5 things I learned from writing a series

My thanks to Eva at Novel Deelights for posting this to support the release of No Mercy, Kent Fisher Mysteries #5.

Click here to read the post.

Click here to learn more about the books in the series.

Friday Feedback- 29th November 2019

There’s not much to report as I’ve spent this week fitting new doors inside the house. However, Wednesday turned out to be interesting.

Carol finished reading No Mercy on Wednesday morning. “Loved it,” she said. “Even better than the last one.”

Around lunchtime, my editor, Liz, emailed me her report on the novel. “It’s a cracker!” she said. “Not much to adjust.”

Not bad, I thought, before picking up the mallet and chisel. I can move on with the final edit and proof reading this coming week and get the book ready for pre-order and publication. I’m hoping the cover should be available soon, so it’s all coming together.

I’m also looking to relaunch my Robservations blog soon, prompted by Agatha Christie, no less. I’m currently reading and loving The 4.50 from Paddington, one of Miss Marple’s adventures. It’s interesting to see how the BBC and ITV have tinkered with the story for television. I’m not sure why they did as the story’s excellent. I also began to realise what I’d learned from her over the years.

 

 

Friday Feedback – 22nd November 2019

This is the updated Saturday version, delayed in the spirit of Brexit.

Like most the weeks this month, it’s been non-stop editing to ensure No Mercy, the fifth Kent Fisher murder mystery, is as good as I can make it. It’s now in the hands of my editor, Liz, for an objective evaluation. I’m working with my cover designer at the moment and hope to bring you a preview of the finished result before too long.

The story starts at the point No More Lies finished and will take readers deeper into the lives of Kent and some of those close to him, with some surprising revelations. Alongside the murders, the plot has a strong environmental health thread to it, which includes the restaurateur from hell.

No Mercy will be available on Amazon from Thursday, 16th January 2020, and it should be available for preorder before Christmas.

Friday Feedback – 15th November 2019

Five things I love about editing and revising –

  1. finding better ways to say things. Usually, this means being more succinct,cutting out the dead wood and trimming away the excesses and repetitions
  2. improving the flow. Adding detail here and there to improve the flow and smooth transitions can improve both reading and understanding. My mind often races faster than my fingers and some of the subtleties and nuances can be lost in the rush. This is a chance to put them back
  3. simplifying the plot. I didn’t realise how complex the plot to No Mercy was until I started editing. I love throwing in complications at the ends of chapters as I write, but it’s not until you reach the end that you know what’s necessary and what’s not.
  4. removing repetition. Removing repetition avoids repeating the obvious. I can easily forget what I wrote in the previous chapter, so repetition is inevitable in a first draft. It can be anything from repeating a simple fact to overusing a name.
  5. discovering if the story works. This might seem a strange thing to say, but when you’re writing, you’re discovering all the time. Characters misbehave, I’m delighted to say, but they can cause problems earlier in the story. There are also loose ends that get forgotten, scenes that don’t work and sometimes you can read and not have a clue what you were trying to say first time around.

 

If you haven’t worked it out yet, I’m enjoying the editing. I’m about two-thirds of the way through on the second edit. I plan a third revision, based on a quick read through to ensure there’s nothing obvious I’ve missed. Then it’s off to my professional editor for an independent, objective view. After that, it’s more tidying up than editing.

I’ve also had the first glimpse of the new cover this week, which means I’ll have to write the blurb before too long.

Now that’s something I don’t enjoy.

Friday Feedback – 8th November 2019

Today I completed the first edit and revision of No Mercy, the fifth Kent Fisher mystery novel.

Though shorter and sharper, there’s still plenty to do before it goes for a professional review and edit at the end of this month, but everything hangs together and you can expect a few surprises along the way.

I read a short excerpt to Harvey and he seemed to enjoy it – though it could have been the promise of a treat that held his attention.

Harvey

All being well, the first proof of the cover should be winging its way into my inbox next week. I’ll share it (the cover, not my inbox) with members of the Kent Fisher Readers Group in my December email newsletter.

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Friday Feedback – 1st November 2019

One of the most important lessons I’ve learned as an author is listening to my inner voice.

This isn’t the little devil on my shoulder, whose sole aim is to cast doubt and undermine confidence. He shouts in my ear from time to time, usually when the writing’s not going as well as I would like. In the past, he used to tell me I’d never write anything worth publishing. He would urge me not to send manuscripts to publishers because they were bound to send rejection letters, which would undermine my confidence. And so on …

These days, the little devil doesn’t get much of a look in. It’s not because I’ve become a great writer or found a magic success formula.

No, he doesn’t get a look in because I prefer to listen to my inner voice. It knows when something is as good as I can make it. It knows when I need to make improvements. It encourages me to keep going until I’ve produced the best I can. That’s why I can spend hours on a paragraph.

editing

This afternoon, I rewrote the ending of a chapter several times, even though it was only a couple of lines of dialogue. The first attempt was fine, but I knew I could do better.

Multiply this up to several chapters, which have challenged me for the past week or so, and you’ll understand why writing a novel can be a struggle at times. But my inner voice is now happy with the results and I’m starting to feel excited as I move onto the final quarter of the novel.

I’ve also settled on the title and strapline.

No Mercy
When there is no justice you make your own.

What do you think?