Ellis Vidler: Prime Target and one writer’s process Sunday, Aug 2 2015 

One thing Auntie M has learned is that there’s no one way to write. Each writer has to learn what works for him or her, and it’s as individual as snowflakes.

Please welcome fellow Sister in Crime, Ellis Vidler, who shares her writing process with readers.

The Way We Write

The writers I know work in all sorts of ways. Some outline in great detail, others just turn on the computer, start typing, and the story comes to them. Only one person of my acquaintance gets out his yellow legal pad and sharpens his pencil, but it works for him.

Me? I have to think about the characters for a good while, get to know them in my head first. Scenes come to me, and bits of the plot, such as a night fire (arson, of course), and then I wonder if anyone dies in it. If I let the story percolate in its own time, it will eventually take shape.

I do a LOT of reworking, which might be avoided with more planning, but so far that hasn’t worked. The eternal questions why and why not keep coming up. Why would she do that? Why wouldn’t she do that?

Maybe that’s plotting in a way, but the scenes are random, only connected through the characters. My characters are why I write. I love them. I have to or nothing else comes to me. I can imagine them in all kinds of situations, bad and good, as long as I care about them. My most recent characters, Madeleine Schier and Charlie Dance, are two of my favorites. I spent many nights dreaming about them.

Pinterest board2

I spend hours online searching for pictures of their faces, their homes, settings for scenes, anything that catches my eye. Most of my “finds” are never used, but I keep them for a long time, just in case.

Now that Pinterest has come to my attention, I have a great place to store the pictures, and they’re easier to see on a board than in my photo files. I keep these boards secret until the book is finished. Then I delete the things I don’t want, add excerpts from the book to some, and make the board public.

For my current book, another McGuire Women Psychics, I started out to write Shallow Grave. I have the character, Niamh, bits of the story, and even the cover. But much of it is based on Niamh’s past. Finally I decided I had to write her mother’s story first, or this one would be all backstory. So this story belongs to Aurelia, most powerful of the McGuire psychics.

It’s set in the North Carolina mountains in 1981 when she’s nineteen. I’ve been thinking about her for a couple of months. As usual, this won’t fit neatly into any genre. It’s about vengeance and murder, justice and injustice, and love. I think it will be suspenseful. I don’t know how long it will be—as long as it takes to tell the story, whatever that is.
DSC02002-001
What I do know is that I’m wrapped up in it, and it’s hard to come out for everyday life. The main male character is Finn Youngblood, a member of a rough, clannish family. Finn plays a mean guitar, and I’m working on a scene in a blues bar, so I’ve been listening to the old blues greats—Muddy Waters, Jimmy Reed, John Lee Hooker—while I imagine the scene. The music helps me find the mood and the atmosphere. This was when cigarettes were in, so I see swirls of smoke wafting through the blue light highlighting the band, breathe in the thick air, smell the sweat and perfume and beer. The crowd is caught up in the music. Aurelia, at table in a dark corner, feels it too, until she senses intense rage. She turns, searching for the source, . . .

I’m still in the euphoric stage, the first third or so where I’m filled with ideas and images and in love with all of it. It’s the middle third that’s a killer. I get depressed, doubt the story’s worth, and don’t know where to go next or what works. But for now, I’ll enjoy the high and keep writing. This is how my writing goes.

PT Full cover2

Ellis lives and writes in the South Carolina Piedmont with her husband and two wonderful dogs. All her stories have some degree of romance and a lot of suspense. Her first two books were traditionally published but now she self-publishes. Haunting Refrain and Time of Death are the two McGuire Women Psychic novels, and Cold Comfort and Prime Target are linked through Maleantes & More, a security firm. She co-wrote The Peeper, a police procedural/suspense novel, with Jim Christopher. Her collection of three short Southern stories, Tea in the Afternoon, is available on Kindle. There’s more about Ellis and her books at http://www.ellisvidler.com

JL Greger: Murder: A New Way to Lose Weight Sunday, Oct 6 2013 

Please welcome medical mystery writer JL Greger has taken time off from writing her series to give Auntie M’s readers some great advice on how to lose weight while dieting~

cover Murder- A New Way to Lose Weight

WRITING IS LIKE DIETING

 

 

 

Doubt me? Let’s look at six pieces of advice for writers and dieters.

 

 

 

1. Set realistic priorities. You are more apt to attain small achievable goals (such as losing a pound a week or writing ten pages per week) than larger goals with artificial deadlines (for example losing fifty pounds before your class reunion or writing a three hundred page novel by Christmas).

 

 

 

2. Don’t procrastinate. Start working on your goals today, by skipping dessert at supper and writing at least one page for your next novel tonight.

 

 

 

3. Control problems and distractions. For writers, the distractions on the Internet are comparable to high fat, sugary foods to dieters. Perhaps this advice to Linda Almquist in the first chapter of Murder: A New Way to Lose Weight will help you sort through your clutter.

