A Week in Review of Small Press Crime Fiction for Oct. 23 – Oct. 29, 2017
Electric Literature is open for submissions for personal and critical essays.
Today, October 24, Electric Literature is opening submissions for personal and critical essays, as well as humor that reflects on the world of reading, writing, literature, and storytelling in all its forms. We’re particularly interested in pieces that examine the intersection of the literary world and other creative disciplines: film, fine art, music, video games, architecture — you name it. Submissions will remain open until November 6.
Rusty Barnes’ Knuckledragger (Shotgun Honey) is out. I’ve read Barnes’ recently re-released Ridgerunner which I liked. Nick Kolakowski, author of A Brutal Bunch of Heartbroken Saps says, “Knuckledragger is a fast and hard punch you remember for the rest of your life. The prose bursts with rough-hewn power, the pace is blistering, and the characters will break your heart. You couldn’t ask for a better slice of modern noir.”
Broken Glass Waltzes by Warren Moore (Down & Out Books). Vicki Hendricks, the author of Miami Purity, says, “I tried to read this slowly to prolong the pleasure, but found it impossible. The blend of obsession, darkness, and intriguing character and plot, as well as seamless literary style, wouldn’t let me go.”
Skeletal by Emma Pullar (Bloodhound Books) is out. This book, though technically a mystery, is probably more along the lines of a dystopian thriller.
Margaret Millar’s Collected Millar: The First Detectives: The Invisible Worm; The Weak-Eyed Bat; The Devil Loves Me; Wall of Eyes; The Iron Gates is out. George Kelley says of this collection, “If you haven’t read these early Millar’s, you are in for a treat!”
Kathryn Croft’s Silent Lies (Bookouture) is out. Some reviews from the book’s blog tour.
- “The pace is perfect, the characters are brilliant and the while thing over all is so good!!” – Donna’s Book Blog
- “I can’t say for sure if it’s my lack of connection with the characters or perhaps the fact that the middle section felt slower for me or maybe I just wasn’t in the right mood.” – A Haven for Book Lovers
- “Silent Lies is a brilliant psychological thriller which will tense up your mind, flood your senses with apprehension and leave you sitting in a heap on the floor wondering what the hell happened there.” – Sweet Little Book
- “This is an excellent choice for those who are fans of the ever popular psychological suspense in the domestic realm. Pack a bag and loads of caffeine with this one; you’ll have to stay up all night finishing it and will likely be a happy zombie by morning!” – The Suspense is Thrilling Me
- ““Silent Lies is a well crafted, addictive, and fast paced read which will leave you questioning absolutely everything.” – The Writing Garnet
- “She just amazes me every time I read her books.” – Books from Dusk Till Dawn
- “Unputdownable” – My Chestnut Reading Tree
- “Silent Lies is incredibly intense and full of intrigue.” – Novel Deelights
- “ This is one book that is certainly going to stay with me for a long time to come.” – Ginger Book Geek
- “Overall, if you are a fan of psychological thrillers with a sort of “chick lit” vibe, then I feel like this will absolutely appeal to you.” – Clues and Reviews
Alexandra Sokoloff’s Hunger Moon (Thomas & Mercer) is out, this is the fifth in the Huntress/FBI Thrillers series. Noelle at CrimeBookJunkie loves the book saying:
What I LOVE about Alexandra Sokoloff’s writing is her skill at bringing current matters to the forefront and making the reader think -while at the same time entertaining the reader with a kickass story that really makes you feel empowered! I love this author’s writing style and the ability to make the reader embrace a story with the same passion that she has for the subject at hand.
The fourth in the Tara Sharp series, Sharp Edge by Marianne Delacourt is out on Deadline, an imprint of Twelfth Planet Press.
The Lost Child by Patricia Gibney (Bookouture) is out. Here are some reviews from its blog tour.
