How I Keep My Writing Different

As a business woman, I understand how important it is to be able to communicate what is different or special about your product or service. Fiction writing offers a unique challenge in that people want to read something fresh, but still have genre-specific expectations. In mysteries, we want to be challenged, but we expect the case to be solved by the end of story. In romances, we love the drama, but expect the heroine to find happiness in the end. Thrillers are no different. We want to be intrigued, we want action, and we expect the good guys to save the day. So, how, as a writer, how do I keep the story different AND interesting?

1)      I stay in the writing cave.

I haven’t read a book or watched a TV show in thriller/suspense genre since I started writing. I’m as susceptible to influence as anyone else and I try to avoid duplicating plot lines and characters.  I will confess to watching a few “Bourne” movies and “Zero Dark Thirty”.

2)      I talk to myself

I role play the dialogue, imagining what the character sounds like and how he or she is interacting within their environment. I also imagine what the character is thinking vs. what he or she is saying, bringing in non-verbal clues to let the reader know what’s really going on.

3)      I use real people as models

I use people I’ve known through the years as models. For example, Ed Agosti is a combination of two very different men I worked with. One was a gentleman farmer with an authentic Cajun accent while the other was down-to-business real estate executive.

4)      I want my characters to surprise the reader

If you read “Operation Angelica”, you’ll find that I like to change up archetypes. Elizabeth Ashton is a college educated southern belle with a wicked aim. The rough looking Dumont is a caring, sensitive person with a tragic past.  Brandon and Shannon Casey both look perfect, seem to have the perfect life, but their relationship is falling apart.  And Mike Van Dellen is a cool headed gunslinger, until he’s around the woman he loves.

5)      I try to keep it real

I knew nothing about guns or military/police procedures when I started writing “Operation Angelica”.  I read and learned as much as I could. And, again, I would like to publically thank the technical experts (you know who you are) who kindly corrected my errors with laughing. I tried to bring in cool tools and gadgets to the story while avoiding a “James Bond” type of ridiculousness. For example, Van Dellen’s bush plane is real airplane released in 2009.

My biggest hope as writer is that readers will find my stories interesting, thought provoking, and entertaining.

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