Starting a Novel

In the beginning . . .

is the problem. The problem being how to begin. To outline or not to outline that is the question, whether it is more noble to create a roadmap and follow it through to the final destination at the outline’s end, or freelance and go where imagination (madness) takes you. In other words, take the road less traveled.

I opt, as usual, for madness. I like freelancing, making the story up as I go along. I have mentioned this before as I feel it gives the imagination free reign. I am also lazy and an outline is more work, and the less work the better. But in either case the opening is crucial. It must set the tone, it must draw the reader in to the story. It should introduce blah, blah, blah. Every writer has read all the advice about beginning  a story. And if you have read enough advice you have discovered conflicting ‘rules.’ So lets move on.

Let let me tell you about my new project because it has a bearing on how I start my new novel.

It is a murder mystery set in the spring of 1928 and is a follow up to my soon to be published e-mystery Head on a Grave. That story took place in the Pacific Northwest during November of 1927 when my lead Chet Koski having dispatched of a killer earlier in the year in Silent Murder, is given a vacation by his boss at Paramount Pictures, so he goes to visit his cousin in Centralia, Washington.

While the killer was caught, one person, who may or may not have been involved has proved elusive. Chet who lost his screenwriting job chasing the killer and not returning to work is going to stay in Washington to work on a novel.

That is the background to set up the next novel.

Research is important and during this time there was an artists colony on Hood Canal, which, by the way, is not a canal, but a fjord. It is a long story, feel free to click the link. So Chet, who is a writer, or at least he thinks he is, decides to go the Canal and find the artists who are painters, and blend in with the art colony. So that is the setting.

But we must begin the story with something exciting. Like the body of a dead woman washing ashore on the canal.  The opening paragraph is written in the omniscient point of view.

And then, as in Head on the Grave, I break the rules and change to 1st person as Chet gets out of bed and kills, or tries to, kill a black ant. This leads to a conversation with his actress wife and partner in solving murders, Eveleen.

So what have I accomplished so far. I have let you know I am working on a new novel, let you know a novel is soon to be published and given you a link to another novel, one I like a great deal and hope you read it if you have a Kindle or Kindle app, and given a link to the origin of Hood Canal.

I have done this because I am stuck on what happens next in my novel and was hoping to free up my creativity by writing a blog. That’s my story anyway and I am sticking to it.

And sense it is baseball season here is a link to the below e-novel based on a  true story you can read for 99 cents and help me feed my cat. Thanks for reading my blog.

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How I dropped the bloody knife for Amazon after three days

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The cover on the left was done for my murder mystery about a serial killer murdering sound men in 1927 Hollywood; a killer with the crazed idea that he could prevent sound movies by killing technicians working to bring talking pictures to reality.

The victims were all killed by a knife, all from behind, and without any struggle, as if the killer silently came up behind them. Since the story takes place during the silent era of motion pictures and the killer was silent in his methods, it created, I thought, a clever play on words, not a killer pun, but a good one nonetheless. That is the reason the woman who did the cover put in the knife. I liked the image because it reflected the era and method of the serial killer.

But my opinion does not matter. Amazon’s opinion does, whether I agree of disagree. They did allow the cover, it was there on my Amazon page for a few months and no doubt would still be there except for what I tried to do. When I tried to set up an ad campaign through Amazon Marketing, the campaign was rejected because of the cover. It is their policy not to show images considered threatening, among other things. They can set their rules, it’s their right, but I doubt that censoring the image of the bloody knife is going to lessen the violence in the world.

The content of the book is anything but violent, the murders off-screen as it were, and the descriptions of the crime scenes are not overly descriptive, gory, gruesome, or yucky.

There will be times in our lives, many times, where we are faced with compromises. A smart person knows what battles to fight, and when, and how and why. This is a compromise I can live with. The funny thing is, in reference to the three days, I changed the cover following the rejection and resubmitted. It was rejected again. The change was on my Kindle Direct page where I uploaded the revised cover. But I discovered, thanks to an e-mail from Amazon, that it can take up to 72 hours for the new image to migrate to my public Amazon page. Just when we think we live in a world where things can change in one or two clicks I find we are in the dark ages. Three days!

But the migration is complete, the ad campaign is live, and the world is wonderful.