Five Things I Wish I Had Known Before I Started To Write (Crime) Fiction

Five Things I Wish I Had Known Before I Started To Write (Crime) Fiction

Five Things I Wish I Had Known Before I Started To Write (Crime) FictionBy Tony Knighton

1. You don’t need to ask permission.

I’ve always been a reader. I thought about writing something of my own, most often while reading stories or books that were poorly written, but for decades I didn’t. Once I got around to it, I realized I’d been waiting for someone or something to tell me that I was allowed to try. I didn’t need to wait.

2. Writing is hard.

A piece of published writing is one-way communication – the reader can’t ask follow-up questions. You have to do more than come up with a cool story and put it on paper. Good writing will make that story just as clear and fun for the reader as it is for the writer. The fun will be missing if the writing is weak.

3. Don’t worry if it’s bad at first.

Like any other activity worth pursuing, writing is a skill that needs to be developed. It takes practice. When we start, we may know what it is we want to achieve, but our skills aren’t up to it, yet. You should keep going – keep reading, keep writing. Revise. Don’t be discouraged. Find people nearby who write and talk to them about it. Read their stuff. When you’re ready, ask them to look at yours. Keep writing. Revise. Take some courses. Get into a writer’s group. Keep writing. Revise. Your stuff will get better.

Five Things I Wish I had Known before I Started Writing Novels

Five Things I Wish I had Known before I Started Writing Novels

by Greg Barth
One – Building a story is a separate process from writing a story.

Five Things I Wish I had Known before I Started Writing Novels

I used to think that you built a story as you wrote it. This was wrong. I’ve since learned that building a story is a thing in itself that has little to do with writing. Stories have defined components, certain ingredients that are required, big scenes that happen in certain places. It wasn’t until I knew the fundamentals of building a story that I was successful at writing a novel.

These days I spend a lot of time turning scenes over in my head while driving, listening to music. In the evening, I jot down some notes about the scenes I dreamt up earlier in the day on a notecard and pin it to my corkboard. I move the scenes around, making sure the big scenes hit at the right points in the story. I note out the sequences that connect the scenes. It’s not until I have the story built that I begin writing it.

Two – A strong story will work no matter who tells it.

I don’t consider myself a talented writer. There, I’ve said it. And it’s true – I don’t. I do, however, consider myself a better-than-average story builder. Here’s the thing – a good story will overcome mediocre writing. Stories can be written as songs, novels, poems, you name it, and we all love the stories that work.

Some of my favorite movies won’t be found in the Criterion Collection. Why? Because they don’t break ground cinematically. But they are my favorites because I love the stories they tell. Have you ever read the latest release from a best-selling novelist, one you’ve looked forward to, maybe pre-ordered, only to find that you were a little let down by the story? Maybe the writing was as excellent as you’d come to expect from this author, but the book didn’t end well, or the pacing was off. My theory is this: It takes a tremendous talent to tell a mediocre story in a captivating way. On the other hand, if the story is great, it almost doesn’t matter who tells it.

This is why I spend time getting the story right up front because I know my writing skills are pretty basic. But basic skills are good enough for an exceptional story, especially if you don’t want your flowery prose getting in the way of what’s going on.

The Inspiration for my Latest WIP by Chris Roy

5 Things I Wish I Had Known Before Writing a Novel with a Female Protagonist

By Hook or Crook the criminal ventures of Razor and Blondieby Chris Roy

1. I wish I had known the difficulties in writing first-person vs. third-person POV, female.

The very first female character I created was in a collection of short stories titled By Hook or Crook: the criminal ventures of Razor and Blondie. The point of view was third-person, with Razor as the main protagonist. His observations, thoughts, and feelings were more prominent in the narration than hers. I had never studied the craft of fiction writing before penning Crook, had zero experience. So I wasn’t aware anything was missing for her character. Strangely, writing a female in first-person POV made me aware of several things that improved my third-person stories.

Shocking Circumstances was my first full-length novel. After reading L.A. Outlaws by T. Jefferson Parker, I wanted my first novel to feature a strong, edgy female protagonist. Books on writing and publications such as Psychology Today were a staple of my daily routine at that point. I thought I could pull off a compelling story told by a female. I enjoy a good challenge and knew this project would be difficult. But, damn…

You have to be bold, I told myself. So I introduced the Shocker… in first-person. As the story progressed and her character developed, the scenes placed her in situations that increased in physical difficulty, each circumstance tougher than the last to explain how a female would overcome it. I remember laughing as I realized her physical difficulties increased my mental difficulties.

Four chapters in, I realized “getting into character” was not the way to write a female character. Not for me. I’m not an actor. I did a lot of brainstorming. A lot of pacing, and used my friends as idea sounding boards that bordered on abuse before determining a new approach.

Don’t be the actor. Be the cameraman. “Watch” her through a kind of mental camera lens.

This way of thinking worked for me. I could disassociate and still observe her in first-person. I re-wrote the beginning chapters, confidence returning. The discomfort had eased. Then I attempted a sex scene.

Five Things I Wish I Had Known About Marketing Before I Published My First Book

How to Deal with a Terrible Case of the Writing Blahs!

By Andrea Hintz (Author of and Perception and Deception) There comes a time in every writer’s career when they face the most disorienting and frustrating time that they could possibly imagine. You have heard the phrase before: writer’s block. This could be because you are becoming bored with your writing or you have suddenly become drained

When Writing Becomes a Bore…

If you’re a writer or an artist, I can almost promise you that you’ve felt the need to throw your keyboard or pad and pencil far away.  Creating anything can be at times gloriously frustrating.  For those of us who write for a living,  it can quickly turn into a situation where the desire to

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