- “Oh my goodness this book was fantastic!! I started it late one afternoon and read it pretty much non stop, this is definitely a book that grabs you so much that you don’t want to put it down!!” – Dona’s Book Blog
- “Both shocking and strangely compelling, this is an absolutely cracking read in a series which is going from strength to strength.” – Jen Med’s Book Reviews
- “It’s dark, gritty and intense with shocking developments and well executed twists.” – Novelgossips
- “Cleverly written, more-ish, suspenseful and highly intense.” – The Writing Garnet
- “Gibney has an incredible talent, every page held my attention and I couldn’t turn them fast enough.” – It’s All About the Books
- “Patricia Gibney has delivered another absolute corker.” – Novel Deelights
T.R. Ragan’s Her Last Day (Thomas & Mercer) is out. Novelgossip writes that “was an effortless page turner”. This is the first in a series about PI Jessie Cole. The second book, Deadly Recall, will be out in March 2018. Criminal Element’s Kristin Centorceli says of Her Last Day, “If you like serial killer thrillers that genuinely thrill and have plenty of depth, now’s the time to discover Jessie Cole and T.R. Ragan.”
- This Week
- The Balkan Route by Cal Smyth (Fahrenheit Press)
- Broken Bones by Angela Marsons (Bookouture)
- Finding Colossus by Ally Rose (Fahrenheit Press)
- Deadbomb Bingo Ray by Jeff Johnson (Turner Publishing)
- Don’t Tell a Soul by D.K. Hood (Bookouture)
- Double Wide by Leo W. Banks (Brash Books)
- Down to No Good by Earl Javorsky (The Story Plant)
- Murder Game by Caroline Mitchell (Bookouture)
- Road to Paradise by Max Allan Collins (Brash Books)
- The Wench is Wicked / Blonde Verdict / Delilah Was Deadly by Carter Brown (Stark House Press)
- White Out by Ragnar Jónasson (Orenda Books)
- World Enough by Clea Simon (Severn House Digital)
- Wormwood by Larry Enmon (Bloodhound Books)
- Week of November 6
- The Dead Whisper by Emma Clapperton (Bloodhound Books)
- Face Value by William E. Wallace (Shotgun Honey)
- Full Service Blonde by Megan Edwards (Imbrifex)
- Scream Blue Murder by Tony J. Forder (Bloodhound Books)
- The Secret Mother by Shalini Boland (Bookouture)
- You’re Next by Michael Fowler (Caffeine Nights Publishing)
- Zenka by Alison Brodie
- Week of November 13
- Week of November 20
- Week of November 27
- Deadly Dance by Hillary Bonner (Severn House Digital)
- Her Best Friend by Sarah Wray (Bookouture)
- The Mansions of Murder by Paul Doherty (Severn House Digital)
- Murder in July by Barbara Hambly (Severn House Digital)
- Now You See Me by Kierney Scott (Bookouture)
- The Silent Children by Carol Wyer (Bookouture)
- Week of December 4
- Week of December 11
- The Stolen Children by Kerry Wilkinson (Bookouture)
- January 2018
- Bad Samaritan by Dana King (Down & Out Books)
- Blackchurch Furnace by Nathan Singer (Down & Out Books)
- Come Out and Play by Dylan Young (Bookouture)
- The Daughter by Lucy Dawson (Bookoutre)
- Deep Blue Trouble by Steph Broadribb (Orenda Books)
- Hydra by Matt Wesolowski (Orenda Books)
- A Scholar of Pain by Grant Jerkins (ABC Group Documentation)
- Touchfeather by Jimmy Sangster (Brash Books)
- Truth or Dare by Richard Paker (Bookouture)
- Vanishing Girls by Lisa Regan (Bookouture)
This past week was the first week with a contributor at Unlawful Acts. Jim Thomsen, a freelance book editor and crime fiction junkie, reviews Hart Hanson’s The Driver and Jame Pate’s Speed of Life (Fahrenheit Press). I reviewed Anthony Neil Smith’s Castle Danger: Woman on Ice and Eryk Pruitt’s What We Reckon (Polis Books).