 

 

“There are three types of problems. A few problems are like wine; those situations improve if you delay decisions and let them age. Most problems are like waste paper. You can ignore them because they don’t matter. Unfortunately like waste paper, they tend to be messy when they pile up. And some problems are like manure. You must identify them quickly before they stink.”

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Coming Flu Front CV

 

4. Work at it every day. Most successful dieters have changed their lifestyle and eaten less and exercised more for months. If you want to write a novel a year, set aside time to “work on your book” every day.

 

 

 

5. Sweat the small stuff. Little bedtime snacks can undo our good behavior at meals or in the gym. Similarly grammar and spelling errors can ruin a novel with a great plot and characters.

 

 

 

6. Laugh at all those who give advice like this because you know it’s easier to give advice than follow it.

 

Bug&me5 

 

JL Greger traded in being a biology professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison to be a writer who puts tidbits of science into her medical mystery/suspense novels.

 

 

 

In Murder: A New Way to Lose Weight, the protagonist Linda Almquist struggles to lose weight, to fit into a new job where she’s not really wanted, and to help the police discover whether an ambitious young “diet doctor” or a couple of old-timers with buried secrets have the most to gain from the deaths of two women in a medical school. She has to work fast or she may be the next victim.

 

 

 

In Coming Flu, epidemiologist Sara Almquist, Linda’s sister, is trying to stop two killers:  the Philippine flu, which is rapidly wiping out everyone in a walled community in New Mexico, and a drug kingpin determined to break out of the quarantined enclave. Sara (in the third novel in the series, which is due out in November 2013) finds the wrong people from her past follow her to Bolivia when she accepts a public health assignment while Linda stays in Albuquerque and deals with more shenanigans in the medical school.   

 

 

 

The Kindle versions of both medical mysteries are on SALE on Amazon for $2.99 in September.

 

Coming Flu(http://www.amazon.com/Coming-Flu-ebook/dp/B008WDL84O/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1372715303&sr=1-1&keywords=Coming+Flu ) and

 

Murder: A New Way to Lose Weight(http://www.amazon.com/Murder-New-Lose-Weight-ebook/dp/B00DFCC3IM/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1372715439&sr=1-1&keywords=Murder%3A+A+New+Way+to+Lose+Weight).

 

For more, visit http://www.jlgreger.comcast

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lee Lofland

The Graveyard Shift

S L Hollister, author

Welcome to Leeward

Liz Loves Books

The Wonderful World of Reading

The Life of Guppy

the care and feeding of our little fish

dru's book musings

Reading is a wonderful adventure!

JoHanna Massey

"I tramp the perpetual journey." Walt Whitman

MiddleSisterReviews.com

(mid'-l sis'-tǝr) n. the reader's favorite sister

My train of thoughts on...

Smile! Don't look back in anger.

K.R. Morrison, Author

My author site--news and other stuff about books and things

The Wickeds

Wicked Good Mysteries

John Bainbridge Writer

Indie Writer and Publisher

Some Days You Do ...

Writers & Writing, my own & other people's; movies, art, music & the search for a perfect flat white - the bits & pieces of a writing life.

Crimezine

#1 for Crime

Mellotone70Up

John Harvey on Books & Writing - his own & other people 's - Art, Music, Movies, & the elusive search for the perfect Flat White.

A thrilling Murder-Mystery...

...now being made into a radio drama

Past Offences: Classic crime, thrillers and mystery book reviews

The best mystery and crime fiction (up to 1987): Book and movie reviews

Lee Lofland

The Graveyard Shift

S L Hollister, author

Welcome to Leeward

Liz Loves Books

The Wonderful World of Reading

The Life of Guppy

the care and feeding of our little fish

dru's book musings

Reading is a wonderful adventure!

JoHanna Massey

"I tramp the perpetual journey." Walt Whitman

MiddleSisterReviews.com

(mid'-l sis'-tǝr) n. the reader's favorite sister

My train of thoughts on...

Smile! Don't look back in anger.

K.R. Morrison, Author

My author site--news and other stuff about books and things

The Wickeds

Wicked Good Mysteries

John Bainbridge Writer

Indie Writer and Publisher

Some Days You Do ...

Writers & Writing, my own & other people's; movies, art, music & the search for a perfect flat white - the bits & pieces of a writing life.

Crimezine

#1 for Crime

Mellotone70Up

John Harvey on Books & Writing - his own & other people 's - Art, Music, Movies, & the elusive search for the perfect Flat White.

A thrilling Murder-Mystery...

...now being made into a radio drama

Past Offences: Classic crime, thrillers and mystery book reviews

The best mystery and crime fiction (up to 1987): Book and movie reviews