The Novel: Halfway Through The Polished Redraft

Sounds incredible, but after six and a half weeks of making alterations, I’ve reached the halfway point of the story, a psychological thriller set in Lancashire.  Clearly, I’ve been at this point before – several times, in fact – and anything can happen from here.

One of the difficulties lies in getting the plot just right.  The question of tweaking.  Ruthless editing. As I’ve stated before, toning down an idea doesn’t always help. Life’s full of complexities, of people reacting under pressure and making choices that often bring about unwanted consequences.  No one’s perfect.  Everyone makes mistakes. In thrillers, characters often inadvertently invite some of the danger that follows, often subconsciously. Tweaking to reduce complexity robs the story of its true nature.

The solution, I think, rests in hinting at the unexpected story strands at earlier points in the manuscript, so that when the denouement comes, it appears as the only possible outcome to the mounting dramatic climb.

Complicated.

January will mark my seventh year of blogging at WordPress, so let’s hope 2016 is a good year all round.

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Meanwhile, my two novels are available from Amazon in paperback and e-book.

Check out the reviews for Secrets by Lawrence Estrey.

Newspaper article on author.

EggHead by Lawrence Estrey: Questions And Answers

EggHead reviews

 

 

 

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Losing Work – Every Writer’s Nightmare

I’ve returned to the polishing stage of an edit of a novel – in this case, upping the pace in the middle of the story and bringing out more of the characterisation and scenery.  The writing process always raises the issue of keeping the work secure, as some years ago I spent ages trying to find a piece of writing that had got lost in cyberspace.  I never found it, but I sometimes wonder what I would have thought of the piece in question.  A case of one learns through making mistakes.

The key to back up, I think, lies in folders and creating as many as possible, a folder a day in necessary.  Instead of having a date in the folder name, consider using a relevent word from the story.  For instance, title of novel, “bar scene”. Text files don’t amount to much in terms of storage (unlike images and audios), so one a day does seem a good idea.

The next stage involves the backing up.  I like to save the file in as many formats as possible.  Word Doc.  Web Page, Filtered.  PDF, although this last one doesn’t always work.  I send the various files to three or more email accounts and also back it up on several USB sticks. The process can be tedious, especially when I’m in a hurry, but I think it’s better to take the time to make the work secure than to spend huge amounts of time later on trying to recover a document that has probably gone for ever.

Just a few of my thoughts.

________________________________

Meanwhile, my two novels are available from Amazon in paperback and e-book.

Check out the reviews for Secrets by Lawrence Estrey.

Newspaper article on author.

EggHead by Lawrence Estrey: Questions And Answers

EggHead reviews

Another Week In the Life Of A Writer

Another week has gone by, and mild rain has come, casting more grey across the north London suburb where I live. I haven’t done any more work on my current novel, just waited to hear back from an agent.

However, during the week, I read a first-rate psychological thriller. In the story, a man flees London. The narrator doesn’t state why. Instead, the back story comes in short sections throughout the novel. The present setting – a remote farm in rural France – works well with a sense of rising menace, especially as the two-time frames collide.  The writer has a sensitive style with insight, a refreshing change from other crime novels I’ve read. I don’t want to give away any more.   The book?  Stone Bruises by Simon Beckett.   Read it!

Meanwhile, my debut novel Secrets by Lawrence Estrey is available from Amazon in paperback and e-book.

Check out the reviews for Secrets.

Newspaper article on author.

EggHead by Lawrence Estrey: Questions And Answers

EggHead reviews

 

Back At Work Tomorrow – Relief!

I finally go back tomorrow afternoon and can’t wait.   A busy week lies ahead.  As well as working, I will continue my piano practice (Liszt, Beethoven, Debussy) and language studies. I’m also booked in to provide live piano music at my local library on Saturday afternoon.

I haven’t done any creative writing this summer, other than a brief edit of my current novel.  I hope to get back to that soon.  At the moment, I don’t have any concrete plans for a fourth novel, although I’ve toyed with a few ideas.

Meanwhile, my debut novel Secrets by Lawrence Estrey is available from Amazon in paperback and e-book.

Check out the reviews for Secrets.

