RSS

Monthly Archives: September 2015

On the book promo road again

Sharon A. Crawford's latest in the Beyond series

Sharon A. Crawford’s latest in the Beyond series

The presentation at Woodbridge library last Thursday evening was another one of those magical evenings where readers and authors connect. So much so we could have gone long beyond the end time.

Rosemary McCracken, Nate Hendley and I did our separate mini-presentations, each ending with a short reading from one of our books. Nate sat between us “the thorn between the roses” is the way he put it. Maybe, but not the author, more for what he writes – true crime. Nate talked about how he started writing books and sort of “fell” into writing about criminals and now also those wrongly convicted like Steven Truscott. Nate also read an excerpt from Steven Truscott: Decades of Injustice (Five River Publishing, 2012)

Rosemary talked about her mystery series featuring financial advisor Pat Tierney and the issues writers of book series have to face. She also discussed how writing contests have helped her get her stories (yes, she also writes short stories) published – something writers shouldn’t ignore. Rosemary read the beginning of her first Pat Tierney novel Safe Harbor (Imajin Books, 2012)

I talked about my series characters – but not from the writing a series viewpoint, but where some of them came from and the location and time period for the Beyond stories featuring the fraternal twin PIs Dana Bowman and Bast Overture and how both affect my research. I also covered a bit of the research I do and read the beginning Prologues from Beyond Blood.(Blue Denim Press, 2014)

And then we turned it over to the audience. Lots of questions – from research to journalism – I got the question on the latter to my surprise because I’m the former journalist and Nate and Rosemary continue working as freelance journalists. The questions turned into a real dialogue among authors and readers. Like we were chatting in a living room – well a somewhat large living room. Afterwards, some of the readers came up to the table to chat more with us and to buy a few books.

And some of us Crime Writers of Canada authors are going to do it again next Tuesday, Sept. 29, 6.30 p.m. to 8 p.m., this time at a library in Toronto’s west end – Runnymede branch. This time the authors are Rob Brunet, Karen Blake-Hall, Madeleine Callway and myself. No true crime, but three of us (Rob, Madeleine and I) all had our first novel published in the second half of last year. Karen writes sizzling suspense-romance. The presentation is free so if you are in the Toronto area, please come – exact address is 2178 Bloor Street West, Toronto, ON. I’m not going to put the library link because as I found out in my other blog http://www.onlychildwrites.wordpress.com) posting on Tuesday, the link for that memoir writing workshop I was teaching Tuesday evening has now disappeared. Fair enough. The workshop is done and over with. So, for now you can check out my Gigs and Blog Tours page on this site (click on it at the top). Just remember the link to the Runnymede library blurb will probably disappear after Sept. 29.

And that reminds me – I better add October’s events to this  Gigs and Blog Tours page.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Click on the Beyond Blood cover at the top to find out where copies are available

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Crime Writing Trio off to York Region again

Sharon A. Crawford's latest in the Beyond series

Sharon A. Crawford’s latest in the Beyond series

The crime-writing trio of Rosemary McCracken, Nate Hendley and myself Sharon A. Crawford are off to yet another library in York Region. In this irregularly scheduled book tour of various York Region libraries, this evening we will hit the Woodbridge Library at 150 Woodbridge Ave. in where else – Woodbridge, Ontario. That’s just north of Toronto. Here’s the blurb about our presentation.

Crime Writers of Canada authors – Nate Hendley, Rosemary McCracken and Sharon A. Crawford have another run-in with crime (between the book covers) coming in September. It is all part of an irregularly scheduled tour of York Region library branches. The “crime” trio will be talking about their books and writing, answering questions from the audience and reading. Nate Hendley writes true crime, Rosemary McCracken writes the Pat Tierney mystery series, and Sharon A. Crawford writes the Beyond mystery series.

I find it interesting doing any crime writing presentation and reading – whatever format we use. This evening one of the librarians will introduce us and we will talk individually about some aspect of our writing. As Rosemary and I both write series mystery fiction, we try to talk about something different in crime writing (besides our book series and character and plots being different). Rosemary will talk about how writers handle writing a series and how writing contests helped market her short stories. I’m focusing on where my characters and plots come from and what, how and why I do the necessary research. Nate writes true crime so that is a whole different perspective,

Rosemary is driving us there and we plan to arrive a bit before the whole presentation starts at 6.30 p.m., going to around 8 p.m. We will have copies of our books, so if you are in the area (I know not all reading this post are), please drop in. It is free and promises to be entertaining.

Our photos and links to our websites/blogs appear below.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Rosemary McCracken author of Safe Harbor and Black Water mystery novels

Rosemary McCracken author of Safe Harbor and Black Water mystery novels

https://rosemarymccracken.wordpress.com/

 

Nate Hendley true crime writer

Nate Hendley true crime writer

http://www.natehendley.com/

Sharon A. Crawford reads from her Beyond series

Sharon A. Crawford reads from her Beyond series http://www.samcraw.com

 

 

 

http://www.samcraw.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Creating Eccentric Fiction Characters

Sharon A. Crawford's latest in the Beyond series

Sharon A. Crawford’s latest in the Beyond series

Can eccentric characters come across as too eccentric? How does this affect your story?

