The writing process


Hunter'sChaseBanner (ValPenny)

Have you ever done crime? I mean, of course, have you ever written about crime? Would you like to write about crime? Why would you write about crime?

ValPennyI can’t answer those questions for myself, let alone for you. Fortunately, I don’t have to, because fellow Crooked Cat author, Val Penny is here to share some of her experience and answer those difficult questions.

Take it away, Val!

Reasons to Write a Crime Novel

People like crime, at least in novels! Often, I meet dentists and bank managers with clever plot ideas, or nurses who read every crime novel they can lay their hands on. If I visit a writing group, there are always members keenly producing new murderous plots. Lawyers and convicts show equal enthusiasm for this genre. For those who want to write a crime novel, there are several reasons to want to do so. Here are a few of them.

Emotional Release

Often, those who write crime novels find an emotional release in their craft. Crime novelists deal with the dark things that people usually push to the side of their minds in order to get on with every day life. The cathartic attraction of writing can be decisive.

Some crime authors tell of poor sleep patterns, punctured by nightmares that are repaired when they start to write. Others panic, constantly scanning doorways for signs of danger. The stiffening fear that afflicts them resolves when they are busy writing crime.

The Story-Telling Urge

The sources for crime novels are many and varied. Ideas can spring from the news and current affairs; memories from the past and historical events or things that puzzle or fascinate the writer. Once an author begins to exercise their creative muscles, they often find that they run into stories demanding to be told. The stories demand to be told and will not stop coming.

For Companionship

It is often said that writers can be difficult people: gloomy, competitive and quarrelsome. However, for the most part, I have found crime writers to be an inclusive and convivial bunch. They are certainly hard-working. The pressure of producing a book a year is intense, yet they never seem to turn their backs on fun. If you have a chance to go to a crime-writers’ convention, do take it. They are exhausting, exhilarating and irresistible.

An Outlet for Aggression

Most crime-writers will tell you that they are good company because they channel all their belligerent thoughts into their stories, so in real life, the authors are meek and mild. It is not always true, but I can confirm that a crime novel is an excellent place to park your rage! The prospect of giving vent to righteous anger in a safe form can be a particularly pleasing device. When characters require to act in a violent way or commit violence the reader is willing to witness this on the page but they would shy from it in real life. Crime writers can let rip on the page in a way they avoid doing in the real world.

The Thrill of Research

I can personally confirm that the research you do for crime novels and for academic purposes are equally satisfying. It is also extremely diverse. It may involve visiting prisons, refuges, police stations or drug dens. Police are often very willing to be of assistance to crime writers, even if it is just to avoid being irritated when otherwise the writers would get police procedures wrong. This information is most useful and helpful. Indeed, when you are writing a novel, no information or experience is wasted!

Thank you for that, Val.

Val Penny’s debut novel, Hunter’s Chase, was published just last week. Here’s the blurb:

Hunter'sChaseCover (Val Penny)Hunter by name – Hunter by nature: DI Hunter Wilson will not rest until Edinburgh is safe.

DI Hunter Wilson knows there is a new supply of cocaine flooding his city and he needs to find the source but his attention is transferred to murder when a corpse is discovered in the grounds of a golf course. Shortly after the post-mortem, Hunter witnesses a second murder but that is not the end of the slaughter. With a young woman’s life also hanging in the balance, the last thing Hunter needs is a new man on his team: the son of his nemesis, the former Chief Constable. Hunter’s perseverance and patience are put to the test time after time in this taut crime thriller.

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Salt & VinegarCrispsUntil recently, it was impossible to buy Salt ‘n’ Vinegar crisps here. There were many other flavours, but not that. We missed them and always bought some when we were in the UK. Our children like them, too. I wonder why!

Nowadays, we see them for sale, occasionally, in the familiar blue box. We’ve bought them and enjoyed them. However, after two or three purchases, we’ve noticed a pattern. The crisps sold here have less vinegar than the ones sold in the UK. They’re okay, but they don’t have that specially sharp taste. They don’t make your lips tingle.

We’ve assumed that these crisps are purposely made with a milder quantity of vinegar to suit the Israeli taste. And the Spanish one, presumably. Come to think of it, doesn’t the version for the UK market bear the name “Salt ‘n’ Vinegar”? And isn’t there a “u” in “flavoured” in that version?