Craft’s Nick Fuller Googins reviews Christopher Irvin’s Ragged; or, The Loveliest Lies of All (Cutlass Press) saying:
Ragged is no fable, but like any decent work of fiction it reflects a piece of ourselves in the pages. Through Irvin we see a world of animals, not a human in sight; yet he also serves us a powerful reminder involving the fragile architecture of trust and mutual aid that props up society, and how quickly it can all come crashing down.
More from the blog tour of Lilja Signerdardotter’s Snare (Orenda Books).
- “This is a slow burning mystery, since the first page you know the end will not be good, will be explosive, it will not let you sleep till you arrive at the inevitable ending… be prepared.” – Varietats
- “Snare is one of the most original thrillers I’ve read this year …” – Hair Past a Freckle
- “We have a tendency to idealise Iceland, with its dramatic volcanic landscape, enigmatic outpost culture, puffins and – yes – the hidden people. Lilja Sigurdardottir doesn’t play to any such romantic ideals, instead shining a light into the sordid side of Reykjavik during a period when, let’s not forget, Iceland’s real life financiers had ripped off private citizens, businesses and public bodies across Europe.” – Crime Fiction Lover
- “Snare is a truly gripping read, elements of the storyline were so original, and this made it harder to predict were the plot was going.” – Keeper of Pages
- “One of my top books of the year – I couldn’t put it down!” – The Quiet Geordie
- “Readers looking to be swept up in a breathless, tense journey into the underbelly of idyllic Iceland will find Sigurdardottir’s story compelling and propulsive; readers looking for a character-driven Noir read will fall in love with the human, flawed, and endearing characters Sigurdardottir has crafted.” – Crime by the Book
- “Snare is such a sophisticated, high stakes thriller with real heart; it’s dark, gripping and incredibly intense!” – Rather Too Fond of Books
From the blog tour of Janice Frost’s Their Fatal Secrets (Joffe Books).
- “I thought that this book was great and it really gripped me – I loved the pace and the plot was spot on, I loved the detail and the characters of Ava and Jim were brilliant – I thoroughly enjoyed the whole book and have given it 5 stars!” – Donna’s Book Blog
- “Again my only complaint would be the coincidences, I keep coming across them a lot lately in crime fiction.” – On The Shelf Reviews
- “If you like Angela Marsons, Rachel Abbott, Ruth Rendell, or Mark Billingham you will be gripped by this exciting new crime fiction writer.” – Orchard Book Club
- “Definitely worth the 5 stars.” – Books n All
- “In short, I absolutely adored reading this book and discovering a new author.” – Ginger Book Geek
From the blog tour of Antti Tuomainen’s The Man Who Died (Orenda Books).
- “Crime and mystery fans will enjoy this novel but for me its the insight into Antti Tuomainen’s Finland which is most rewarding. In short this is delightfully genre blending caper about a man with only months left to live.” – The World’s Shortlist
- “I really enjoyed reading this, loved every part of it, the character of Jaako and laughed out loud at some of his predicaments. The author’s wit and writing skill is present throughout even through a layer of translation.” – Mrs. Bloggs Books
- “I really enjoyed this book. It was a quick read, and I couldn’t put it down. It is full of dark humour and interesting and amusing characters.” – The Quiet Geordie
- “The Man Who Died is an absolute treat of a book. From the stunning cover through to the final sentence. If you love a good old ‘who done it’, black humour and a thoroughly absorbing plot with interesting characters who you’ll remember long after you close the book, then you’ll love this story.” – Brew and Books Reviews
- “The Man Who Died will be on your favourite reads of 2017. Love Books Group
- “While this is quite different from my usual reads it is definitely a book I would recommend if you fancy something a little different.” – Book Lover Worm
- “The Man Who Died is dark, quirky, unique and hugely enjoyable – a real page-turner.” – Curious Ginger Cat
- “This book isn’t a thriller in the traditional sense, yes there are moments of suspense and tension but it is much more an exploration of life and its meaning.“ – Beverley Has Read
- “Honestly, buy it, read it, give it to people you like. It’s fantastic.” – Live and Deadly
From the blog tour of Lloyd Otis’ Dead Lands (Urbane Publishing).
