Sunday, May 18, 2014


Thank you, Emily Carpenter, for tagging me in this Writing Process blog tour. Emily is a new friend who gets to share the amazing talents of our mutual literary agent, Amy Cloughley, from the Kimberley Cameron Agency. Emily is a writer from Atlanta, an award winning screen writer and can be found at


What am I working on?

As I write this blog, I am taking a break from doing revisions on my second novel, tentatively titled, IN THE PATH OF THE BEAST. It is a little more plot driven than my first novel, THE LIFE WE BURY, which will launch on October 14 of 2014. Both novels are mysteries, although IN THE PATH OF THE BEAST has a thriller element to it.

How does my work differ from others in my genre?

Answering this question is a lot like answering the question of how my child differs from other children. There are many similarities between THE LIFE WE BURY and other books in the genre, which allows me to put my novel on the shelf with other mystery novels. But at the same time it is different in some key ways.

First, my protagonist is a college student. He has no special training and, much like the main character from a Hitchcock film, he is pulled into a situation not fully of his choosing.

Another distinction is the internal plot. in THE LIFE WE BURY I have a strong relationship between my main character and his autistic brother. I feel that this pairing gives the story a bigger heart than one finds in most mysteries.

Why do I write what I do?

I write what I do because I enjoy it. I took up writing for the creative outlet and the fulfillment I found in crafting a good story. I continue to write because it makes me happy. If that ever changes, I will stop writing what I do.

How does my writing process work?

I am a strenuous outliner. I can’t begin writing until I have the plots and subplots down on paper. I know the point of view character for every chapter and I know what information will be fed to the reader when.  I don’t let the outline prevent me from taking a detour or tangent, but if the story veers too far from the outline, I stop and redo the outline so that I know where I’m going.

I write around 5000 words a week, either completing one long chapter or two shorter ones. I save one entire weekend day to edit what I wrote that week before moving on to the next section. During the first draft stage I stay pretty close to that schedule.

When I finish the first draft I revise until I’m happy with it. Then I give it out to a few trusted beta readers, incorporate their ideas. I then send it to my agent and get more editorial suggestions before it goes to the publisher.

That’s it for me.

Next week please read up on the writing process of a pair of talented mystery writers whom I admire.

Mickie Turk, and Pat Dennis.


Mickie Turk has worked independently and commercially in film, photography, and journalism for the past 20 years. She wrote, directed, and produced films—both short and feature-length narratives and documentaries. Her travels to Cuba produced a film on the religion Santeria and Havana Nights, a locally screened shorts film festival. Early educational and employment experiences included adult mental health services and juvenile community corrections. Mickie has written novels, screenplays, and a variety of short stories and memoirs. Most recently, she is a film curator at Edina Film Festival and Vice President of Twin Cities Chapter of Sisters in Crime

Pat Dennis is the award-wining author of Hotdish To Die For -- a collection of six mystery short stories and 18 hotdish recipes.  Pat Dennis authored The Witches of Dorkdom, a middle school novel.   Her numerous short stories and humor have appeared in Hotdish Haiku, Minnesota Monthly, Woman's World, The Minnesota Crime Wave's Resort to Murder, The Minnesota Crime Wave's Silence of the Loons, Once Upon A Crime Anthology, Writes of Spring, Who Died in Here? Pioneer Press, Sun Current, Hartford Journal, Impressions and Anne Frasier's Deadly Treats. Pat is also a stand-up comedian with over 1,000 performances at comedy clubs, Fortune 500 companies, Women's Expo, and special events. She has appeared on the same venue as Lewis Black, Phylis Diller, and David Brenner.