Advice on writing always includes tips about writing for the audience. And contrasting tips to write for yourself, because that way you come across as genuine.

I wouldn’t begin to tell other writers how they should write. Each has to make their own decisions. I’ve made mine. I couldn’t write to suit the people I assume would want to buy my books if the writing didn’t first satisfy me. My books aren’t crisps. They’re full of words that I’ve combined and edited and re-edited until I’m happy with the result. Of course, I hope they also satisfy others, but I can only produce products that suit my palate.

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Social Anxiety Revealed has a five-star review that delights me because it shows the book has helped someone. I hope it helps many more. Remember, you can also read the book to discover how to help a friend, family member, colleague or student.

When I ordered this book I didn’t realise it would have the ‘Wow’ factor! I lost count of the amount of times that I thought ‘wow’ when reading the comments from people interviewed and discovering that I am not alone. There are other people who feel and act the way I do. It soon became clear during the reading that the author was offering me a much needed insight into like minded people and although it doesn’t offer a ‘cure’ (possibly the wrong word) it helped tremendously.

Today, I’m talking writing about non-fiction after romance. Or writing non-fiction before romance. Or how writing non-fiction affects writing romance. Or vice-versa. Maybe all of those.

Anyway, I’m delighted to be on the Contemporary Romance Writers blog.

Website

Date

Title

Val Penny

2 August, 2017

Book
Review: The Mill River Recluse

Sue Barnard

10
August, 2017

How I Discovered What I Had

Contemporary Romance Writers

15 August, 2017

From
Romantic Romance to Ordered Disorder

Social Anxiety Revealed is released in just six days: August 22, 2017.

Cover

This post is inspired by this one, called: Top 5 Beliefs of Fearless Writers: How Would Your Writing Change If You Were Fearless?

This is how I need to think about my writing, especially with regard to the non-fiction book that’s going to be published soon: Social Anxiety Revealed.

BELIEF 1: ‘I know that the right people will embrace my work at the right time.’

Not everyone will agree with everything I say. That’s not a problem.

BELIEF 2: ‘It is OK for people to see the true me; the essence that helps others connect to my message, my story, my characters.’

You’re going to see a lot of me in this book. I’ll live with that.

BELIEF 3: ‘I love and accept all aspects of myself.’

Yep.

BELIEF 4: ‘I choose to be the best possible version of me in all that I do and know that I have something of value to share.’

Readers will gain from reading the book. That’s why I wrote it.

BELIEF 5: ‘Success is who I am.’

This book will go far.

~~~

Thank you, Trina J. Stacey. I should live my life by those beliefs, but that’s harder to accomplish.

Do you live by those beliefs, or at least write by them?

Announcement

I think this was the first riddle I ever heard of the type I’m thinking of:

Brothers and sisters have I none, but that man’s father is my father’s son.

Something David (other half) said recently reminded me of that. We were walking through the village of Aldbury at the start of a circular walk in the Chilterns. He said:

I know this place, but I’ve never been here.

Aldbury1The riddle was soon solved. The village was the setting for an episode of The Avengers, a weird crime series from the 1960s. The stories in this series couldn’t possibly have happened in real life, and that’s the charm of it. I’m not totally hooked, but I think I get it.

Aldbury4We looked up Aldbury, of course, and immediately discovered the episode in question: Murdersville, in which all the village residents are involved in regular murders. For this episode, the village was renamed Little Storping in the Swuff and The Greyhound Inn became The Happy Ploughman. This might make me think differently about ploughman’s lunches!

Aldbury2We watched the episode after returning home. As I said: weird. But well done, David, for recognising the village!

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The latest meeting of my writing group involved homemade Sachertorte. Obviously, I had to take photos. Sachertorte… Vienna… The Women Friends: Selina.

HenrysSachertorte1HenrysSachertorte2

A little Sunday sunshine.

There was a Crooked Cat and another Crooked Cat.
They found a crooked painting and yelled a crooked “That!”
They wrote a crooked story and took a crooked look.
And it all came together in a little Crooked book.

CrookedWomenFriendsExcept that it wasn’t as easy as it sounds!

The Women Friends – coming early in 2017.