Newspaper article on author.

EggHead by Lawrence Estrey: Questions And Answers

EggHead reviews

At That Stage Again – Submitting My Latest Novel

After all the hard work, I’ve reached the final stages of my third novel, a psychological thriller aimed at teenagers and Young Adults.  I’m trying to get together a decent synopsis – i.e. full coverage of the plot in three simple paragraphs.

Following an incident with the police in London, teen concert pianist Gavin (17) travels up to Lancashire to take part in a series of master classes for gifted musicians.  But from the start, he encounters a hostile atmosphere, along with a mysterious girl (LUCY) who seems to know his deepest secrets. 

On his first day on the course, he meets Philippa (17, one of the other musicians, and falls for her, quickly becoming obsessed.  Philippa enjoys stringing Gavin along and springing surprises on him. 

Story Plot Spoiler follows as a result of previous para.

Meanwhile, Gavin witnesses an altercation between the mysterious girl (Lucy) and a powerful businessman from the region.  Aware that he has seen something, Lucy approaches Gavin and makes a number of startling claims, drawing Gavin into danger and confusion…

Clearly is more than three paragraphs. I will need to round this off somehow, but hope the blurb-style synopsis gives enough of the story in a logical manner.

Meanwhile, my debut novel Secrets by Lawrence Estrey is available from Amazon in paperback and e-book. 

Check out the reviews for  Secrets.

Newspaper article on author.

Local musician publishes crime thriller

EggHead by Lawrence Estrey: Questions And Answers

 

Conflict In Fiction: Dialogue

I’m about two-thirds of the way through my latest novel, a psychological thriller aimed at teenager and young adults. 

Following an incident with the police in London, central character Gavin (17) goes to stay in a remote coastal town in Lancashire where he continues his studies.  Early on, he falls for a girl on the course and drifts into trouble with the local kids.  In this section of the novel, Gavin finds it increasingly difficult to cope:

‘Gross,’ Steve called over to him. ‘You’d better clear that up, mate, or I’ll smash your face in.’

‘Leave him alone,’ Philippa called back. ‘He’s ill, can’t you see?’

‘You can shut up too,’ he said to Philippa. 

‘And you,’ he added to me.

The rap stopped.  A tense silence fell.

The hoodie girl glared at me. ‘Hey,’ she yelled. ‘What’re you staring at?’ 

 

Meanwhile, my debut novel Secrets by Lawrence Estrey is available from Amazon in paperback and e-book. 

Check out the reviews for  Secrets.

Newspaper article on author.

Local musician publishes crime thriller

EggHead by Lawrence Estrey: Questions And Answers

Teen Fiction (YA) – A Sample

I’m about halfway through a new novel aimed at teenagers and Young Adults. 

In the story, a group of musicians meet at a Summer School.  The central character (aged 17)  falls for one of the girls on the course (not the one in the writing sample).  Meanwhile, a third girl arrives with a secret regarding a serious crime in her background and her actions during the week of classes bring about danger for all the participants. 

As a trained classical pianist and graduate of Dartington College of Arts, Totnes, Devon, I felt qualified to write the novel.

We reached the car park, paid a quarter of the fair each and got out, walking along the promenade to the Grand Theatre, through the August rain and a hint of mist, the waves crashing in the background, the air tasting of sea salt. The sky looked like a gigantic bruise, all purple, black, yellow and storm like. The wind was bitter, the ground slippery. The pier full of graffiti and rubbish. Small groups of hoodies gathered by the railings with cigarettes and cans of cider, staring when we passed.

‘Freak,’ I heard one of them mutter. 

I must have tensed because I felt Dawn’s hand on my arm. ‘Ignore them,’ she whispered to me.

____________

Genre: Crime, Psychological Thriller

My debut novel Secrets by Lawrence Estrey is available from Amazon in paperback and e-book. 

Check out the reviews for  Secrets.

Newspaper article on author.

