My Stages of Writing Preparation

As I’m in the process of writing Pickled Petunia, book 3 of my Motts Cold Case Mystery Series. I thought I’d share the stages of writing prep that I go through with most of my novels.

  1. Make a to-do list. Seems redundant, but I work best with lists. It’s a bit of a life-hack for me, as someone who is autistic and deals with executive dysfunction.
  2. Add a new section to my book series Pinterest Board.
  3. Create both a TV/Movie and music playlist. For my cosy mysteries, I watch a lot of shows like Rosemary & Thyme and Ms Fisher.
  4. Come up with a title.
  5. Read any prior books in the series.
  6. Outline + fill out my book bible.
  7. Do any research.
  8. Names for all the new characters being introduced.
  9. Update the corkboard over my desk with book inspiration. For Motts, it’s an image of Elliot Page and photo of a village in Cornwall similar to the one in the book.
  10. Pick the notebook I’m going to write in. I tend to write in a notebook then type up what I’ve written the following do. It’s almost like sneaking in an extra edit.

Those aren’t necessarily in order. Some of them happen concurrently, particularly when I’m on #6.

2020 in Review

In 2019, I decided my word for 2020 would be balance.

And about March 2020 went….

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I thought it might be fun to do a review of what I’d hoped to accomplish this year.

What did I hope to write/accomplish in 2020?

  • Motts book 2 and 3
  • Podcast book 1 and 2
  • Patreon

Where am I at in December 2020?

  • Said goodbye to Patreon
  • Finished three novels instead of four
  • Started a cozy mystery group

Over all? Given we dove headfirst into a global pandemic this year?

Not bad. Better than I imagined.

How about 2021? What do I hope to achieve next year?

  • Motts book 3 and 4
  • Podcast book 3 and maybe 4
  • Start book one of a super secret project

How about you? How did you manage in 2020? And what are you hoping to do next year?

The theatre, the theatre…

what’s happened to the theatre?

Bonus points if you know what movie that quote is from.

In Cosplay Killer, Dannel and Osian love the theatre scene. I thought I’d share some of their favourite places.

  1. Drury Lane (Theatre Royal), the oldest London theatre still in use. Dannel believes there’s an energy to the place that transfers to performances.
  2. The Theatre Cafe, a coffee shop not far from their flat that has live performances.
  3. Apollo Victoria Theatre
  4. The West End, in general, with all of the museums and shops, etc.
  5. The Old Vic

What helps you breathe?

Given the way this year has gone, I’ve struggled to find things to help me relax. In the past few months, I’ve found a section of YouTube that fits the bill. It’s basically a kind of ASMR, I think. Japanese day in the life vloggers.

I don’t know if it’s the beautiful visuals, the calm music, or the content itself. But I find them the perfect way to relieve stress.

Here’s five of my favourites.

Rhea Y. – https://youtu.be/ONejiV8Ekgk

Nami – https://youtu.be/H9TT2m1WIIA

N Rizki – https://youtu.be/QucQXd40xkw

Miku – https://youtu.be/As-kOAizSos

Lou C. – https://youtu.be/Ptr3zPsmx90

Musical Theatre Faves

My two main characters in Cosplay Killer are obsessed with musical theatre. Here are ten of their favourite shows.

1. Hamilton

2. Six: The Musical

3. In The Heights

4. Wicked

5. Only Fools and Horses

6. Matilda

7. Jesus Chris Superstar

8. Little Shop of Horrors

9. School of Rock

10. Rent

What’s your writing kryptonite?

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I think every author has a kryptonite. An aspect of writing that is difficult for them. Or, at least, I DEFINITELY do.

I thought I’d share my kryptonite with you.

  1. Editing, in general. We hates it, precious. I mean, I love my editor (love you Liv!) but I hate editing.
  2. Commas.
  3. Commas.
  4. Commas.
  5. Forgetting a word and changing an entire paragraph to compensate so I can use another one.

What about you? What’s your kryptonite?

Character Exploration

What secondary characters do I wish I could explore?

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(Me to my muse.)

This is a dangerous topic to discuss. My muse has a habit of running away with me when I’m supposed to be focus on a specific story. But, I thought it would be fun to talk about the various secondary characters in all of my books that I wish I could’ve explored further or written something for.

I picked just three either individuals or couples. There were a few others but if I give my muse too much temptation, I might get myself into trouble.

1. Silus/Zeb

The first one who came to mind was Silus and Zeb from The Sin Bin. Remi’s cousin and Scottie’s little brother who develop a romance in The Lion Tamer. I’ve always wanted to write their romance, but things just didn’t work out there. Maybe one day.

2. Jesse

The second person who came to mind was Jesse from Found You.

Here’s the intro you get to Jesse in the book:

Jesse had lived in Key West for almost twenty-three years. He’d arrived on Dusk’s seventh birthday, having drifted ashore in a banged-up life raft, looking like a cross between Santa Claus and a starved pirate. The man had claimed to have no memory of where or when his boat had sunk or what his last name was. No one knew his true age or name, though he appeared now to be in his late sixties. A jack of all trades who had done stayed on the island, doing odd jobs to make ends meet.

I have ALWAYS wanted to delve deeply into the mysterious past of Jesse and what led up to him getting shipwrecked in Key West. Maybe one day.

3. Remi/Sara

A couple we see in The Sin Bin books. I’ve written a flash fiction for them at one point. But I think it would be brilliant to dip into their backgrounds. Remi and Sara both have some interesting family dramas to cope with. We only get the slightly hint about them in the series and again in Forged in Flood.

Honorable Mentions: Ahmed from The Misguided Confession, Dr. Gen from The Caretaker, and Bishan’s siblings in The Grasmere Trilogy.