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Rewriting Novels Using Both Sides of the Brain

Sharon A. Crawford's latest in the Beyond series

Sharon A. Crawford’s latest in the Beyond series

Rewriting a novel can be daunting, especially with the many, many rewrites that are necessary. I find there is no right way to do it, but with all the rewrites with my third Beyond book, I discovered by accident a way to be both creative and practical.

Use both sides of your brain – the right side for creativity and the left side for the logical and practical. Let me explain.

Without giving away the plot, let’s just say, like most of my story lines, it is complicated. That means the characters, like real people are complicated.

So I brainstorm outside of writing time for what I could change. When I sit down at the computer, I re-read all the novel and make a few notes. Then I tackle it from the beginning, dealing with it in parts. As I write more ideas come into my brain. But each idea leads to something that will have to be added or changed later on in the novel. So how do I keep track. Sure, I can make a few notes in another file, but mainly I use the Word comment for this with some suggestions.Then I can go back and update later. However, often the creative spirit married to the logical spirit moves me to do so right away. So I follow the thread to the next part that needs changing and do so.

I’ll give you one example which won’t give the story away. My Beyond novels, as well as four stories in Beyond the Tripping Point, feature fraternal twin private investigators, Dana Bowman and Bast Overture. While they partner in their business, they do split up the investigation a lot of the time. One of the things with this is the twins have to keep each other updated with what they find. So that has to go in somehow somewhere or else later on I will be writing from say Bast’s point of view as if he already knows what Dana found out – but nowhere does it say this.The reader can’t assume Dana told him. But I don’t always want a long dialogue between the two unless it can move the plot forward and/or develop the characters.

So, I sometimes use the phrase “Bast brought Dana up to speed about….” or “Dana brought Bast up to speed about…” Sometimes I don’t even do that but just have Bast in his next investigative action think “Dana had told him that… ” and very briefly mention it. I  do the same with Dana and do so when what one twin told the other is relevant to the other twin’s current detecting.

But with all this to-ing and fro-ing something else different has come up – what would happen if one twin didn’t tell the other twin what he or she found out?

Yes, it can be a somewhat constant shifting to different parts of the brain and I find that one feeds the other. And often you are rewriting on the creative side during most of that day’s writing time.

Now if I can just follow through with my rewrite of Beyond….  Nope, not even giving away the title.

Meantime, you can check out Beyond Blood and Beyond the Tripping Point. Link to all that can be found in the usual spot – the book cover at the top.

And later this month I will be back on the PR road for the Beyond books, so next week will be updating both the Gigs and Blog Tours part of this blog (a fiction writing workshop I’m teaching in October is already listed) and also the book page of my website. And yes, Dana will be doing another comedy skit gig in late October – this time with a really big twist. Stay tuned.

Cheers.

Sharon. A. Crawford

 

 

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Writing through complicated novel plots

Sharon A. Crawford's latest in the Beyond series

Sharon A. Crawford’s latest in the Beyond series

Sometimes novel plots can get away from you, especially if like me, you write mysteries or thrillers. Even doing an outline before starting to write won’t stop potential confusion for several reasons.

Characters, especially the main ones, have a habit of taking over the novel and that means directing the plot. Which can be a good thing, because it shows that your novel has life. But when, like me in my Beyond mystery series, you have more than one point of view  character, you not only have to deal with one rogue character, but sometimes two. Dana Bowman the main character in Beyond Blood is an outspoken willful PI with a mind of her own. Her fraternal twin brother, Bast Overture her partner in solving crime is a bit tamer. But he is a former crime reporter and the words “reporter” and “journalist’ send out flares of “digging up the dirt.”

So with two nosy-parkers on the loose (often working somewhat separately) and adding in some other characters such as police Detective-Sergeant Donald Fielding and Dana’s six or seven-year old son (age depending on which book), this author is often juggling a lot of plot development.

A disclaimer: I don’t do much of an outline beforehand. Sure, I have some idea of where I want the story to go, but I find if I do too much outline or summary I seem to automatically switch to write-the-novel mode and I’m off in that direction for then.

So, what do I do to try to keep the plot consistent and making some sense?

