Friday, April 3, 2015

F.M. Meredith (aka Marilyn Meredith) Guest Blogger

My Writing Process
Marilyn with Billie Johnson

One thing I’ve learned over the years is that authors all have their own writing process—and this is how I do it. To be perfectly honest, though, mine has changed a bit over the years.

I’ve never been one to outline or plan ahead what each chapter will be. When I was writing historical sagas (only two) I did a lot of research as far as an historical timeline so the fictional events would coincide appropriately. For this, I kept 3X5 cards with pertinent information.

As far as 3X5 cards, I still have a set for each of my series with information about the ongoing main characters such as physical attributes and cars they drive. I haven’t really kept them up-to-date, nor do I refer to them as often as I should.

Violent Departures
Because I’m writing two series, which means two books a year, I’ve streamlined my process.

For each book, I have a spiral notebook where I write down the new characters I’m going to introduce like the person who is going to die, who might have wanted that person dead and why (usually for three or more suspects), the way the person will be killed, and any other facts that I want to weave into the story.

In this notebook, I keep track of the days things happen. In most of my mysteries, time moves quickly.

When I have a pretty good idea of where the story is headed, I try to begin with a catchy or at least intriguing first sentence. And then I just start writing. I usually end each chapter with a cliff-hanger—sometimes in the middle of a scene. 

As new ideas pop in my head—and they do often—I jot them down in the notebook.

I do my writing directly to the computer in most cases, but if I’m out of town I might write in longhand in that same notebook.

Some brainstorming I do on trips with my husband, while he’s driving.

I try to write at least five days a week, always in the morning when my brain is freshest. Sometimes I get distracted by other jobs—such as writing a blog post such as this one.

Every chapter is read to the critique group that I’ve belonged to for many, many years. I pay attention to everything that is said though I don’t always do exactly what they’ve suggested, but usually I’ll make some change.

Once they’ve heard everything, I go over the manuscript again looking for typos, awkward phrases, dialogue that doesn’t sound right, and inconsistencies. I have an editor I like to use who is good at catching inconsistencies I missed. Once I’ve addressed her suggestions, I send the corrected manuscript onto my publisher.

When she sends the proof back to me, I go over it carefully, looking for typos etc. again. It’s always shocking how many I find.

While all this is going on, I’m busy planning my promotion for the book, and writing the other series.

F. M. Meredith aka Marilyn Meredith

Violent Departures:
College student, Veronica Randall, disappears from her car in her own driveway, everyone in the Rocky Bluff P.D. is looking for her. Detective Milligan and family move into a house that may be haunted. Officer Butler is assigned to train a new hire and faces several major challenges.

F.M. Meredith, also known as Marilyn Meredith, is the author of over thirty published novels. Marilyn is a member of three chapters of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and on the board of the Public Safety Writers of America. Besides having family members in law enforcement, she lived in a town much like Rocky Bluff with many police families as neighbors.

Because it has been popular on my other blog tours, once again I’m offering the chance for the person who comments on the most blog posts during this tour to have a character named for him or her in the next Rocky Bluff P.D. mystery.

Or if that doesn’t appeal, the person may choose one of the earlier books in the series—either a print book or Kindle copy.


Purchase Violent Departures

Tomorrow I’m visiting and I wrote about the research I do.