– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –
Today I’m on the ‘Die Every Day’ blogtour, organised by Love Books Group Tour.
To promote this book I have a guest post written by its author, but b
About the Author :
I was born and raised in Glasgow but spent my student years in Edinburgh. On summer vacations, I learned plumbing, garden maintenance, and I cut the grass in the Meadows. If I ran the lawnmower over your toes – sorry.
I learned some biochemistry and taught it for a while before I retired to write fiction. I like DIY and I do some aspects of DIY moderately well and other aspects not so well. I live with my wife in Scotland where corrupt academics, mystery, murder and intrigue exists mostly in my mind.
I write the Lambeth Group series of standalone crime/conspiracy thrillers: Deadly Secrets, Everything To Lose, The Black Fox, Toxic Minds, Tabula Rasa and Tears of Fire.
They feature special investigators Zoe and Gavin. More will come in due course.
I enjoy walking in the hills, 60s & 70s music, reading and travel.
A woman is murdered in a Glasgow city hotel room. Police have everything they need to charge a suspect. Caught at the scene, he confessed, and he’s filled with guilt and remorse. With undeniable evidence; the police expect him to plead guilty.
Rumours suggest the man will plead not guilty and tell his story. If he faces trial, the truth will cause international outrage and the government will fall.
Faceless mandarins in corridors of power are determined he will remain silent.
Lambeth Group agent, Zoe Tampsin, is ordered to make him plead guilty. What she discovers will crush her soul and place her next in line to be murdered.
Who is pulling the strings? What secrets are they hiding?
Guest Post :
My tips for writing a trilogy
If you are planning to write a trilogy then here are a couple of things to bear in mind; planning, foreshadowing and keeping track.
When I was young, I read Ian Fleming and more recently, I’ve read a lot of Lee Child. I knew I wanted to write a series when I started writing fiction, but I didn’t initially plan the first three books to be a trilogy. To me the prospect of planning for three seemed too overwhelming.
I’ve read that JK Rowling planned her Harry Potter series for five years before she started to write – so planning is a key. The first draft of my first book ran to 130,000 words and I hadn’t finished the story. I realised it would be too large, so I accepted that it would spill into a sequel. Then, as every writer knows, the characters and the story grow organically, and by the time I’d finished the first book, Deadly Secrets, I knew it would become a trilogy.
A big planning decision at the start is whether each book will be self-contained or must be read in sequence to make sense. It is equally possible to have three books in one, or one book in three volumes. The approach for each one is different and it is important to decide early on which it will be. I decided that my thriller series would be standalone books, but that anyone reading the trilogy would gain the added enjoyment of discovering the trilogy story arcs that bind them together.
Every writer has his or her own style, but for me, I have to have the beginning and the end solidly sketched out so I know where I’m coming from and where I am going. So, the ending in the third book, The Black Fox, was known to me when I was writing the first book. I think that it is essential to have that basic structure, so that you can plan for the end of the third book to bring closure to the trilogy. I think it would be difficult for me to write a good ending to the third book that had not been planned in the first two.
Good planning will establish and distinguish book story arcs and trilogy story arcs. The former will be complete in one book and the latter will complete in the third book. Working these out allows you to interweave them so the trilogy arcs become natural background in the book story arcs. I enjoyed the challenge of finding opportunities to fit a trilogy story arc into a book story arc.
For example, I wanted a trilogy romantic arc for Gavin Shawlens that had history (starting when he was sixteen), but not a simple one. One that has been painful and had a dramatic impact on his life.
SPOILER ALERT! In Bk1 he is reunited with the love of his life, and life is good – then it is under threat. In Bk2, this love is completely lost, which leaves him devastated and suicidal. This trilogy arc is embedded in the Bk2 story arcs and the reader thinks the romantic arc is completed. Then in Bk3, a dramatic twist brings the real conclusion of the trilogy romantic arc.
The next most important aspect for a trilogy, and one I also find enjoyable, is foreshadowing: building in to the first two books the signposts that allude to events that will occur in the third. This is fun because you can lead the reader in one direction and they will guess what is going to happen then twist the story so it goes elsewhere. I love doing that. You can, of course, do that within each book. For a trilogy, it is extra important.
The trick is to make the foreshadowing an invisible part of the book story arc – not an add-on. There is brilliant foreshadowing in JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series; the horcrux is a brilliant example. In the first Star Wars movie, Obi-Wan knew that Vader was Luke’s father, so Obi-Wan’s dialogue reflects that knowledge. That writing was so good that, when it was finally revealed, it felt like confirmation of what was already suspected – that Vader was his father. In my series, the foreshadowing starts in Bk1 in several story arcs.
I think Bk2 in a trilogy is pivotal for the foreshadowing to get serious. I decided the book story arc in my second book Everything to Lose was not simply a waiting platform for Bk3. So, it has its own start, beginning and end. But if you know where you are going to end up in Bk3 then Bk2 is the place to rack up the tension, deepen the mystery. So, Everything to Lose foreshadows the nightmare that is set to run through The Black Fox.
After the book story arcs have been completed, the last couple of chapters in Bk2 develop the trilogy arc, started earlier in the book, and let the reader know exactly what is at stake and what the main protagonists are prepared to pay to get what they want. This racks the tension – and pitches the wit of a single woman against the mighty US military and the CIA.
Writing a trilogy is a large job so it’s essential to keep detailed notes of characters, places, events, injuries, and all the things that describe, interact with or impact on the characters and the story. You are working on three 100,000-piece puzzles at once as opposed to a single 100,000-piece puzzle. The parts have got to fit together perfectly and many of the pieces must fit in all three puzzles. This can be done with a notebook. I started off with a ring-binder folder so I could keep all manner of things in one place.
Now, I use Microsoft OneNote. I have a separate OneNote book for each novel that I write. There are many ways to keep everything together but it is important to keep notes – and keep them up to date –otherwise John A in Bk1 might be rather different to John A in Bk3. You don’t want to have to read through the first two books to find that detail that you need to keep consistent in the third one. Is Zoe’s injury on her left arm or right arm? – can’t remember!
Have a pad and pencil nearby at all times. It is also useful for keeping the timeline so you know what time of the year it is for the characters and you don’t get the weather mixed up, but that’s probably not so much of a problem for books set in UK where snow in the summer is not impossible. In my trilogy, there is a pregnancy that is a trilogy story arc so it was easy to keep track and make sure it didn’t last twelve months.
It’s important to remember that your brain will be working on your trilogy 24/7 so have a pad and pencil nearby at all times. Suddenly your brain will resolve an issue or add a new idea. I always try to have a small notepad and pencil nearby because my brain throws up good ideas, but at odd times. If I don’t jot them down, ten minutes later they are gone forever.
The last occasion I was caught out was when we went to see Barry Humphries’s Farewell Dame Edna Experience at the Kings Theatre in Glasgow. I can’t remember what Barry was talking about but all of a sudden bump-bump-bump I had worked out the sequence of events to conclude a scene. I didn’t have a pencil or paper so I had to detach my listening for the last twenty minutes of the performance and keep refreshing my mind with the new scene. On the way home, my wife thought I’d fallen out with her but I needed to keep refreshing the scene in my head. Pencil and paper – always.
The Magic of Wor(l)ds