I do some flipping back and forth to check – maybe after the day’s writing session or perhaps just before I start writing the next time. Or as often happens a couple of niggling plot developments are in my mind and I need to sort them out. So I use the Word “Find” tool to go to these plot developments and from there do one or two things:

Make a note either in brackets in red in the paragraph or whole scene or with the Comment tool about what needs to be changed. I also keep separate files on some areas of plot development that come up and/or I want to put in. Not exactly an outline, but more of a description of what I’m trying to do…at that point. Until Dana and/or Bast step in.

When all else fails I just go in there and make the changes/corrections.

With two PIs I have to make sure they don’t overlap in what they do – unless they are actually doing some of their investigation together. When working alone, they have to keep each other informed of what they find or the reader could wonder “How did he know that?” And do it without long conversations between the two. Sometimes they leave each other phone messages or sometimes I use a couple of short narrative sentences, such as “Bast brought Dana up to speed.”

It gets even trickier in the current Beyond novel I’m rewriting when one of the twins suffers a concussion.

But, hey I like a challenge. It is one of the things that makes writing fiction interesting.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Click on the Beyond Blood book at the top to go to my amazon author profile and books.

To see what I’m up to with the Beyond books and characters check out the Gigs and Blog Tours page of this blog here

 

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Point of View clarity important in writing fiction

Sharon A. Crawford's latest in the Beyond series

Sharon A. Crawford’s latest in the Beyond series

Currently I am reading a mystery novel where the characters’ points of view are all over the map  – in one chapter without a scene change, in one scene, Even in one paragraph the point of view switches from one police detective to the other. They are police partners, but this “jumping heads” (as it is known in the editing business) is not only ridiculous and annoying it is distracting from the story. And it is an interesting story.

Looks like the author’s editor was asleep at the computer. I blame the editor, not the author because as an editor I find that 85 per cent of my fiction clients mess up the point of view. And, yes, if the author mixes up points of view, then it is his or her editor’s job to fix it.

So, what is acceptable in fiction writing (unless you are going for experimental fiction, which this mystery novel is not)? Here we go with the standards:

In novels it is acceptable to have multiple points of view as long as it isn’t overdone. Do we really need to know what minor characters A and B think?

Up to five points of view are the limit in my opinion.

Keep the same point of view within a chapter or a scene. Next chapter or next scene you can change the point of view. For scenes this is usually indicated by extra line spacing and starting the first paragraph flush left or separating the scenes with an asterisk. Read Peter Robinson’s mystery novels. He usually has three points of view and does a superb job of it. He uses the change of scene change of character POV method with extra line spacing.

Other authors indicate change of character POV by putting the character’s name at the top of the change – this can be with a new chapter or new scene. I use this method in my latest Beyond book, the mystery novel Beyond Blood. The story is told from four different points of view – Dana Bowman, Bast Overture (the two fraternal twin PIs), David Bowman (Dana’s six-year-old son), and the mysterious “Him.” I put the character name and the date and time (a word on that in a sec) just before the character POV change. This change usually occurs with chapters but I do have it within chapters – change of scene change of character POV with the above-mentioned indication.

It is not necessary to always use time and date unless it is relevant to your novel. I’m not the only author who does this. I do it because Beyond Blood is a fast-paced mystery that occurs during eight frantic days in August 1998. Often when I switch point of view what is happening with that character is happening simultaneously with another POV character. And that is another reason to switch POVs.

Switching POVs is also a good way to heighten suspense – if you end one scene/chapter with one character left out on a limb and the reader does not know what will happen with him or her next. Instead they go on to another character – more waiting to find out/more suspense. And it also allows plot development that just might not be possible using one character’s POV>

Switching points of view in a novel also allows the author to get deeper into each main character – and gives the readers a more intense looksee at the characters.

My POV on POV anyway.

Cheers.

Sharon

Click on the Beyond Blood icon at the top to find out more about my Beyond books.

 

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Electronic mania versus telling a good story

Sharon A. Crawford's latest in the Beyond series

Sharon A. Crawford’s latest in the Beyond series

We are bombarded with electronic devices in our daily lives and that includes TV shows. Sometimes the story gets lost in all the “bells and whistles.” But what about books? In particular novels set in present time? Should authors overwhelm the reader with smart phone usage, social media and the like?

