I suppose every writer, no matter whether a million-seller or working on the first manuscript, has his/her theories about the “rules” of the game. And, I’m betting, each of them has given thought to writing a “How-To” book—if not in the near future, then somewhere down the line.
Well, I did, and I did. I call it Randy’s Boot Camp for Fiction Writers. Please understand that it carries no promises of a NY Times bestseller. In case you’re wondering, no “How-To” writer can cause that to occur. So, if you see such a promise, RUN, DON’T WALK in the opposite direction. No, my book cashes in on my thirty-years of chasing around the edge of this business. I came into writing fiction as naïve as any writer ever has. But, after the first few rejections, I realized it was time to learn, no, make that LEARN. Thus, I set out to do exactly that.
My first move was to take several months off and read every first-person mystery I could lay my hands on. Fortunately, I lived near a large library in Dallas. The librarians soon grew used to my pestering them for another recommendation. When their inventory was exhausted, it was inter-library loans. They thought I was nuts while I knew they were wonderful.
Why first-person, you might be thinking. Because I had LEARNED enough to know I had no control over that monster called Point of View (POV). A friend was kind enough to not only point out how inept I was but to recommend first-person.
As an Army officer in a previous life, I had adopted the adage of “learn from the experts.” That was my goal as I poured through the mountain of books. I don’t know how many there were, but I reached a point where I was ready to try writing again. Thus was born the Ace Edwards series featuring a PI in Dallas who took on cases in small towns in Texas. Six books later, I was still learning.
I was also attending writing conferences and listening to agents, editors, and other writers. Once I move into learning mode, I become a sponge, soaking up every opinion I can.
During those six books, I moved from Dallas to South Florida and realized I needed to change my protagonist. Tom Jeffries came along as a much harder-case PI than Ace had ever considered being, followed by Beth Bowman, a PI in Coral Lakes, Florida. I’m still writing Beth and recently published the fourth in her series.
I write all of the above to simply establish that I have accumulated numerous lumps as I’ve learned this business. Not to say I’m an expert, but I have absorbed a ton of information. And I’ve captured much of it in Randy’s Boot Camp for Writing Fiction. It’s available from Amazon in hard copy and ebook. Give it a look-see.
Buy link: https://amzn.to/2GLGErR