So, I’m writing up my business plan and one of the headings is; Product and Market. Easy enough. My product is always the same, though consistently different.
It will always be a book, but each book must give the reader a different prospective on something ordinary, something with which they can relate. It must make them experience an emotion; joy, fear, hope; and ultimately bring satisfaction to the reader with how the book (and its conflicts) are resolved. There are diverse ways of accomplishing a good read, as many ways as there are authors, but I will limit myself to the types of book I am familiar with and enjoy. Question is, which one should I tackle first?
I’m focusing on three different genres. For the Mystery genre I have two books written. The first one, An Easy Way Out, written in 2004, is a traditional cozy, but has not yet been professionally edited. The second is the first installment in my Mabel series, A Bother of Bodies, a Murder/Mystery, and it is edited and ready for publishing. I’ve outlined Mabel’s adventures for my second installment and will need to get it finished in the next few months, but while I’m working on it, I should also spend time on one of the following:
A Domestic Thriller. Linwood Barclay writes these. He puts ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances. A typical day in the life of James Bond, international spy, is not going to be the same as a day in the life of Milly Phillips, cocktail waitress. The reason there aren’t any movies about Milly’s life is because it’s pretty boring. Most of the time. But then this one evening, there’s a fight at the club where she works. Hardly unusual. Except while the fight is going on out on the dance floor, Milly witnesses a murder attempt in the men’s washroom. She is persuaded, by both the victim and the assailant, that it would be in her best interest to forget what she saw. Just a disagreement. The victim leaves in a hurry and the would-be murderer calms down. All is forgotten. Until three days later, when the victim is found dead two blocks from the club, and now Milly must decide whether to go to the cops with what she saw that night. But before she reaches a decision, she finds herself watched, followed, and maybe targeted to be the next body found in an alley. Believe Me takes place over a span of only four days but it will be an action-packed four days.
One of the things differentiating a Domestic Thriller from a Murder/Mystery is that the main character is not trying to solve the murder. She is not an amateur sleuth, or a private investigator or a cop. All Milly wants to do is stay alive.
Speculative Fiction for Young Adults (YA). Think Hunger Games and Divergent. Except you’d be wrong. Those are Science Fiction for YA. I’m putting my young characters in a different realm, based on something that happened to me when I was fifteen and damn near drowned in a local swimming hole. As I was going down for the third time (and yes, it is quite peaceful by that time), I felt a hand touch my leg. It was enough to steer me towards the rock wall that enabled me to climb out.
There was a lot of emotion that day; anger at the girl who pushed me in; gratitude to the boy who jumped in after me; and pure relief at being saved (while maintaining a casual exterior… in the 70’s it was imperative to appear cool at all times), but while those emotions faded over the years, the feeling of that disembodied hand when it touched my leg is a sensation that never dulls. I didn’t think, “Oh, thank God, I’m being saved” I thought, “Oh, my God, something is after me.”
And that something has taken Linda. Pushed into Crystal Creek Falls one hot July afternoon, the sixteen-year-old Linda disappears into the dark water and never surfaces. The swimming hole is reportedly bottomless but, of course, that’s teenage legend. The search and rescue team find the bottom of the swimming hole, but they never find Linda.
She is already in the realm that harbours the unfound dead. Those victims of innocent deaths, whom, through no fault of their own, have wound up losing their lives at the hands of others. Until their bodies are found, these lost souls must wait in a realm of uncertainty. A peaceful existence, but restless. Never knowing when or if their bodies will ever be found and they can then continue their journey to…well…wherever. Except Linda wasn’t meant to die that day. She was supposed to be saved. Instead, against all the rules that are law in this realm, she was Culled. And now there’s Hell to pay.
Picture book for children. Can I draw? Nope. But I still have big plans for The Intrepid Chickadee. Why should we talk down to our babies? They’re smart, right from birth. Studies show their little brains are absorbing information at a staggering rate. So instead of starting them out with “See Jack run”, let’s get right into the two or three syllable words. It’s not a brave little Chickadee, it’s an intrepid little Chickadee. It’s not Ms. Peacock smiling at Mr. Turkey, it’s that floozy peahen of a Jezebel flouncing around in an audacious display of vulgarity. (And, yes, I know peahens are really kind of plain. Work with me, here).
Okay, that example might be over the top but you get my drift. Get the little darlings well-spoken before they start texting and lose all ability to form a complete sentence.
and I’ll have to keep moving if I’m going to survive.