- “London at the tale end of the 70s is portrayed as a bleak space in which tough, varied characters flourish. Witty dialogue and well-crafted description characterise this novel, and the story is both fast-paced and intriguing.” – The Dorsett Book Detective
- “What I really loved about this book was the gritty and yet matter of fact tone in which it was written. There is no glamourising the deaths and yet they are brutally authentic in portrayal.” – Jen Med’s Book Reviews
- “Dead Lands is a thrilling crime novel by Lloyd Otis set in 1970s London. If you’re looking for something that is a little different and if you’re a fan of gritty crime thrillers then I would highly recommend Dead Lands. Brilliant writing.” – Hooked From Page One
From the blog tour of Adrian Magson’ Rocco and the Nightingale (The Dome Press).
- “I don’t want to say much more about the plot, but it is definitely a gripping story. I really liked Rocco as a character and the various story arcs made for some great change of pace throughout the book.” – Bibliophile Book Club
- “A good entertaining book, absolutely ideal for crime fans.” – Ali – The Dragon Slayer
- “I have a new favourite detective and his name is Lucas Rocco.” – Half Past a Freckle
Books of All Kinds absolutely loves Cat Hogan’s There was a Crooked Man (Poolbeg).
Novelgossip reviews Amy Impellizzeri’s The Truth About Thea (Wyatt-MacKenzie) saying that it “was sharp, clever and very well executed”.
My Chestnut Reading Tree reviews M.A. Comley’s Deadly Encounter, the fourth DI Sally Parker thriller series. Jo writes:
As usual, you can trust Mel Comley to deliver a well written, perfectly plotted suspense. It’s like cuddling up with a hot chocolate, warming and comforting in its familiarity.
If you’ve never read Iain Ryan before, you are missing out. Tom Leins reviews Ryan’s first book Four Days saying:
Ryan’s prose is impressively understated: brisk and razor-sharp throughout, and his knack for nastiness and corruption recalls early James Ellroy. If you are sick of flabby police procedurals this grim novella is a welcome antidote. Make no mistake, Four Days trims away the fat and cuts to the fucking bone.
Bookgasm’s Alan Cranis reviews the new Stark House combined release of Australia’s Carter Brown’s The Wench is Wicked / Blond Verdict / Delilah was Deadly. Tipping My Fedora also review the books saying they are “highly amusing mysteries, which were only ever meant to read at top speed and not taken even remotely seriously, are really great fun”.
Crimespree Magazine’s Eise Cooper reviews Michael Brandman’s Missing Person (Poisoned Pen Press).
Books from Dusk till Dawn likes Dylan H. Jones’ Anglesey Blue (Bloodhound Books).
Released two weeks ago, Never Imitate’s Jackie Law reviews Christina James’ Fair of Face (Salt). Law writes, “A crime novel that held my attention and offered sufficient originality to make it worth the read. Where I am sensitive to what I regard as over emphasis on looks and dress, others will likely find this helps picture each scene.” Reflections of a Reader says that it is “a rollercoaster of a read”.
CrimeBookJunkie reviews Robert Bryndza’s Last Breath (Bookouture).
Off the Shelf Books‘ Victoria Goldman reviews Sarah Driscoll’s Before It’s Too Late (Kensington). This is the second in the FBI K-9 Thrillers.
Books of All Kinds reviews Alison Brodie’s upcoming self-published book, Zenka, saying that it is “a fast-paced, gritty, story of family, lies, love, and some murderous mobsters thrown in for good measure.”