A story in the May 2016  issue of The Walrus writes about this conundrum. Here writer Naben Ruthnum, discusses how some authors like best-selling author Joy Fielding skirt around it. While summarizing the story lines and acknowledging that the story is important, Ruthnum wonders how long this approach will be relevant in our digital/social media obsessed society?

Ruthnum writes “By ignoring the contemporary reality of instant communication, authors such as Fielding are preserving the nail-biting satisfactions of their art. But how much longer can these books provide escapism-seeking readers with relief given that their trick of withholding details is in direct conflict with our expectation that information always wants to be free?” (bolded part is mine).

That’s a big point with mystery novels – readers get temporary relief from a mad mad world and that includes overdoses of electronic media leading to overwhelm.

Yes, mystery novels do imitate reality. But the reality is what the story is about, the story’s setting and its characters. As in real life, not all people are digitally proficient; nor do they all immerse themselves in the whole digital/social media life-style. So, Fielding and other authors have to be true to that. And they are.

Personally, after all the over-abundance of bells and whistles on some TV shows set in present time (not futuristic and not fantasy), I prefer a somewhat toned-down digital presence in the novels I read (and write for that matter).

Many mystery novel authors handle this digital business very well. Marcia Muller’s PI Sharon McCone has a nephew who handles all this digital stuff so only what is necessary to the story is told. McCone gets to do what she does best – personal investigation while her nephew helps out on the digital end.

Mystery novel authors like Peter Robinson, acknowledge the digital aspect – his police officers have smart phones (they are called mobiles in England) but his main character Alan Banks doesn’t investigate by being glued to his smart phone or sitting in front of his computer (which some consider passe these days). He does what police should be doing – gets off his butt and interviews people, as well as following suspects in his car.

And yes, Robinson makes use of one current technology available to police in most cities world wide – CCTV- the police surveillance cameras on public city streets.

And I do the same in my Beyond books. Perhaps the short story collection Beyond the Tripping Point is the best example as stories in there take place in different time periods – 1965, 1980s, 1999 and present day. So for the first two – no technology-infested society. In 1999, where my fraternal twin PIs, Dana Bowman and Bast Overture are introduced, technology is relevant to the time – so I have cell phones (that have antenna and fold closed), Polaroid cameras for “instant” photos, and dial-up Internet connection, but with email functions. (Note: in Canada DSL didn’t get going until late 1999 – after the four “twins” stories in BTTP. I should know. My computer techie son’s computer business at that time was testing one of the DSL’s in 1999 and in late fall1999, my son hooked up my computer o one of the first DSL’s provided. Dana uses a computer for basics such as email and leaves all the computer technology to her brother. So in my third Beyond book (which I’m still rewriting), which is set in November and December 1999, I have computers – desktop and laptop – using DSL. There are also onlinr forums involved which Bast accesses – but it is all part of the plot and the twins’ investigation of a case. And birth record searches (which is part of the novel’s plot) were not online then (I checked with Service Ontario on this one), so Bast has to go into the Ontario Government dept. office to do an in-person search.

My BTTP stories set in present time do use electronic realities such as CCTV and smart phones. In fact one story, the main character is obsessed with using her device but that is part of the plot. The plot, the story is never buried in electronic devices.

Which is what Peter Robinson and many other mystery novelists do. Use the current technology (or technology for the time period of your novel) as it applies to  your story. Don’t make the technology the story unless that is your plot.

A happy medium often works best. Besides, we mystery novel readers need a rest from the over-indulgence of digital on TV in other areas of our lives. And that’s one reason I like reading from my Kobo (I do still read print books). Not a lot of flashing digital nonsense. And the print size is bigger – better for my fading eyesight (left eye)

Our eyes and brains need this respite, this escape from too much digital.

What do you think?

And on another note, I will be part of a panel (along with Ali Cunliffe and Susan Viets) about Self-publishing from both authors and editors perspectives. Hosted by the Editors Association of Canada, the panel/seminar will be held in Toronto Tuesday, April 26, from 7.30 p.m. More information on my Gigs and Blogs page here and also on Editors Association of Canada website.

