In Memory of Barbara "Babs" Hightower - you will forever be in our hearts!
Please welcome Allison Brook to Sapphyria's Books today!
Some Thoughts On Writing a Novel
I spent the first six months of 2019 writing the fourth book of my Haunted Library mystery series. Then, to my surprise, it was finished—the murderer revealed, loose ends tied up at 80,000 plus words—just like the previous three books. Surprised because I'd simply sat down each day for a few hours in the late afternoon and wrote a few pages at a time.
I approached this book as both a plotter and a pantser—starting out as a plotter with a clear idea of the book's framework: two groups of characters with a murder in each camp linked to a murder that took place twenty years earlier in Clover Ridge, the setting of my series. Once I worked out how the murders were connected, I began writing as a pantser. Scene after scene came to mind and my story unfolded. I'm not saying I never got stuck, but it was never over anything major and never for long. I have line-edited two-thirds of the manuscript so far, and the only edits I've made involve changing words or phrases for clarity and smoother reading.
I began to wonder how this relative ease—and I say relative because I feel a pang of anxiety every time I sit down to write—came about. Writing a mystery, regardless of the subgenre, requires attention to one's characters' development and interactions, careful plotting, and good pacing to maintain the reader's attention without telescoping the identity of the murderer. A mystery writer must deal with many elements simultaneously, similar to the way a puppeteer has to control a marionette's many strings when performing.
I believe that becoming a good fiction writer is an ongoing process. We learn as we take courses, study technique, critique one another, and continue to write. Soon we no longer have to stop to consciously think: does this scene further the plot? Do I need to bring in the murderer more frequently? Am I remembering to show character development? Not revealing too much too soon? These are important issues that must be addressed. Eventually, they are dealt with on a subconscious level. As we continue to work on our novels and short stories we acquire the ability to know how and what to write.
Years ago, I read Malcolm Gladwell's book Outliers: the Story of Success. Using Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and the Beatles as examples of masters in their fields, he surmises that learning, practicing and/or performing roughly ten thousand hours in their areas of expertise led to their high achievement in their chosen fields. I've no way of knowing if ten thousand hours of writing and learning about writing will make a good fiction writer, but I do know that becoming one requires hard work. Until what we've taken in becomes ingrained in our minds and our souls, to be made use of intuitively—like a seasoned tennis player knows subliminally where to send the next volley so his or her opponent can't return it. It's all part of a process that requires dedication and discipline—and constant writing.
Buried in the Stacks: A Haunted Library Mystery by Allison Brook
About the Buried in the Stacks
Buried in the Stacks: A Haunted Library Mystery
Cozy Mystery 3rd in Series
Crooked Lane Books
September 10, 2019
Hardcover: 320 pages
Digital ASIN: B07NKPTL81
About the Book:
Librarian Carrie Singleton is building a haven, but one of her neighbors is misbehavin'. Can resident spirit Evelyn help Carrie catch the culprit who made her a ghost?
In winter, the Haunted Library is a refuge for homeless townspeople. When a group purchases a vacant house to establish a daytime haven for the homeless, Carrie offers the library as a meeting place for the Haven House committee, but quickly learns that it may be used for illegal activities.
As the new Sunshine Delegate, Carrie heads to the hospital to visit her cantankerous colleague, Dorothy, who had fallen outside the local supermarket. She tells Carrie that her husband tried to kill her--and that he murdered her Aunt Evelyn, the library's resident ghost, six years earlier.
And then Dorothy is murdered--run off the road as soon as she returns to work. Evelyn implores Carrie to find her niece's killer, but that's no easy task: Dorothy had made a hobby of blackmailing her neighbors and colleagues. Carrie, Evelyn, and Smoky Joe the cat are on the case, but are the library cards stacked against them?
About Allison Brook:
Allison Brook is the pseudonym for Marilyn Levinson, who writes mysteries, romantic suspense, and novels for kids. She lives on Long Island and enjoys traveling, reading, watching foreign films, doing Sudoku and dining out. She especially loves to visit with her grandchildren on FaceTime. Author Links Website: http://www.marilynlevinson.com My Amazon page: http://amzn.to/K6Md1O Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/marilyn.levinson.10?ref=ts&fref=ts Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/161602.Marilyn_Levinson Twitter: https://twitter.com/MarilynLevinson Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/marilev/
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