In the Los Angeles Review of Books, Robert Sloan writes that Willa Cather’s My Ántonia “does not deserve the status as a classic work but rather a secondary novel.”
Colman Keane reviews Thomas Waugh’s Nothing to Loose (Endeavor Press). The Damien Lewis blurb says that the book is “engaging and enjoyable”. Keane writes:
According to publisher, Endeavour Press – Thomas Waugh is the pseudonym of a bestselling historical novelist.
A Google search has Fantastic Fiction suggesting Waugh might be Damien Lewis “a war correspondent and thriller writer.”
I’d quite like for it to be Lewis, as I like the idea of him hat-tipping his own books. Beat your own drum man, because there’s plenty to be proud of.
Ha! Keane also reviewed and liked Robin Yocum’s A Welcome Murder (Seventh Street Books).
By theLetter Book Reviews says of Louise Jensen’s Surrogate (Bookouture) that had their “heart pounding and adrenaline racing.”
S.E. Lynes’ Mother (Bookouture) will be coming out in late November. Brew and Books Review says that is “a deliciously dark, unsettling and clever read.”
Snazzy Books reviews Felicia Yap’s Yesterday (Mulholland Books) saying that it is “original, intriguing and beautifully written novel”.
Tom Leins, author of Skull Meat, reviews Benjamin Myers’ Turning Blue (Moth Publishing) saying, “Grim, gripping and grotesque, Turning Blue is an outstanding book, and easily one of the best British crime novels that I have read in the last decade.” Leins follows up the review with an interview with Myers.
Bookgasm reviews Leo W. Banks’ upcoming book saying “The setting and characters, along with the inventive plot, make Double Wide well worth your time.”
My first column at Do Some Damage is called “Do Writers Even Read Anymore?”.
A few months ago, J. David Osborne, writer and publisher of Broken River Books, posted a photograph of a dog side-eyeing the viewer. Osborne wrote, “When writers only seem to talk about all the TV they’ve watching”. How true. My social media feeds are filled news and views about the latest premium cable series or any of the numerous Netflix series and movies. And things do get heated from time to time. We all lost loved ones during the great Baby Driver Facebook War this summer.
Stop, click, and read S.W. Lauden’s interview with Peter Rozovsky. Seriously, do it now.
David Cranmer writes about the problems of way too much reading in genres and how to rekindle your love.
Admittedly, after hundreds (thousands?) of crime novels and Western shoot-outs, narratives begin to repeat, grow stale, though, when something fresh crosses my desk, like Frank Bill’s soon to be released The Savage, I’m thoroughly invested.
Jedidiah Ayres on Frank Bill, Rusty Barnes, and all things good. Ayres on Bill:
His prose is a stripped-down muscle car without a muffler, tender as a brick and soothing as a gasoline popsicle, arriving at a tone you might call old-testament-pulp, while the stories themselves bite and kick and howl, and are run through with notions of the bonds of blood and kin that threaten as much as they ever may comfort.
At The Trill Begins, the Writers Passport series continues with Jenny Milchman interviewing psychological thriller author Sophie Hannah. Hannah says:
I’m very happy with the label of psychological suspense, and/or psychological crime. I was influenced by brilliant writers such as Joy Fielding (See Jane Run) and Nicci French (The Memory Game), whose novels were mysteries but with a strongly psychological focus. They were the people – along with Ruth Rendell/Barbara Vine and Agatha Christie – who made me want to write crime fiction, and they are all authors who are obsessed with warped psychology and unusual motivations. So, yes, psychological suspense feels like the right description. Domestic mystery and family thriller are not labels I’d ever use, and they’re not labels I like. Both sound reductive, and make me think of narrowly focused books that are all set in one family’s kitchen. All my books involve people outside the home as well as inside it, and many relationships that aren’t familial, and the action/focus is never confined to one house. I’d be happy with the label human relationships thriller but that sounds a bit odd!
