Thanks for stopping by the blog today! I’ve got Susan Muller here talking about writing what you know and research.
First, I’d like to thank Cindy for inviting me to join you today.
I’ve read several books on the craft of writing, and they all start with the same advice. Write what you know. Unfortunately, I don’t seem to know much. Oh, I know plenty of things, they just aren’t that interesting.
At one time, I could recite an extraordinary number of nursery rhymes. I can make a fair flower arrangement and whip up a mouthwatering dressing for Thanksgiving dinner. I can even fold a fitted sheet. Not exactly fodder for breathtaking suspense.
For the last thirty years, I’ve worked as a volunteer at a local hospital. There are plenty of stories there, I just wouldn’t tell them.
That leaves research. When I first started writing, I took classes and read books on self editing and making your prose shine. Later, I moved into learning about police procedures, forensics, and the use of weapons and violence. I hope no one ever checks my computer to see what I’ve been reading about.
Now I have a problem. Many of the ways things are portrayed in movies or on TV aren’t correct. Should I tell the story the way the reader expects or the way most police operate?
Near the beginning of my novel, The Secrets on Forest Bend, Detective Adam Campbell is talking to a man who discovered a dead body. At the time, the man is considered a witness, not a suspect, and Adam is questioning him, not interrogating him.
The man begins to spill all kinds of incriminating information. Any detective worth his salt would let the man keep talking. I entered this story in several contests. Without fail, every judge deducted points because Adam didn’t read the man his Miranda rights immediately. When I changed the story and had Adam read the man his rights, I won two contests and was offered a contract.
In this excerpt from The Secrets on Forest Bend, Adam is questioning Eddy. You tell me, should I have left the reading of his rights until later or put them in where I did? Leave your email address for a chance to win a free download of The Secrets on Forest Bend.
Great excerpt, Susan! Don’t forget to leave a comment and include your email address if you want to be in the draw to win a copy.
Until next time…