While I attack the outline for my next novel, here is some wisdom hard-won while writing my previous books.
I’ve recently compiled — through trial, error, failure, and revision — a few notes about writing tactics that can make thriller research and editing go more smoothly.
- Know which blades and gadgets are found on a Swiss Army knife. You’re writing a thriller: Your heroine may need to use one. To insure that you always have a Swiss Army knife handy, make sure your kids join cub scouts and brownies.
- Editing tip: pay attention when spell-checking. MS Word wants to change “Maglite” to “Magritte.” But surrealist art will not help your hero see in the dark.
- If your characters have time for more than two lines of witty banter, the pace is too slow. Fire a missile at them.
- If you put a dog in jeopardy, never ever leave its fate unresolved. Readers will hound you for it. Forever.
- If acting out a fight scene to check for realism, tell the kids before they walk in and find Mom kicking Dad.
- when checking that a drugged victim can escape from a vehicle, look for your neighbors before falling from the car to the driveway.
It’s also important know when to reject suggestions from helpful family members. For example:
Me: I need to edit two scenes with Jo Beckett and Evan Delaney in to one, and decide whose point of view wins out.
The Husband: Sounds like a problem they can solve with hot oil and some wrestling.