If Walls Could Talk: Taking an Idea and Making a Story

M.H. Norris

Let’s talk Research and a little contest update

It seems like every time I start a new story I find myself surprised at the struggles I go through in order to even get the project started, much less have anything that resembles a story.

Not only is there research to be done, there’s figuring out the story.

I’ve found it comes in pieces. At least, that’s how Badge City: Notches got started. Pro Se Productions gave me the series bible. From there, it came in pieces.

Deidre is a detective, yes. But what kind of crimes does she investigate? Murder, robbery, vice? The list goes on for a bit. Honestly, I chose murder because into USA Network’s Psych at the time. Because I’d watched SO MANY of those episodes, I was really familiar with the concept.

That didn’t stop me from spending a month researching various things about it. I read articles, website material, and books about the subject. One of my favorites (and one I recommend if you are writing police procedurals) is Police Procedure and Investigation: A Guide For Writers by Lee Lofland. I found it by accident—but I liked it so much I ended up later getting another book of the series (Forensics: a Guide For Writers by D.P. Lyle M.D.).

But before I got to all that research, there was the little issue of having to submit a full synopsis to Pro Se. I think I’ve said it a few times here, but let me say it again, I hate having to write synopses.

Hate it. Hate it. Hate it.

I’ll barely concede there’s value to them. But I feel like they are, at times, constraining—especially in the form that I had to do for Badge City. That would be what they approved. To me, as a new writer, I felt like I couldn’t change what I submitted.

Here’s your fun fact.

That synopsis took me three days to write and it was maybe three pages.

Those who knew me were surprised when they read Notches because I like to call it an adventure into my dark and twisted side.

It involved going back and forth with James and a series of what ifs. I’d say “what if this happens?” Then he’d ask me why, or can I justify it, or how does it affect the story?

And back and forth we went.

Variations of this happened with The Lemon Herberts and “Midnight” as well. Though I’ll admit I didn’t completely know who did it when I started writing The Whole Art of Detection. I think I got several thousand words in and was like, “I really should figure out who did this, shouldn’t I?”

Confessions of a mystery writer.

The Whole Art of Detection was nominated in the 18th Annual Preditors and Editors Reader’s Poll for Best Mystery.

So, I guess I didn’t do but so bad.

You’ve got until the 14th to vote, so if you haven’t please do.

Pretty please.

You can vote here.

And vote for Nicole Petit too. She’s up for Best Fantasy/Science Fiction Novel. Her Anthology After Avalon is up for Best Anthology and Best Artwork. She’s also up for Best Editor, something well deserved.

Best Editor: Nicole Petit

Best Anthology: After Avalon

Best Artwork: After Avalon

Best Science Fiction & Fantasy Novel: The Dragon Lord’s Secretary, by Nicole Petit

Voting is easy. Follow the link, click on the book you’d like to vote for, enter your email address (they won’t spam you), and hit submit. Check your email for a link to click to prove you’re a real human. Then you’re done!

Rabbit trail successfully chased…where was I?

Oh yeah!

This is where I find myself now, for Rosella’s first novel. I have a setting in mind, I have the myth in mind. It’s down to weaving the two, figuring whodunit and whydunit, and maybe having an actual plot in mind.

The Midnight Game lended itself to “Midnight” by its very existence. Others myths, legends, and stories take a bit more creativity t work into a mystery. I think I know where the key lies, now. I just don’t quite know the answer to that question yet.