First day of February, and the temperature has dipped.   You can feel the chill against your bones, and apparently things will get worse at the weekend.   

Recently, I read through viewpoint sections of Dark Whispers, the first ever novel I wrote (the one I felt just didn’t come alive for me in the way I’d hope), and I can see certain parallels with some of my earlier photo shoots.   When I was editing the shots in Google’s Picasa, I tended to bring out the colors and emphasise contrast – but I can see now that the photographs would probably have benefited from less color/saturation.  I think the idea extends to the writing too, especially in Dark Whispers, that first problematic novel that never seemed to work, no matter what changes I made.   The tone of the writing, I suspect, contained too much “color”, when it needed less. 

I think the choice of subject matter didn’t necessarily help.  The other novel tended to have an otherworldly feel and contained classic whodunnit clichés: the village, the vulnerable (possibly paranoid) wife, rhymes, etc.  When a writer paints a picture like this, s/he often has nowhere else to take the story because the story has a tight but limited focus preventing further plot and character development.  However, when I worked on my debut novel (Secrets by Lawrence Estrey), I ditched about two-thirds of original material and began almost entirely from scratch, resetting it in a different part of the country (no more villages) and concentrating on varying degrees of crime.  Suddenly, I had plenty of places to take the story and ways of broadening the central characters, plus better ideas of how to make sections truly chilling. 

I’m currently working on a new crime thriller set in Manchester and the central characters have already begun to make an impact on me.

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