Cheers.

Sharon

Again click on the Beyond Blood icon at the top to find out more about my Beyond books. At least we have this digital function today.

 

 

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Can fictional characters teach readers something?

Sharon A. Crawford's latest in the Beyond series

Sharon A. Crawford’s latest in the Beyond series

Readers read novels to be entertained. However, life isn’t all about entertainment. We want to learn more, to grow, to live a better life.

Can fiction help here? I think so. If you have credible fiction characters who live lives like readers. And it doesn’t matter what genre the novel is written in. For example, science fiction can present us with a future we might just not want, with the underlying story of just how it can play out. This requires believable characters who deal with these situations. Built into a good sci-fic story are elements of present time – such as law enforcement professionals and your every-day person like divorced parents, seniors, etc. Sometimes the professionals and the single mom are one and the same person. Although the characters have problems peculiar to a future  time period to deal with; like us now, they have common day-to-day problems as well. So the reader can identify with the story and the characters and get a satisfied read. A science fiction author who does this very well is Robert Sawyer. Read any of his books to see how he handles it. And many of his novels also have murder in them.

In the mystery genre, there is a series by J.D. Robb (Nora Roberts pseudonym) where the novels are set in the future. So the reader not only gets policing in the future,but also something many of us now balance – a career and a marriage.

In somewhat current time (in the late 1990s), my novel Beyond Blood, has characters that are representative of real-life characters. I have the fraternal twins (which may not be so common) Sebastian (Bast) Overture who is gay and Dana Bowman who is a divorced mother of a six-year old boy. Readers have told me that it is this relationship between mother and son that they relate to because they find it not only interesting but compelling. Of course, not all six-year olds are kidnapped (thank God), but here I have taken a universal relationship, that of a mother and son, and escalated it into the “what if?” area, where a mother is pushed to the edge to find her son before it is too late. And because Dana is human she may try to forge ahead as a professional PI and push her fear and other feelings back inside, we know that in real life this just doesn’t happen. She is conflicted, and yes she does lose it at times.

And that’s the key to writing fiction to teach a lesson. You need both realistic characters that readers can identify with and a plot that grabs readers.You need characters that are human, because we are human. This way you can show readers what your characters are like, what they are made of – but heightened to situations beyond what you would deal with in your life.

Remember, readers want to also be entertained.

You can read for yourself how Dana Bowman handles all her problems with her son’s kidnapping and all the complexities that occur, from an ex-husband who shows up as a suspect, to the stuttering Detective Sergeant Donald Fielding whom she is attracted to, to ….well, you may just have to read Beyond Blood to find out. Click on the book icon at the top for more info.

And I have a new website with a much different website design, thanks to Martin Crawford, computer software expert and Juni Bimm, graphic artist. The website text is purely my doing. So take a look here

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

 

 

 

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More tales from the novel rewriting trenches

Sharon A. Crawford's latest in the Beyond series

Sharon A. Crawford’s latest in the Beyond series

Still working furiously to make changes in my current Beyond book to meet my publisher’s deadline. Making progress, despite distractions and glitches from others.

The research mentioned last week hit some more glitches. The social issue in the new novel (not telling what it is – no spoilers here) ran into the same roadblock with the Ontario government department as the police query with the local police services corporate communications department. No reply.

So, my journalist background came into play here. Journalists don’t give up on their research, despite roadblocks and twists and turns.

The two library books I had looked at in the Toronto Reference Library? Sure, I had made some notes but that wasn’t enough. So I bought the out-of-print one on Canadian Law (it fits the novel’s time period) secondhand from amazon.ca .Counting the day I put in the order online, it took three business days to arrive in my mailbox. The other Canadian Law book – a q and a type with questions for civilians I found out from an editing client that over 20 copies are circulating in Toronto library branches. I put a hold on it and if there are still some other copies not on hold, I should be able to renew my copy three times.

I phoned Service Ontario and after being shunted around three times got a very knowledgeable person in the specific department who answered my questions.

For that one nagging police procedure question that the two books couldn’t answer, I emailed a retired police colleague via Linked In. He replied immediately, answered part of my question and said he would contact one of his police connections to get more of an answer. I gave him my email address to avoid the Linked In quirks in email and he has replied again this week, apologizing for the delay and why (that is his business) and that he would be contacting his colleague that evening.

