Thursday, 20 February 2020

Grey Nomads rolling along

Fifteen chapters into the first draft of my Grey Nomads novel. Target is around 35 chapters and I hope to have the first draft completed about the middle of the year. Even earlier if I can get my daily output up, but there is a lot going on in my life at present.
That of course means I have even less time for promotion and marketing, so sales of my completed novels are flagging a little. I have high hopes with a new bookseller who has shown an interest and has promised to come back to me with an offer to take some of each.

Saturday, 7 December 2019

Reached the quarter mark

Past 20,000 words or about a quarter of the new novel in the Grey Nomads series. The rhythm of writing every day is very satisfying and I am resisting the urge to edit and rewrite, focusing on the next scene or chapter and getting the words onto the page. I've just completed a chapter set in one of my favourite Rockingham cafes and my next chapter will include a development in the romantic story line. I've also been re-reading one of the Alan Hunter Inspector Gently novels and reminding myself why I like his writing style. He is able to include the emotions behind the words, which is one of things I think distinguishes a very good writer. Jane Austen was a good example. Her language may seem archaic now with the longer sentences and stilted phrases, but you always know what her characters are feeling and what is driving their words and actions, That's the essence of good story telling.

Tuesday, 3 December 2019

Discipline v emotions

Maintaining levels of emotion to build up tension and lead to climaxes is one of the hardest parts of writing a novel, but fortunately it does not all have to be done in the first draft. The focus has to be on discipline, getting a minimum number of words on the page each day and keeping the story lines moving. Often this means leaving some of the emotional triggers for a later revision. Choice of certain words, settings and even character traits do not always come to mind immediately and time can be wasted scratching the head and searching for the mot juste. It's one of the joys of having already written and published two novels that I am now aware how the process works, at least for me. I can write what I know is not up to my highest standard with the assurance that when I come back to it, I will have the whole of my story in my head, know what I need my characters to do, and give them the emotional layers they need. What's more, it's something I can look forward to, because it is in applying the fine detail that the writer's craft can be most satisfying.

Tuesday, 26 November 2019

The new first novel in the Grey Nomads series is coming along nicely. I have been able to salvage quite a lot of material from Murder For A Grandmother, particularly in the background to the characters and the caravan park setting in the early chapters. Once I move into the investigation itself there will be less similarity because the murder and the characters involved in it will be quite different. I've written 6 chapters now for a total of more than 12,500 words. The aim is a minimum of 80,000 so I only have 34 more chapters to go. Allowing for Christmas interruptions that should be achievable by early next year.
I spent a lot of time at the Rockingham Writers Centre Book Fair over the weekend. I found it motivating to talk to the other writers there. Even though we work in different genres, the problems of writing and marketing are the same and it is always possible to pick up new ideas. 
As usual the romance novels were the most popular but The Man Who Didn't Like People was among the books that achieved sales, so that was encouraging.

Thursday, 21 November 2019

I haven't written anything here for months because I have been through some upheavals in my life and my writing. I'm not sure if the two are related.
In my life I sold my Walpole home and I now live in Rockingham where I am embarked on a bucket list programme, having been to Broome, flown in a helicopter over the Bungle Bungle and visited Paula Boer in NSW for the launch of her latest novel, The Bloodwolf War. Coming up next year are the Tamworth Country Music Festival, the Ghan and a Country Music cruise around some Pacific Islands.
Meanwhile I struggled with the Man Who Voted For Australia and Murder For A Grandmother before deciding to kill both darlings and launch into a new novel to replace Murder For A Grandmother as the first of the Grey Nomads series.
Working title Genesis, although the final title is almost certainly going to be The Grey Nomad Detectives to get the series off with a bang, as recommended by Kate Goldsworthy, who did a structural edit for me on Murder For A Grandmother.
It will have many of the personal story lines of Murder For A Grandmother but the murder itself is very different, and a lot less complicated (which was part of the reason that books wasn't working). I will also use a lot of Kate's other recommendations on character and story development.
I've written four chapters and I am now developing the outline to ensure all the clues, red herrings and crises come at the right places. It feels very good to be writing regularly again.

Friday, 12 October 2018

The Man Who Voted For Australia Chapter 9

Jeff has an uncomfortable meeting with his very-British brother in which he begins to suspect the rumours about him are true. He learns that the Chinese woman is working for his brother, which makes him suspect her agenda, and he is invited by his son to go with the grandchildren and their other, Turkish, grandparents, to an Anzac Day ceremony. All of this is moving the story forward but something is missing. I think the problem is that Jeff's racist undertones are not relevant here - so where is the conflict?

Sunday, 7 October 2018

Making my hero reader-friendly

Working on a chapter today in which my hero is taking the bad guy role, expressing the opinions he will eventually reconsider and modify as the novel progresses. The difficulty is keeping the reader interested and sympathetic instead of antagonistic. In this chapter I've tried to do that by having the people he is talking take opposite, more acceptable views while clearly admiring and liking my character. I think I achieved it in both A New Era For Manny Youngman and The Man Who Didn't Like People, but it may be harder in The Man Who Voted For Australia because it touches on anti-Muslim feelings and there are racist elements that some could find offensive. My point is that most people have some racist feelings, however suppressed, and my hero is facing up to his and working his way through them. Hope that's coming through the words.