I went to the Dark Mofo festival last Friday night. Festivals aren’t really something I attend, but Dark Mofo is different. Not only does it get me out of the house and mingling with other people, but it holds the weird and wonderful at its core. I always love the light displays that are part of the event, and this year’s main installation of lasers didn’t disappoint.
Dark Mofo also gave me a perfect setting for a crime. As hubby and I wandered towards the lasers in Dark Park, I couldn’t help but think what a perfect setting the waterfront and streets would make. There were hundreds of people milling around, most of the looking at the many art displays in windows and on the sides of buildings. A distraction or someone in the shadows, a quick action, and… hmm. Could I take a story idea and set it here? Loads of potential.
Somewhere else that recently gave me inspiration were the forests in southern Tasmania. Hubby and I did a walk amongst the trees and I found the ideas flowing. The trees and undergrowth combined to make a perfect place for a hide and seek—someone escaping and trying to hide in the bush, perhaps? How would you cover your tracks? Where would you hide? Why that place? Possibly not what most people would think of when on a bush walk.
A well-known writer (I can’t remember who) once said that a writer is either writing, or thinking of writing. That’s not true for me, but my writing has changed the way I view the world around me. I see and hear ideas everywhere. It’s both inspiring and frustrating—there’s only so many stories I can work on at once! I’ll tuck the ideas away and maybe one day it will be their turn to be told.
On a different topic, I’ve had the results of the x-ray on my left hand. There was a tiny amount of wear and tear, but nothing out of the ordinary. Good news, as is my doctor agreeing that it’s unlikely my writing is causing the pain I get in my hand (YES!). Back to the keyboard I go—I have stories to write!
The start of any new project means doing research. For this story that means diving into the world of private investigators once again.
One of the many things a private investigator can do is assist a legal defence lawyer with case preparation. While reading up on this (Idiot’s Guide to Private Investigation—what else would I use?) I came across the discovery box.
Before I continue, please remember this is US directed research.
Discovery is the process by which the prosecution, and to a degree the defence, exchange information about a case. Discovery is usually dealt with at the arraignment and the discovery box, or package, comprises the evidence to be used by the prosecution during the case.
A typical discovery box can include:
Evidence that may assist the defendant’s case must also be turned over by the prosecution—they cannot hide or withhold it. This kind of evidence is called exculpatory evidence.
There is evidence that the defence must give to the prosecutor. The prosecutor is to be notified of any alibi the defendant will use, and details of any people corroborating the alibi.
Private investigators can go through the evidence, revisit crime scenes, look for and interview witnesses the police may not have, and view the physical forensic evidence. A good PI with a background in criminal investigation can be a valuable asset in a criminal defence case. The prosecution must prove guilt beyond reasonable doubt, and PI’s are often asked to discover whether someone else could have committed the crime. If doubt can be thrown on the guilt of the accused, then they have a good chance of being acquitted. The items in the discovery box can give the PI clues and leads to follow that may prove crucial to proving innocent, or confirming guilt.
I think it sounds fascinating—sifting through evidence, looking for things that may have been overlooked. I’m going to have fun working out what is in the discovery box my PI character will be given!
One thing that worries me from time to time is how many books I still have waiting to be written. It’s not a complaint—I’m lucky to have such a fertile imagination that allows for a never-ending stream of stories. My worry is that the stream will never stop and some stories won’t get written. I don’t let it bother me for long, instead I get writing!
In the spirit of sharing more stories, I am now in a position to send the next manuscript to my wonderful beta readers for their feedback. Yes, there’s another book on its way! This one will be the fourth of the White Rose books, and while the title is pretty much set, I won’t be revealing it yet.
Tick, another story done bar final tweaks.
That then brought me to a dilemma. I have no less than three books I want to write next, but three at once isn’t a good idea. Can you imagine it? Three plots getting tangled, characters appearing in the wrong story, and the whole thing ending up a huge mess! In typical me style I decided on a story that had to be next and then promptly changed my mind. I think it helped that the one I changed to was already partially written—it gives me a direction to head towards.
Research has begun and plotlines are suggesting themselves, so it's all go here.
I hope your lives are moving in the direction you want, too.
I don’t often struggle to find something to write about when it comes to blog posts. A few minutes of thought usually brings a topic to mind and then I’m off and writing.
This week is different. I’ve thought for a few days about what I might say in this post and while quite a few ideas came to mind, none of them fired any real interest in me. Sure I could have written about them anyway, but that’s not why I write. If there’s no spark of real interest then I don’t write about it.
I firmly believe that if I’m a bit ho-hum about what I write, then that will reflect in the writing. If I can’t feel it, then how can I write it? I can only guess that most of you are nodding in agreement. Humans are generally emotive creatures, so why would someone do something like write a full-length novel if the subject matter doesn’t fire enthusiasm? For the money. There are authors who will study what’s hot in the best selling genres and write to suit. They may be quite successful—I don’t know. Quite frankly, I don’t care either.
I started writing because a story burned and burned in me, and I kept adding to it so that it grew too large to contain. And I kept writing and adding to it because the passion, the fire I feel for the stories and the characters continues to burn in my soul. Beth and Warren, Nell and James, Sam and Heather, Aden and Sarah, Andrew and Tait, Nick, Agent Burns, Ryan, Tom, and others that are waiting for their stories to be told—these people, these characters, live in my imagination and feed it with their stories. It’s a blessing I never cease to be thankful for. It’s my passion.
Why would I ignore them and write how others think I should?
I made a decision fairly early on in my writing that I would not care about the number of books I sold, or gathering reviews, or marketing the heck out of my stories—I would write what I wanted, when I wanted, and how I wanted. I would choose what I wanted on the covers of my books, regardless of what experts might say, and I would be true to my passion.
I have occasionally stopped and wondered how different things might be if I had listened to all of the advice, followed the thousands of other indie authors with pushing their books, writing the way others thing I should, and the kinds of things others think I should (Write hot sex scenes? Not happening). Okay, I may have made more money, but would I have felt the same satisfaction and joy I do having done things my way? I doubt it. Actually, no, I wouldn’t. I would be miserable, and the characters I love would have been forced into a mould that doesn’t suit them.
I take my hat off to the many writers who have been able to write as they wish and be successful (as defined in the publishing world). Good on them, and I hope they continue to succeed! But I promise you one thing. What you get from me will be honest, and written with passion and joy.
And I hope you will also find your passion if you haven’t already. Make the most of it, be true to it, and enjoy!
What's it about?
It's about words and my life as a writer. There are also tips for those starting their writing journey, with a focus on self-publishing, and encouragement all round.