One part writing boot camp, one part rollicking party,National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) celebrates its 19th year of encouraging creativity, education, and the power of the imagination through the largest writing event in the world. This year, NaNoWriMo expects over 400,000 people—including over 70,000 K-12 students and educators on our Young Writers Program website—to start a 50,000-word novel in the month of November. Throughout the month, they’ll be guided by this year’s theme: Superpowered Noveling.
Eryk Pruitt, author of What We Reckon (Polis Books), lists “Six Great Southern Crime Novels” at The Strand Magazine. There is a surprise or two in it.
SleuthSlayers’ Steve Liskow writes about people who want to write but don’t read.
Most writers who teach have variations on this story, and we all wonder how you can possibly want to write when you don’t enjoy reading. That’s like a guy who can’t stand heights wanting to skydive. Colorblind artists don’t get far, either. Or tone-deaf musicians.
A book review meta post which was delightful. Keeper of Pages talks about bad reviews.
I’m going to be brutally honest, I have in the past, reviewed a book that I greatly disliked and prior to posting it, I was having this inner battle with myself. Ultimately, I tried to shift the responsibility and emailed the review to a fellow blogger and asked them if they thought the review was acceptable or too harsh.
How about another meta post on book reviewing? Jackie Law is removing herself from blog tours.
At The LadyKillers Ellen Kirschman had this to say about violence:
I will tolerate violence in well written books. Because when violence is well written, language somehow bathes the violence in a wash of human experience. But when violence is gratuitous, the shock value serving mostly to obscure poor or lazy writing, I put the book down. A recent case in point was a novel where the writer turned the victim of hideous and graphically told violence into a perpetrator of the same. The author portrayed this as a victory. I thought he turned the victim into a cartoon. Ditto for some police procedurals I’ve read where the violence was so over-the-top, it served only to trivialize real police work. I put those down too. When writers focus only on the physical details of violent behavior and ignore the emotional consequences to both the victim and the perpetrator, something important is missing.
BOLO Books lists some new paperbacks that may warrant your attention.
Do sci-fi and crime mix? Are they the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups of genre fiction? Over at The Thrill Begins, Jake Bible thinks so.
Crime Fiction Lover interviews bestselling author Ann Cleaves.
Bibliophile Book Club interviews Lloyd Otis, author of Dead Lands.
The cover for Andrew Nette’s Gunshine State announced. The book will be re-released in February 2018.
At Scott Montgomery’s newish blog The Hard Wood, he interviews Kris Lackey about his new book Nail’s Crossing and the Chickasaw Nation.
Antti Tuomainen, author of The Man Who Died, talks about his early literary influences at Random Things Through My Letterbox.
Criminal Minds has posted about joining professional writing groups and such. Unsurprisingly Danny Gardner’s article is one of the best. Garnder is author of A Negro and an Ofay (Down & Out Books).
Mystery/crime writing is as much about the writers as what we write. It’s clear it comes from tradition, and while I don’t fully understand why the social factor among us is so powerful, I’m not living my life in fear of failure anymore so I don’t have to try to see around every corner to figure it all out before I proceed. I leap and then look in Mystery/Crime in ways I have never done in my life, much less career. Tradition matters to me as much as innovation. Allowing for the new is balanced with respecting that which is long-standing and honored. I received so much love, camaraderie and respect for my work and my commitment to it, I joined all these organizations partly to get the benefits and be in the know for my career, but mainly for one simple reason. I love what I do. I want to keep on doing it, and for that to happen, I have to make certain that I stand in good stead.
Elkay Ray stops by In Reference to Murder to talk about writing and her book Saigon Dark (Crime Wave Press).
Lloyd Otis talks about identity theft and his new book Dead Lands (Urbane Publicans) at Bits About Books.
