An inspiration for novel can come from any minute detail, which won’t leave you alone. Or, as with my novel THE STONE KILLER, it came from a news feed I saw on television quite a few years ago. It was the story of a Middle Eastern country stoning a woman to death because she’d had an affair with another man other than her husband.
Now why that story stuck with me I don’t know, but it did. I was faced with the dilemma of who in this country would actually stone a person to death? Since my villain was going to be a man, I had to decide WHO he was. I created my folder for my villain. In that folder I essentially told his life story in brief paragraphs until I needed to visualize him. To create the image of this man in my head I searched through photographs of celebrities. To me the actor Jeff Daniels, fit the perfect image of my killer. WHAT was wrong with his personality to incite him to be so cruel? I decided to make him a teacher. Not just any teacher, but one who taught creative writing. Of course a WHAT was a result of his choice of a weapon he used to commit his murderer. And that is how I came up with the stones. There were a lot of answers to WHAT questions.

I planned in detail, the murder of his first victim and answered the same questions as to who she was, what did she do, all the pertinent information about her. Those details were spread over the course of the book. But you have to, in a murder story, decide and create your crime first. You have to answer each one of those questions in planning the crime.  I know that this sounds like a lot of work. I’m sure you would like to do like I would, just sit down and write the story. That doesn’t happen without a lot of preplanning. You have to know all the detail. In my file cabinet, I have folders listing the books in the Jonas Black series. In each one of these folders I have detailed the crimes which are going to happen in each novel. I have answers the question of who, what, when, where, why and how. You have to know the motivation behind your crime. My murderer in the STONE KILLER was a severely abused child, which many are, especially serial killer. Ted Bundy was anything but considered normal as a child. He discovered that his grandmother was his mother, and that the person he thought was his mother was actually his 20-year-old sister. And according to details about his childhood, he exhibited abnormal behavior as early as the age of three. So you really have to know your characters down to their favorite color.

One thing I want everyone to understand, writing a novel is one of the toughest jobs you’re ever going to take on. It can be exhausting. But if you take your time, answer all the questions about your characters, storyline, and do a lot of preplanning, you can do it. And like I said before storylines are not set in stone. They can change.

Another thing that is important in writing a novel, is to let the story cook in your brain. That sounds terrible, and the image of a brain in a pot on the stove comes to my mind. But it does have to cook, or gel in your brain. Like in the book I’m working on now, ALL FOR THE LOVE OF HANNAH, I had a lot of trouble with my villain. I changed his history and personality numerous times until I got it just the way I wanted it. I did not like the personality of the character in the short story. In a full length book, it wasn’t going to work. So I kept thinking about it for over two weeks. It even kept me awake at night, until I realize, to achieve his goal, this man had to be good-looking, well-dressed and appeared to be a very kind caring soul. Once I settled on that description of him, everything fell into place. And now the storyline is flowing smoothly. So remember, keep writing, and please watch your grammar and the correct use of words.

Go buy that book I recommended in a post, The Wrong Word Dictionary, and edit, edit, and edit some more.


Have a great weekend, and please stay safe.


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