The BIG mistake I’ve made writing my new thriller – Diary of a novelist – August 2022

Hello

During my last update in May I’d hoped to get back on track documenting the progress of my latest thriller month by month. Sadly, my health has deteriorated further and I feel so ill and exhausted most of the time I’m not making as much progress as I’d like. I did venture out to the Harper Collins Summer Party. I hadn’t been out for months and although it was tiring it was lovely to briefly catch up some author friends at the gorgeous Victoria & Albert Museum. Unfortunately it took so much energy I made the difficult decision not to go to Theakstons Crime festival at Harrogate this year but have loved seeing everyone’s photos online.

Anyway, I’ve been slowly editing my next thriller, publishing Spring 2023.

I realised when I was reading back the first draft that I made a mistake with this book, that I had thought was in pretty good shape. This story covers two timelines and 6 points of view (honestly not as confusing as it sounds). This meant, more than ever, I had to know my characters and my story inside out. This is where I went wrong. With so many characters reacting to circumstances and each other I needed to know exactly how they were acting both on and off the page and I hadn’t thought it through enough. Characters began behaving, well… out of character, because in-between their chapter points of view I wasn’t entirely clear on what they were doing or how they felt.

The timeline is always my nemesis, this time I needed a mammoth one to include what everyone was doing when they weren’t active in the story. It was worth the extra effort because the story now flows better than it did before. If you’re writing a novel, something isn’t quite right and you can’t put your finger on what I’d recommend you have a think about the ‘off the page’ action because this will impact everything the characters do when they renter the story.

This month I’ve also been writing my new monthly fiction series ‘Confessions’ for My Weekly magazine. Each part sees a client confess something to Stella, a hairdresser. I’ve adored creating Hawlington Cove where I’ve set the story, and the community who live there. I’m learning a lot about constructing short stories and a series and I’ll be talking about how I approach both of those things soon.

For now, wishing you a happy remainder of the summer.

Louise x

Monthly round up

Special offers – ‘All For You’ my latest psychological thrillers is currently 0.99 on kindle and £2.50 on paperback

‘The Family’ is also 99p right now.

Highs – The cover reveal for my forthcoming Amelia Henley book ‘From Now On’

What I’m reading – The New House – Tess Stimson

What I’m watching – Outlaws BBC iPlayer – Stephen Merchant is a genius

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4 thoughts on “The BIG mistake I’ve made writing my new thriller – Diary of a novelist – August 2022

  1. Hello Louise

    Thank you so much for this Fabricating Fiction.

    I’m really sorry to hear your health challenges are dominating your time at the moment. I can’t imagine how frustrating it must be for you.

    I hope you don’t mind me contacting you but something you mentioned here resonated with me. I am indeed trying to write a crime novel (I continually feel like a fraud when I say that but I’m told to punch on through that excruciating feeling!) and I realise I really DO need to hone in on my novel’s timeline. There are several perspectives to flesh out and yes, my characters do kind of appear to be in a bit of suspended animation in between scenes, as it were!

    I wondered if, along your writing journey, you’d come across and could maybe recommend any tools or templates you’ve used to perfect an ‘all-telling non-leaky now-I-see-it’ timeline at all?

    Again I do hope you don’t mind me asking and I realise you may not have the time or energy to respond which I’d totally understand!

    In any case thank you for reading and I wish you a super day/week and continuing improvements in your health Louise.

    Warmest wishes Gillian xx

    • Hello Gillian

      Firstly congratulations on writing a book! That’s wonderful and yes ten books in I still feel like a fraud so sympathies there. I haven’t nailed the timeline yet. My copy editor usually picks up something no matter how careful I think I’m being! What works best for me now I’ve realised is either coloured post it notes (a different colour for each character or timeline) or index cards (and highlighter pens). Then I can write down all the major timeline points I need to and lay them out (on my dining room floor or wall) and then just keep swapping them over until it feels right. You can use a different colour (or highlighter) for those off the page events too. It’s quite a faff and honestly can feel tedious but worth putting the time in and then it’s out the way and your mind can focus on the story. Good luck! X

  2. Looking forward to your next book, I love all your books! Sorry to hear about your health struggles, do you mind me asking what you have? I recently was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and there are days it is hard to get out as well. I am glad you got to attend the event you went to and you look beautiful in the photo above. Take care and rest when needed.

Thanks so much for reading!

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