The new film of Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express got Scott Alderberg thinking about film adaptions of the Golden Age of Detective Fiction. Alderberg’s pick for the best adaption “is the British film Green for Danger, directed by Sidney Gilliat. It was made in 1946 and taken from a Christianna Brand novel written two years earlier.”
J.A. Baker, the author of Her Dark Retreat (Bloodhound Books), talks about her influences at Bloomin’ Brilliant Books.
Ronnie Turner interviews Robert Crouch, author of the newly published No Bodies.
Some beautiful photographs by Kerry Mansfield of expired library books.
At Criminal Minds, Dietrich Kalteis, author of Zero Avenue, writes about the value of joining groups and organizations of writers.
Ann Bonny Book Reviews interviews A.H. Richardson, author of Murder in Little Shendon.
At Mystery Fare, Clea Simon writes about making the jump from cozies to noir with her new book World Enough.
Lilja Sigurðardóttir, author of Snare (Orenda Books), stops by Shots to talk about the importance of food in books.
If In Doubt Read interviews Adrian Magson, author of Rocco and the Nightingale.
On Robert Crouch’s self-published No Bodies, Novel Deelights says that “if you enjoy your cosy mysteries, I have no doubt you will like the Kent Fisher Mysteries!”
The Rap Sheet lists the winners of the 2017 Dagger Awards.
Best of 2017 are already coming out. Here’s The Stand Magazine’s list and Publishers Weekly. Both are wrong as they don’t include Jordan Harper’s She Rides Shotgun. J. Kingston Pierce put together both lists nicely at The Rap Sheet.
At My Reading Corner, Antti Tuomainen writes about a brief writer’s retreat with Steph Broadribb, Thomas Enger, Karen Sullivan and others.
Jackie McLean stops by Elementary V Watson to talk about the inspiration for her believable characters.
How often should you tweet for people to buy your book? Glenn Miller thinks three times is enough.
Allison Brook aka Marilyn Levinson talks with Lucy Burdette at Jungle Red Writers about writing.
There are many, many books being published these days, and you want to make your book stand out as best you can. First of all, learn the elements that go into a good novel. This takes time. Join writing groups like Sisters in Crime. Take classes, either in person or online. Join a critique group that’s familiar with the type of book you write. You want to belong to a group that provides support and helpful criticism. Read in your genre. Keep on writing. Writing is a process. It can’t be rushed. Be aware of marketing, what is wanted in your genre, while nurturing your own style and voice. So much of this sounds contradictory, but this, too, is part of the process: to believe in yourself while keeping an open mind to those critiquing your work.
Mark Hill, author of Two O’Clock By, stops by Elementary V Watson to talk about minor characters.
But those minor characters deserve your love and attention just as much as your main cast. It’s easy to write them as shallow stereotypes, but they deserve personalities all of their own, and feelings, and depth of character. Give them their moment in the sun.
For example, I used to do a lot of script reports for new writers. I read hundreds of scripts, perhaps thousands. Films scripts, TV scripts, play scripts. If old ladies appeared in those scripts they’d often be described as having white hair and wearing a cardigan. They were the most generic old ladies ever. They’d invariably call everybody ‘dear’ a lot. As in ‘hello, dear,’ ‘yes, dear’ and ‘would you like a cup of tea, dear?’
Because if an old lady appeared, you could bet your life that a cup of tea would be sure to follow. Now I love tea as much as the next fellow– milk, no sugar, since you’re asking – but I often wondered what would happen if instead of clutching a teapot the old lady would appear with a crack-pipe… or a DVD of extreme porn… or sporting a purple Mohican hairstyle.
Joe Fassler on the publication of his book Light in the Dark: Writers on Creativity, Inspiration, and the Artistic Process has an article in Literary Hub called I Talked to 150 Writers and Here’s the Best Advice They Had. Hmm, I wonder what that’s about.
Allison Brennan talks about writes about finding joy in your writing.
A new documentary about Joan Didion is out now on Netflix.