Local musician publishes crime thriller

EggHead by Lawrence Estrey: Questions And Answers

Being Followed? Brief Writing Sample

I’m working on a third novel, a psychological thriller aimed at teenagers and Young Adults, and I’m keep to increase the psychological immediacy and chill factor.  The story has two viewpoints – first person narrative told through central character Gavin (17) and third person narrative (Lucy, also 17).  In this point of the novel, Lucy has returned to the place where a fire occurred a decade earlier (an unsolved crime), and she wishes to find the answers but suspects that someone is following her:

She reached the country lane leading back to Lyme House.

Bookstore.  Delicatessen with umbrella-like covering.  The smell of grass and sun. 

Stillness, evoking memories of childhood.  A childhood that had shattered when she moved here.   Recollections of bursting rivers and muddy banks and the smells of pine and bonfires.  Wooded hills.  Wild stretches of heathland. A warm shore.

She stopped suddenly. 

The sense of someone watching again.  Just like yesterday afternoon in the fields.

Village church.   Village green.

Subtle sounds in the lane.

Fifteen minutes to go before she reached the private driveway leading to Lyme House.

She hurried on, glancing over her shoulders each time the sense got stronger.

Silence.

But something still didn’t seem right.

Instinct kicking in. She broke into a sprint.

Danger, danger, danger.

Flames. Smoke. The smoke settling like a fog, pushing its way down her throat and nose, choking her.

Footsteps again. Snapping branches. Like yesterday afternoon.

Movement, obscured by the afternoon sunshine.

A figure standing by a tree, watching her.

The next second, the figure was no longer there and only shafts of sunlight remained, like a silvery mist.

A car appeared then.   

 

Meanwhile, my debut novel Secrets by Lawrence Estrey is available from Amazon in paperback and e-book. 

Check out the reviews for  Secrets.

Newspaper article on author.

Local musician publishes crime thriller

EggHead by Lawrence Estrey: Questions And Answers

A Child’s Perspective: Writing Sample

Still having problems following a recent complicated dental procedure, but have worked solidly on my last novel, a psychological thriller for young adults, most days.  Here the alternative viewpoint character reflects on the events that took place when she was seven:

 

Next, an untidy garden in Devon where they moved to after Cornwall. Branches swaying in

the wind. Autumn leaves covering the ground. Taking her by the hand, Mum led her through clumps of damp earth and sat her by the garden pond to tell her they were moving again. To Dorset, this time.

Without Dad. Mum told her that Dad had decided to live somewhere else but he would always love her.

So she and Mum moved to a middle floor flat in an old three-storey house that stood back from the road overlooking the coast, and she pined for Dad, crying into her pillow night after night, believing that she had sent him away. Too naughty, maybe?

Meanwhile, my debut novel Secrets by Lawrence Estrey is available from Amazon in paperback and e-book.

Check out the reviews for  Secrets.

Newspaper article on author.

Local musician publishes crime thriller

EggHead by Lawrence Estrey: Questions And Answers

 

Bleak Scene Setting

I’m working on a new novel, Silent, a psychological thriller for Young Adults.  In the story, central character Gavin (17) has drifted into trouble in his native South London and his parents have sent him to some special Summer Event held a few miles from a coastal town in the north of the country.  He dislikes the town immediately:

 

I arrived for the classes at the beginning of August, having spent hours jumping on and off buses, tubes and trains. My shoulders and neck were stiff and sore from lugging two heavy bags around, and I wasn’t in the best of the moods. Take the town, for instance. Strong smell. Muggy, sticky weather. Grey: sand, skies, metal monstrosity holding up the pier. Seagulls. Pigeons. Squawking rats with wings. Aggressive creatures, apparently. Great.

 

But it wasn’t just the surroundings. As soon as I stepped off the bus, I got a chilling sense that I’d visited the town before, even though I knew I couldn’t have done.  Everything seemed familiar. Each turning I took. The buildings.  The layout of the town centre. Tourist Information. The shops and cafés and guesthouses. The pier.  Yeah, I’d experienced this sort of thing a lot in the past, and it had always freaked me out. 

Meanwhile, my debut novel Secrets by Lawrence Estrey is available from Amazon in paperback and e-book. 

Check out the reviews for  Secrets.

Newspaper article on author.

Local musician publishes crime thriller

EggHead by Lawrence Estrey: Questions And Answers