Meantime, I’m rewriting to get around anything that wasn’t true with the social issue and police procedure back in 1999. And also rewriting to deal with any plot threads left dangling. Some will get deleted as irrelevant.

Also there is the matter of my two main characters, fraternal twin private investigators Dana Bowman and Bast Overture trying to take over the plot. I have to listen to them because they can have good ideas.

And it is their story. Always listen to your characters.

As for the other distractions, I’m trying to rein them in. Personal calls that come during my writing time (which pretty much follows a business weekday give or take a few hours at either end), I will now let them go to voice mail. My dentist appointment will have to be moved to February 29 after my deadline. I have a big problem with medical people who don’t have some evening and weekend hours .I may ‘not be working outside my home, but what about those who do? Why should they have to take time off for dental and other medical appointments, Hey medical professionals. Get with the times. Yes, some professionals (like police, transit drivers, etc.) have work hours all over the map. But many people still work regular business hours (excluding email and social media). Medical clinics understand this and even my optometrist works one evening a week and some Saturdays. My eye specialist doesn’t. My dentist doesn’t. So, unless a medical emergency, I work their times around mine.

I have also worked in editing clients after the end of February and any new inquiries re work, they are being told I am booked up until … Two current clients have been scheduled in after the end of February – it is set up to work for both of us.

Now, back to the novel rewriting. Bast and Dana are waiting impatiently for me to get to it.

Cheers.

Sharon A.Crawford

If you click on the book cover at the top it will take you to my publisher’s page about my books and my background.

 

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Beyond Blood characters wish you Happy New Year

Sharon A. Crawford channelling Dana Bowman from Beyond Blood

Sharon A. Crawford channelling Dana Bowman from Beyond Blood

Sharon A. Crawford has asked us to step in and wish you a happy new year. But before we do that, we – Dana Bowman and Bast Overture from Beyond Blood would like to sum up this year from our perspective between the book covers.

Dana: It’s been a good year for both of us, me especially as Sharon is channelling me, or so she says. But really it is me jumping out of the book, going in front of an audience and telling what I think of Sharon, her writing and some of her quirks. She really seems to have a thing about short people and making me three inches shorter than her? But she really gets me – my impulsiveness, sticking my nose in everybody else’s business…

Bast: She is a former journalist and that’s what journalists do.

Dana: You should know. You are a former crime reporter.

Bast: True. But Sis, you really need to get over this short height thing. Not even an issue.

Dana: You should talk. You’re 6’3″ I don’t think Sharon will ever channel you on stage.

Bast: Maybe not, but I’ve heard a writer friend of hers is interested in doing this.

Dana: Really. Actually that should be interesting. We can then both dis Sharon.

Bast: Why not just talk about how she writes with us?

Dana: Yes, she does do that, but it’s more fun to talk about her quirks.

Bast: Now, Sis, I don’t think that is a good idea.

Dana: Why not?

Bast: We shouldn’t bite the hand that feeds us.

Dana: Shouldn’t that be the other way around?

Sharon: Dana, Bast, stop! I asked you to extend a Happy New Year to all, not get into a sibling squabble. But I get it. You both were born December 31, so maybe that is behind all this. You know getting a year older.

Dana: Which year?

Sharon: Let’s just focus on this year going into next year. Now, all together…

Dana, Bast, Sharon: Happy New Year to everyone. May you write and read a lot and most of all be healthy and prosperous.

 

Cheers.

Sharon, Dana, Bast

 

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Don’t rush your writing

Sharon A. Crawford's latest in the Beyond series

Sharon A. Crawford’s latest in the Beyond series

We writers all seem to have deadlines with writing our novels or short stories. Sometimes it is the publisher’s deadline, sometimes our own. So we fret and hurry through writes and rewrites and maybe don’t write our best.

Last Saturday I had a heart-to-heart talk with the acquisitions editor at Blue Denim Press (publisher of my Beyond mystery books). Shane had a big piece of advice – Don’t rush the writing.