Eccentric means “tending to act in strange or unusual ways,” according to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary.

How strange is strange? How unusual is unusual?

Let’s take a step back. We writers don’t want wooden characters – characters who act normal and live boring lives. Often these characters are stereotypes – the police officer who drinks a lot of coffee and eats donuts, the prostitute with the heart of gold. You get the picture. Readers don’t like the stereotype, the norm. It bores them and they may stop reading the story.

So we create eccentric characters. Sometimes these eccentric characters can go off the walls and distract readers from the story. Readers may also dislike the characters. Think about some of the sit-coms currently on TV. The old Jerry Steinfield TV show had eccentric characters, but it worked. Some of today’s just don’t. Just check out the ones that don’t last more than a season or perhaps not even a season. Viewers can’t connect to the sit-com’s characters,

Think Agatha Christie for eccentric characters such as Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple. When you strip away their eccentricities you find each has a core ordinary connection to living. Hercule Poirot is a private detective and Miss Marple is a meddling old lady. These are common characters in everyday life.

In my novel Beyond Blood and in my short stories in Beyond the Tripping Point I have eccentric characters. I try to keep their eccentricity not too far out there, although I do wonder about the mother in “For the Love of Wills.” However, the characters in the four linked stories who also appear in Beyond Blood are what I call distinctive eccentric characters. Each is, to borrow the hackneyed phrase, “their own person,” from the stuttering police DetectiveSergeant Donald Fielding who occasionally suffers from migraines to my meddling old lady – Great Aunt Doris. She is old-school and anything that is modern she tends to turn her nose down at – the gay twin PI Bast and his fraternal twin sister Dana’s status as working mother of a small boy.

Yes, you could say that these characteristics are often part of old ladies. So, I take these and work them in with how Doris relates with the other main characters, Dialogue plays a big part here. So does action. Doris really loves Dana’s son David and he seems to get along with her. Doris, also is the one who takes care of Madge, after her daughter Debbie is murdered. But I have added another eccentricity to Doris. She always lands on Dana, David and Bast at the most unexpected and inconvenient times. In Beyond Blood, she knocks on their door at 3 a.m. while police are there investigating a break and enter.

Bottom line with me? Create all characters as individuals – no two are alike (even the twins are different, but they are also fraternal twins, so don’t even look alike). Stay away from the stereotype; just don’t go to the opposite of extremely eccentric. You may just come up with interesting eccentric characters who work with and in your plot.

And please your readers to the point where they look forward to reading more about them and their adventures in your next book.

Cheers,

Sharon A. Crawford

Click on the Beyond Blood cover at the top to find out where copies are available.

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

When to rewrite your novel

Sharon A. Crawford's latest in the Beyond series

Sharon A. Crawford’s latest in the Beyond series

When do you rewrite your novel? As you go along? After each chapter? After a few chapters? Or when you complete the first draft?

If you rewrite after you go along, it can slow down finishing the novel’s first draft. You are constantly changing words, thinking of better words or phrases, deleting scenes, and on and on. You may easily lose your train of thought. The best way here is to keep on writing and if you just can’t come up with a better word or phrase, do as I do put “word” in brackets. Bold or red it if you like.

After each chapter or a few chapters? Yes, and no to rewriting. Most, if not all of us will not finish a novel in one sitting, so you are going to have to go back to it constantly. This will involve reading at least the previous chapter. or at most, the chapters written in your last writing session. During this time, I do make a few word changes or even scene changes. The latter often comes from getting a better idea – either between the last writing session and this one or as I read. Or sometimes the main characters from the Beyond series take over with what they think is best. Dana Bowman,one of the fraternal twin PIs is definitely good at this. But other characters, such as her brother Bast Overture, also speak to me. This can be a good thing because maybe you stopped writing when you reached an impasse or you knew something you had just written didn’t make sense to your plot and/or what your characters would do.

To continue last week’s post on outlining or not. I mentioned that I constantly go up and down the screen to fix inconsistencies. So that means I do some rewriting as I go along there. I find if I don’t fix the inconsistency when I and/or my characters figure out how to do so,  it will affect the rest of the plot. SometimesI have to add something – such as bringing in some of the characters’ suspicious’ actions so when I out them as guilty of something later on it doesn’t hit the reader in the face, leaving them wondering “Where did that come from?” “Or “there was no indication of this earlier on.”

So to answer the question, yes, I do some rewriting as I go along – but after I’ve written a few chapters – but I will also do several rewrites after I finish the first draft.

The process is all subjective – whatever works for the individual writer.

How and when do you rewrite your novel?

Comments?

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Click on the Beyond Blood cover at the top to find out where copies are available.

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

 
%d bloggers like this: