourite characters ever doesn’t even have a name, because she doesn’t need one. In Daphne Du Mauriers book Rebecca, the female leads name is never revealed to us. We come to know her as the second Mrs De Winter – but nothing more than that. Thats because her character is dependent on her being overshadowed by Maximillian De winters first wife Rebecca, the story depends on us never really knowing her by her name, but by her character and her paranoia surrounding the dead wife of her bitter husband. Such clever writing, its a book I have read a hundred times and yet I only noticed that a little while ago and yet its intrinsic to the story.

You can do all kinds of things when you are trying to create a believable character, you can make list after list, you can write yourself a template questionnaire which you answer for every character you make. Its important to know your character though. I’ve been known to catfish to develop a character, so I will make an online profile for my character and then join social media platforms and interact with other people, funnily enough you get to know your character more when other people are asking you questions, because they are things you wouldn’t necessarily think of when looking at the character development yourself. This may seem unethical and it probably is but it has worked for me in the past, of course you have to be a very good storyteller and a very quick thinker.

Another thing I do is get photos of celebrities, because sometimes you have so many characters that its hard to hold them in your head. I put their picture on the wall with a note-card and a small bio, what their motivations are and what they are looking to achieve by the end of the story. By midway through a story I have plenty of images to keep my head together and focus on who is who. Nailing your characters appearance is a huge part of moving forward – even if its just for yourself, having a vision of an actual person in your head definitely makes a difference – at least it does for me.

How does your character interact with others, are they friendly, obtuse, slutty, defensive? how? – learning that is another huge stepping stone.

Motivation – what does your character want? Everyone wants something – I want something, I don’t just drift through life as a bit part to someone elses story – even your smaller characters have motivations, hopes desires and dreams – obviously if your character only has a small part to play you may not want to spend too long thinking about it, but think about it nonetheless.

Flaws – perfect characters are kind of boring, so are characters that get everything they want all the time, or lucky people, they are kind of boring too. We want to see our heroes work for it, we want them to struggle and bleed for their redemption. Make your characters flawed, Everyone has flaws – I know I do. Just like everyone encounters obstacles in life, its hard to like people who don’t, its hard to relate to people who don’t. We need to see our characters learn and grow. We need to be able to relate to them.

Dialogue is a topic unto itself but for the most part people speak differently, its a good way to distinguish characters from each other, some may talk a lot, some may be constantly sarcastic or mean, some may even be highly political or militant. There are so many ways to define character with dialogue, its just another tool in your arsenal, dont just rely on wordy descriptions of your character, SHOW the audience who they are by what they say and do.

Most of all its important to give your characters dimension, go people watching, make up stories for people you see in the street, sit in a cafe somewhere and observe what others do, the differences in the way they speak. Watch people. Think about your favourite characters in books or films and what it was that made them great – see if you can recreate that for your audience.

Until Next time

The simple fact of the matter is that there is no good time to write, because you can have a free day but not a single thought worth thinking, or you can have a busy day and the ideas are coming at you thick and fast. The truth is, you write when you can and even when you cant, even when you don’t want to, you write. If you indulge that side of you that says I cant think of anything to say then you may not think of anything to say for days, weeks, months.

My best ideas usually come when I have absolutely no way of getting them onto paper, or I have just enough time to write key words – which i look at with confusion later on as it turns out I cant remember what the hell the key words refer to.

I indulged my writers block for too long, and it festered until I had to re-familiarized myself with my work all over again. Sometimes of course you need the break, you need to experience things that might trigger things for you later on, when it comes to writing, sometimes you need to let the ideas manifest and mature in your mind. So write something else, write a part of your story that will never make it to an audience, write a side story, write a scene that you think might be cute or exciting, but not necessarily move the plot forwards. It keeps you in the zone.

My goal for this month is to write 2000 words each week day – some days i might write more, but 2000 is my absolute minimum for my novel, because I have been too indulgent with myself. I have had so many ideas and now I have the flesh of the plot in my grasp, but not if i don’t start to write it down,

So my advice to you is to just write, keep it fresh- even if its crap dont worry – you can edit it in the rewrite, if you can see its not supposed to be in the story you can cut it, If you haven’t written anything you cant edit it and you cant cut it. Keep going keep going keep going – one of the worst things I used to do as a writer was to constantly go over and edit things that I had already written. If its a plot issue then put a note on it to change it later, If its bad writing dont worry too much. Just keep moving forwards and rack your word count up until you reach your target. once you have finished the book you can go back over it all and fix it, but if you don’t get to the end there’s no point in fixing the beginning.

Until next time

I watch a lot of television. I try at least to watch any drama show that has been renewed for a second season – my reasoning is this – these shows must have something that keeps the audience coming back.

I don’t know about you but when i do anything I am analysing it from the perspective of how it would work in a book or a screenplay, every. single. interaction. I am no more critical than when i read (or watch) other peoples work. Not to pull it apart to find the flaws, but to find the gems in it, the things that make me FEEL something.

It occurs to me in life that I am a voyeur, constantly evaluating and interpreting life in a way that I can translate what I have learned to other people, through my writing.

Sometimes if i am honest I just don’t get it, some TV shows have me baffled, without naming any names, I just don’t understand the appeal.