If you rush it, you’ll miss things, make errors and your writing will come across as hurried. This is mostly me speaking, but including some of what Shane and I discussed. Note: Shane is also a published fiction author. Both of us have missed things because of writing in too much of a hurry. His error is his business, but it was caught in time before all print copies of his new novel In the Shadow of the Conquistador were done for the book launch, etc.

I’ll tell you my stupid error – it is in the current Beyond book (third in the series), I am writing – apparently too fast because of time constraints (too much else going on in my life – the writing, editing and instructing business, health, house, social, etc.) Anyway for  those familiar with my Beyond books, they are set in the late 1990s, although this third one gets my fraternal twin PIs, Dana Bowman and Bast Overture into the beginning or 2000.

Which is neither here nor there with my writing error. In one scene Bast goes to the Toronto Reference Library to look up old addresses in the Toronto Might Street Directory. So, I had him go to the library’s former address – now the University of Toronto Bookstore. Why? I had done research there and for some reason the decade  that I did so got lost in my brain, so hence my date mixup.

I had gone there in the early 1970s. Bast went to the Toronto Reference Library in late 1999. This newer (and current) TRL location opened in 1977. My error arrived in my brain weeks after writing it, as often happens when not actually writing. You can bet I made the change next time I turned on the computer.

That is only one of the many things that can suffer if you write too fast. Try to pace yourself and make more time for your writing – either in the time spent each day/week or the whole time (months/years) spent.

If you do that, when your publisher accepts your manuscript and you sign that contract, you won’t have to worry so much when the publisher suggests some changes.

And often publishers have tight deadlines.

I am constantly trying to prioritize my life – including dumping things, saying “no” more often and putting some people and things on hold.  Still an uphill battle, but I try. And I need to try to relax more.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

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

 

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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.

 

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Changing your story mid-stream

Sharon A. Crawford's latest in the Beyond series

Sharon A. Crawford’s latest in the Beyond series

As I continue writing my third Beyond mystery book, things are changing with the plot and the characters. That is the big reason why I don’t pre-plot down to the last T. Characters, like real people, change over time and that includes perspective – mine and my characters.

Yes, you read that right – my characters are changing and I’m letting them do so. The main characters of the Beyond series – fraternal twin PIs – Dana Bowman and Bast Overture, Dana’s son David and Detective Sergeant Donald Fielding – have to change and grow. If I want my characters to be real life, they can’t stagnate. This third book has to reflect consequences of what happened in Beyond Blood (the novel) and the four Bowman/Overture stories in Beyond the Tripping Point. BB takes place in summer 1998; those four stories in BTTP from May 1999 to mid-October 1999. The current Beyond book takes place from November 1999 to the beginning of January 2000.

So, I’ve been sitting at my computer almost every weekday, writing, some of the story pre-thought out, much “by-the-seat-of-my-pants.” At the end of the day’s work I type up a few notes about what to cover the next day – not that I will stick exactly to it.

Something just wasn’t working out. I do choose who the murder is before I get going on a novel. But the who and the whys just weren’t making sense here. And there would be some similarities to Beyond Blood. I’m supposed to be continuing the characters’ stories, not copying them.

So, on Tuesday I woke up brainstorming and later put down some changes in writing. Yes, I changed the who-dunnit and of course the why. This made sense and provides a real twist in the story. The other person who I had pegged for the murderer will not be lily-white and will figure into the plot line – not just as a red-herring, but also in a subplot that ties in with the main plotline. I love complicated. And yes there are more twists and turns going on.

But I’m not telling what. I just might change my mind. Or the characters might.

Sometimes I wonder just who is writing this novel.

And it’s not just me that thinks that. When I was interviewed about Beyond Blood a few months ago on the Liquid Lunch for thatchannel.com, one of the interviewers, Sandra Kyrzakos, said I was channelling my characters. Perhaps she is right. See for yourself at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i2bBaePIWgY&feature=youtu.be

 

Cheers.

 

Sharon A. Crawford

Sharon A. Crawford is the author of the Beyond book series. More info at www.samcraw.com and www.bluedenimpress.com – my publisher – you can also purchase e-books – both Kindle and Kobo from Blue Denim Press. Click on the Beyond Blood Book cover at the top of this post.

 

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