Thursday, August 28, 2014

Brainstorming in the Writng Process

When I was in the corporate world, I participated in a number of brainstorming session. When I started writing, an author suggested brainstorming ideas for novels. I had never brainstormed by myself and wondered about that advice. Then I gave it a try.

Here’s what I learned. The process can work with one person. When I’m planning a new novel, I often use walking time to brainstorm. I carry a pad of paper and a pen and jot down ideas as they come to me. Like with brainstorming in a group, no idea is a bad one. Just get it down. Then I can go over these later to pick the ones I will incorporate into my novel.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Police Role Playing

I had a chance again this week to be a role player for police training. Four new police officers were in training, two with previous law enforcement experience and two brand new to the police world.

My scenario was to be a person who had been fired from my job, not allowed to take my personal belongings and had come back in to break into my old locked office to reclaim my personal stuff.

As a mystery writer I then embellished the basic scenario by adding that my employer had been stealing things from my desk and I had returned to retrieve a thousand dollar engagement ring that was in my desk and that I needed to give to my fiancée.
Needless to say, I got cuffed and arrested all four times. Sigh. One more taint to my law abiding reputation.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Editing Process

Okay. Now the rough draft is done. On to editing. Some writers rewrite as the go, but I prefer to get a fast rough draft completed and then go through numerous editing passes.

Editing pass number one: I read through the whole draft to get a feel for what I’ve written, correcting any content errors along the way.

Editing pass number two: Now I really focus on readability. How can I write things more clearly.

Editing pass number three: On to punctuation, grammar and word choices.

Editing pass number four+: I go through and search on certain words I use too much such as “about” and change or eliminate.

My final editing pass is to read the manuscript out loud. Now I catch things that my eyes have skipped over before.

Then the manuscript goes to my wife, my first reader. After she give me comments, I make another editing pass.

Next, on to my critique group. Once all those comments have been incorporated, I make another full editing pass. Now I’m ready to submit it to the publisher.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Research Trips

One of the things I enjoy about writing is taking research trips. These have included an Alaskan cruise (the setting the fourth book in my Paul Jacobson Geezer-lit Mystery Series, Cruising in Your Eighties Is Murder) and visits to Venice Beach, California, (location of Senior Moments Are Murder).

We just returned from a two night stay in Glenwood Springs, Colorado. I have a manuscript that takes place there, and it addition to a nice vacation at the hot springs, I wanted to check on several of the scenes I had written. Good thing. I discovered a major error. I had an important scene where my protagonist goes down to the Colorado River. The problem: the place I used didn’t work because of a small impediment: I-70 runs along the river with no way over or under the freeway at that point. By walking around, I found a pedestrian bridge that crossed the freeway and ended up in a lovely park, Two Rivers Park. With some minor editing, I can now set it right.