CaitlynJamisonMysteries and thoughts along the way
Saturday, March 11, 2023
Wednesday, March 8, 2023
The characters are in charge
My next book features Autumn Whitcomb and Yuri Rachinskij, two characters developed by participants after two author presentations at two Upstate New York rural libraries. One library's patrons developed a female, the other a male. When their bios were developed by the patrons I realized these two characters could work well in a story. I've been working on this in fits and starts until recently when Autumn tapped me on the shoulder (kind of like that editor on your shoulder) and told me I needed to spend more time developing her back story. I was rushing the story too much without letting the reader know about her personality. The same was true of Yuri. At the start of the story he's the head archivist of the Ukrainian Archives. The country is under attack and the archives have undertaken a major digitization project to save the country's history and culture before it is destroyed. Listening to Autumn, I'm now back at the beginning of the story making tweaks to the text to follow her advice. That's the life of a writer - the characters are in charge.
Sunday, November 6, 2022
Tuesday, October 25, 2022
Hybrid it Is
Tuesday, August 30, 2022
Deja Vu - An Unexpected Death to Imminent Danger
A question every author has to ask when starting a project is: What is this story about? That question has to be asked throughout the writing, because when the plot and characters are developed, the story will change. Revisting the story I started in 2019 (see earlier blog), I asked the question, and couldn't come up with a good answer. I had so many feelings going through my mind. Thoughts and emotions of what we had gone through the last two years. There were too many issues I wanted to touch on and plant the seed for readers to think about. I continued to ask the question: What is this story about? I boiled it down to the root issue. In doing that I felt the similarity of my feelings in 2008 when I started writing An Unexpected Death. At that time I was frustrated and angry over what was happening in our country. People were losing their jobs, and then losing their homes. And those responsible were not being held responsible. I had to release this anger, and through genealogy I'd learned that writing helps you make sense of things. And that's when I started writing. As I honed in on the root problem of the last two years, it was a similar feeling I had in 2008. Write about it, work out the frustration and anger, and plant seeds for readers to think about.
Wednesday, August 24, 2022
I've been working on my "Make a Scene" presentation for the Rappahannock Writers' Conference 2022 that will be held in-person and virtual on Saturday, November 5, 2022. Scenes are the building blocks of a book and have a beginning, middle, and end. Think of a three-act play or even your daily life. Mornings set the action of your day, middle of the day is when you perform those actions, and at night you are wrapping things up. Every scene has to contain new information. Tension is needed in every genre, though it varies by the genre. In the book, "Plot and Structure," by James Scott Bell, he includes an intensity scale for rating the scenes between 0 and 10. I love this idea and have included it in my presentation, giving Mr. Bell full credit. Mr. Bell states that scenes rated as 0 should probably be discarded, and those rated 10 should be few. Ten, he says, is over the top. Tension can be added through dialogue, description, and narrative. Tension is built through conflict. As in any book, pacing is critical. An author has to pace their scenes in lenght throughout the book. Too many short tension scenes will tire the reader. You want to keep the reader turning the pages. In my book, Fatal Dose, the tension rises when Caitlyn learns that illegal drugs are being shipped from New York City to Buffalo through central New York. Knowing how many lives are lost by using these drugs, she takes on the drug lord in charge of the shipments. And the tension rises.
Friday, August 19, 2022
Deciding on a book's setting
A reader asked why I chose the Adirondacks for my latest book, "Deadly Secrets." A great question as it prompted discussion on all my books. I explained that setting can be character, and that I chose settings that I can be passionate about. It boils down to my passion about being near water, and in rural settings. When my Virginia neighbors wanted me to bring Caitlyn's investigation to a Virginia setting, I couldn't get excited about the setting being in the middle of the state, even though every part of Virigina is stunning. Then I thought of the Northern Neck and the Chesapeake Bay. That's where "The Death of Cassie White" is set. "Deadly Secrets," my latest book will make everyone happy. Caitlyn, the protagonist, falls into an investigation in the town of Pont-Aven, New York that is situated on the shores of Lake Champlain. Her partner and mirror character, Ethan Ewing has started his new job with the FBI. He is challenged with a cybercrime case that begins with a stolen artifact from the Library of Congress Packard Campus in Culpeper, Virginia. Another passion is genealogy, and in "Fatal Dose, I wove in a genealogy subplot along with the water theme. And then there is wine. I seem to feature wineries in my books. And, books can be read anywhere.
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