Monday, October 5, 2009

Misbehaving Novel Update

For those of you keeping score at home, my latest mystery novel is finally out my agent's door and headed to the big bad world of "please, sir or madam, would you like to buy me?"

My agent had me wrassle more of it into submission, but finally, we're both happy with it. (Everyone has at least one novel that totally misbehaves, right? Right? Everyone? Even Dame Agatha and Sir Arthur? Right?)

So, after heaving that sigh of relief, the next issue rears its ugly head...

Now what?

Off to contemplate the next while waiting to hear on the finished. An author's life is not all wine and roses, is it?

Cheryl Walker

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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

All's Well That Ends Well

I'm happy to report that in the fight between me and The Novel That Would Not Behave, I won.

Oh, sure, I gave up on the word count issue. It was what it was, and since it reads fast, I don't mind. (At least, I'm telling myself I don't mind.)

However, what was interesting with my problems with the ending was that...I was writing the characters wrong.

It took a while to figure out, and I blame the fact that my last heroine was a rather kick-butt type for some of it. But, really, if one creates a supporting male character who is there to, pretty much, be the smart, handsome muscle, the guy who saves the day physically while the females do all the thinking, then logic demands that he actually, well, save the day.

Long, painful story short -- I was making "him" the damsel in distress and making "them" the valiant heroes. Surprisingly, it didn't work. The moment I actually relaxed and let my characters do what they would naturally do? Bingo, book's done.

So, since it's now with my beta readers and none of them have had anything horrible to say, I feel that I can take a deep breath. And then remind myself that it's easier to edit if you write it correctly the first time.

And I still bet Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Dame Agatha Christie never had this problem, either. Though I'm sure Watson and Hastings did...

Cheryl Walker

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Saturday, June 6, 2009

Gnashing My Teeth

For the first time in a long time I'm having trouble ending.

I'm at the tail end of my latest (you all remember, the novel I wasn't supposed to be doing but couldn't shut the characters up enough to not do? Yes, that one.). When I do a read-through, it just zips along, as a good mystery novel should.

Note that I didn't say when I did the one read-through. No. Because I've had to do more than a couple. Several, even. And I think I have to do one again.

Because this book wants to be longer than I want it to be, I think.

Of course, there were the characters who tried to get themselves introduced at 90,000 words in. I was kind but firm. Had to cut them. That's the firm part. They can show up in the second book in this series. That was the kind part.

And then there was the boring 'let's all get together and hang' part that I cut out. Found a better, more action-oriented way to do same. So far, so good. Only...

Only, I swear that it's impossible to hit the word count I was going for unless I gut a third of the book. And, in the read-throughs, the part that needs gutting and streamlining is...sigh...the end. Not that I'm done yet, mind you. While I am an 'edit as you go' writer, normally, at this point in the MS (you know, the END points) I'd finish and cut after it was done. But, I can't. I just cannot. Which means, of course, that something's wrong (again) and I need to read-through (again) and figure out what to cut and change (again).

Of course, as my spouse and crit partner tell me, maybe this book is just supposed to be longer than I'd thought.


I'll bet Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Dame Agatha Christie didn't have this problem. I'll bet their books behaved. I'll bet they fell right into place without any wrangling at all.

Oh well. Off to do some more mental wrestling. I will win, I tell you! I will! Even if I have to decide to let the book be the length it demands. But I'm not going down without a fight.

Or, clearly, without another read-through.

Cheryl Walker

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Friday, May 22, 2009

Happy Birthday, Arthur

Today is the 150th birthday of my favorite author, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Scottish-born literary genius. Having created two of the most iconic and everlasting characters ever in Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson, Sir Arthur truly is The Man.

I've read every Sherlock Holmes story every written by Sir Arthur, many times over. They never cease to compel and entertain. If you somehow haven't read them, race out right now and get a copy of the Complete Sherlock Holmes. If you have, take some time to re-read the best detective stories ever written.

So, a happy birthday to the great man and his ability to entertain, not only in his own time, but in all the times that came after. That's a legacy all authors aspire to, but only the Great Ones achieve.

Cheryl Walker

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Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

Best wishes of all kinds to all the moms out there. Hope you got at least something you wanted today, even if it was just a big hug and a kiss.

I got to work for many uninterrupted hours on my latest mystery novel WIP, so, for me, it's been a great day.

I got several big hugs and kisses, too, which made the day perfect.

Cheryl Walker

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Thursday, April 30, 2009

Spring Is In The Air

I just looked up and realized, whoops!, I haven't blogged in about two months.


But, you remember that idea I said I was going to do no matter what? Well, I've been working on it. And, happily, my agent is now all for it. So, I've had a great reason to not be blogging.

And, okay, truth time. I, sort of, kind of, rather completely, lost track of time.

I wish I could say it's because of the novel. And in some ways, it is. I'm enjoying it, loving the characters, having fun with the twists and turns. It's a good mystery, filled with suspense and humor (at least, I think so, and at this stage, my opinion is the only one that counts). The research hasn't been too onerous, and, for the most part, the book is flowing.

But the weather's been beautiful and I've been cleaning the house (I know -- but why?) and taking walks with the dogs and, all in all, enjoying Spring. I can't even use this stuff as an excuse -- as in, "Well, it's for my novel." Because it isn't. The novel's set in January, no one's cleaning anything, at least, not on the pages, and no dogs are in evidence. At least, not yet. The book's still young. A dog could make an appearance. And even bark in the night. Or not.

Oh, come on. You had to figure that, somehow, some way, I'd sneak in a Sherlock Holmes/A. Conan Doyle reference, didn't you? And I'm sure that, somewhere along the way, Sir Conan took a breather from the Victorian version of blogging. I'm sure he did! And if he didn't, well, he probably wanted to.

Tell you what -- I'll try to remember to blog more frequently and you don't shatter my illusions. Fair trade?

Cheryl Walker

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Friday, March 6, 2009

Being Bad

Shhhh. Don't tell...but I'm working on something I'm not supposed to be.

I know, how evil!

There's this idea for a new mystery series that I've had for a while, and even though I was sort of told not to work on it, I'm doing it anyway. I can't help it.

It's the characters. They're demanding. Some are whining. Especially the male lead who, really, is a supporting character and so gets a lot less screen time than he'd like. He's particularly noisy, demanding that I hurry up and get to his scenes.

But I'm not, because the other characters are also making noise, and there are more of them. And they band together, this set, they really do. Particularly since, as the real main characters are quick to mention, it's not his story so much as theirs. Though he's important and he's a nice boy and they like him and all. But, really, focus here, young lady, where it belongs.

They're kind of bossy, but that's okay. They're propelling their story forward, and that's what matters. Of course, this is the story I was sort of told not to work on...but no matter. I'm doing it anyway. And loving every line of it, too.

'Cause I'm bad to the bone that way.

Cheryl Walker

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