(Haven’t done these for a while, but I enjoyed doing them and I thought with all the new followers, it’s a director’s cut/commentary deal here, mucho meta on writing and such, so disregard if that’s not your thing)
The latest book PROJECT BASTARD, came about through a number of different avenues, one of which was the desire to write a crime novel. I have a deep passion for the genre, so much so, that the thought of even attempting it used to paralyse me with dread. I can’t do Don Winslow, Elmore Leonard and yet after a bit of thinking, I thought why not?
Another route to this was Shawn Coyne’s The Story Grid, which was a revelation for me in terms of how I thought about the structure of a story. Mostly, it educated me about genre which led me back to the stalwart text for me on story structure, Robert McKee’s STORY and realising that, so long as I hit the beats, then I would produce something that held the conventions whilst still being something in my ‘voice.’ so to speak.
A further route was an article in Private Eye, where the ex-girlfriend of a serving police officer took legal action against him after his colleagues stopped her in her car on at least 80 occasions. I could not find the article, but it struck me as an interesting idea. Most horrible things do, though which is part of being a writer, but I live with that. Oftentimes it’s two or more horrible ideas have a baby and then it starts crawling around the skull playpen, demanding to be picked up and fed.
Totally could have said breastfed but I don’t want to make you sick, plus the nipple bars would make it messy.
So, the initial inspiration rarely survives my vetting process, and a lot of it is simply down to how I am feeling when I put the pencil to the page. I say that, as my exploratory draft is always done longhand. I like Staedtler HB pencils and A4 lined pads, and it’s easier for me to do that so that when I type it up, I edit as I go then but that’s also after I take a lengthy break in order to remove that attachment in order to really drill down and be ruthless in editing.
In terms of research, I don’t necessarily go for verisimilitude but I do like to hint at it. Research sometimes lends itself to thick wedges of exposition, which screams ‘look I know stuff’ but slows it down. The story is the boss, and if a fact derails it, then the fact goes by the wayside. It’s important to remember that, even though it’s human beings in an actual setting, it’s still made up, as in not real in the slightest.
So, with this one, I’m 166 pages in, two pages a day as well as some sessions when I have been inspired to do so, but mostly it’s the first thing I do during the day so that no matter what, I’ve attended to my purpose.
(Please give feedback, ask questions in the comments below)