Almost six months after we began, I’m happy to announce the publication of a book I wish I’d had when I started to write, MAKING STORY: TWENTY-ONE WRITERS ON HOW THEY PLOT.
The title tells you most of what you need to know. Twenty-one crime writers join together to spill the dirty little secrets of how they plot their books. (Writers of any kind of fiction will find the book useful.)
Reading the essays was pretty dazzling for me. With God only knows how many books behind me (counting those published under other names and those that, perhaps mercifully, weren’t published at all), I still learned something from every single piece in the book. There may be only three basic ways to plot a book — plotting, pantsing, or a combination of the two — but there’s a nearly infinite number of variations on those themes.
The writers who tell all in the book have, among them, written more than 100 novels and won virtually every prize in crime fiction. Here’s who they are: Michael Stanley, Kelli Stanley, Yrsa Sigurdardottir, Jeffrey Siger, Zoe Sharp, Stephen Jay Schwartz, Mike Orenduff, Debbi Mack, Wendy Hornsby, Gar Anthony Haywood, Leighton Gage, Jeremy Duns, Bill Crider, Meredith Cole, Jeffrey Cohen, Rebecca Cantrell, Rachel Brady, Lisa Brackmann, Cara Black, Brett Battles, and me (I?).
The form of the book is interesting, I think. Each writer’s essay is followed by an excerpt from a recent book so readers can go straight from the process to the product. At the end of the book is a round-table discussion in which most of the writers weigh in on questions that were asked by the book’s beta readers. It’s impossible, literally, for me to imagine any writer reading the entire book without coming away with ideas and insights on how we transform material into stories.
And I want to give a particular shout-out to Everett Kaser, who proofed this until his eyes fell out, and to Hitch, Barb, Leonard, and all the other folks at Booknook.biz who turned the word files into such an elegant ebook.
Oh, yeah. At this point it’s Kindle only, although other editions will follow of this one sparks any interest. It’s only $3.99, and you can find it at http://amzn.to/OmB1zO
I’m proud to have been a part of it. And we’re envisioning an ongoing TWENTY-ONE WRITERS PROJECT that will put out books on various aspects of writing. Next up, I think is creating characters.