I like action movies, I like the simplicity of them (although I could never write one, i would be out of my depth) – and sometimes the things that look the simplest are actually the hardest things to pull off. Its a true talent that, making something look simple – and i don’t mean making something look like you wrote it in one go and then made it in one go, I’m talking about something so well put together that you don’t even really notice how its put together. (I know what i mean)

What i like the most is the subtlety of thought that is brought out in me – something that challenges what i believe about myself – something that i think i have always believed – to be forced to question myself.

Something else I like is revenge, revenge is sexy, no matter how long it takes, to see the balance restored is something that’s very appealing to me. One of my favourite Tv shows of all time is OZ – I faced a lot of personal moral dilemmas when watching that one. To feel sorry for the bad guys, to see a hierarchy of bad guys and wondering who is the worst, and realising how easy it is to forgive and empathise with someone who you once hated. my favourite character in this series was Ryan O Reilly, played by dean winters, who , aside from having the sexiest voice in the history of voices, is a truly excellent actor as the manipulative addict  in this scene that im about to show you Ryan is talking to Patrick, a fellow irishman in prison – he knows that patrick has raped the prison doctor, a woman that ryan is absolutely obsessed with, because its something to do, but he does it wholeheartedly and without condition, she is seriously creeped out by him. Ryan doesnt get his hands dirty he manipulates until he gets what he wants, thats why this scene was so striking and sexy – and why its probably one of my favourite tv moments ever. (link below)

Ill talk more in other posts about other tv moments i like – but that one gets me every time.

Until next time

For me what can make or break a novel is the feeling that the author has a firm grasp on the underlying facts, its not necessary for them to impart every single fact they know to me, but the ones relevant to the story.

In crime this is particularly true (as with historical fiction, although i personally wouldn’t attempt to write historical fiction without getting a degree in the era of my choosing).

The way it works for me is that i get an idea, and then i think – hmmm I should look into that, then probably spend a few days looking into it, until I have a fairly rounded idea of the basics of it – in UNKINDNESS i came across plenty of ideas that needed to be researched, as I had a slight historical element to the story. You can get by like this for most things that you are merely touching on. i had to do a lot of research into instruments of torture, from various countries – the unpleasantness of looking at photos and really understanding the devices before i could write about them. youtube is also a great resource when it comes to research, as often a documentary is easier to go in than reading articles, although i tend to flood myself with information from various source – in this day and age there really is no excuse for not knowing you stuff.

Then there is the Police procedure of the crime novel, as usually thats an element that needs to be touched upon, you can blag it to a certain extent, but only after you have done a serious amount of research – I purchased a book on police procedure, written by a former police officer specifically for crime writers (link below) . I then read the book cover to cover – even after I had read it i felt like I needed a more tangible idea of what was going on – so i watched a lot of british police shows, it helped me really get my head around the structure of the departments and the hierarchy and where my characters fitted in. It takes a while for me to “get” things but once i do its in there.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Crime-Writers-Police-Practice-Procedure/dp/0709086318/ref=pd_bxgy_14_img_y

The other thing watching the shows did for me was make me realise how much i wanted to include in the actual story, I read a fair amount of crime novels too and sometimes I find I get bogged down in the intricacies of the police force, and some things I really didn’t need to know.

The thing about research is not just knowing what to include, its knowing as well what you don’t need in there.

I probably spend at least the same amount of time researching as i do writing.

Well, I haven’t touched this Blog for quite some time and I have been completely immersed in my own world. To say i have been writing would be a lie, I had some intense writers block almost since christmas. Stopping for any kind of prolonged break seems to pull me out of the moment and I have to force myself back into it.

To get back into it i read my own words, over and over until something sparks and I see a change i need to make, after the first 10 or so ideas it starts to come easier, but I must keep the momentum going or i lose the thread again.

It seems ridiculous to be able to write 45,000 words of a crime fiction novel, not only without any significant deaths, but also without any real idea about the killer or the motivations of the killer. I guess there is maybe some part of me that feels if it comes easy to me then it will be easy to figure out for any crime reader. Although my primary goal is to fool the characters in the book and not my audience, but there does indeed need to be some mystery there. So finally i worked out who my murderer is, and its a good feeling because everything else is falling into place, the words I have already said have taken on new meaning, which is also exciting (for me at least). As i have said before many times – I like my men like I like my biscuits : broken.

I create a spreadsheet and divide the cells into chapters, protagonist for each chapter, what they need to learn and what the audience needs to learn that they dont. I also suggest things to myself that maybe need to be included, hints at things to come etc. I also have a predicted wordcount for each chapter and actual wordcount, all tallied at the bottom and against each other so that i can see what needs fleshing out, what needs trimming down and how much I have left to do. My bizarre mathematical way of writing seems to help, my inability to finish  ANYTHING is hampered by the system I have engaged. a complex excel spreadsheet and lots of maths – which would seem to have no place in creative writing, but seeing the numbers go down , not only helps me when it comes to knowing how long each chapter should be, but how long i have to impart certain information and which phases go where. I guess I need to be organised in my mind or nothing works. Its possible this comes from my brief (not so brief) foray into screenwriting, where scenes and sequences are everything.

I have a few minor adjustments to make to my first novel UNKINDNESS and then i can continue with this next novel, about human trafficking, a subject which horrifies and disgusts me. I guess thats a part of the key too, find something you feel passionate about, something you want to relay your thoughts on.

until next time

Kat 🙂