Friday, 8 February 2008

This Writing Life... : A Time For Crime

You know I do spend a heck of a lot of time griping about Hollywood, but there's more to me than just cranking.

I'm also a writer. I've written about a half dozen or more screenplays (unproduced) and I'm currently fishing for an agent for the two novels I've written.

The novels that I've written so far were science fiction/fantasy with dashes of political satire, and lots of action. (I love to pile on the action)

I've also written short fiction. I've had some of my fantasy-adventure fiction published in webzines, now sadly defunct.

But lately I've been dabbling in crime.... fiction that is.

I recently had a short crime story published by Out of the Gutter, a purposely low-brow publication run by an editor who has good taste in writers (he picked me) even if he's a Ron Paul supporter.

The main character of that short story "The Death of Suzie Sunshine" was a particularly hard fellow, an ex-IRA man turned freelance mercenary named Fitz. Well, Fitz just kept popping up, demanding that I write about him again. I wrote another short story, which I'm shopping around, and now he's popped up as a co-lead in a thriller I'm developing about mercenaries, blood diamonds, and sinister conspiracies.

But I'm taking a break from that for a while.

I recently stumbled upon a contest offering a $1000 prize for a whodunnit mystery novella done in the classical style of Rex Stout or Agatha Christie.

I had never tried that genre before, and the challenge intrigued me. So I decided to give it a shot. I had a pretty good concept for my detective, one that I hadn't seen before, and a tricky old-fashioned "locked room" mystery for him to solve. So I dove right in.

It was a hell of a lot of work. My admiration for Agatha Christie and Rex Stout shot up 10 fold. But it was also fun trying to be a clever bastard, and I think it's shaping up pretty well.

I finished a first draft at the beginning of December and let it rest for a while before I started a second draft. I picked it up this week and started doing the rewrites, and it started to shape up even better.

No glaring plot holes, or anachronisms, (except for the deliberate one I inserted about the invention of alkaline batteries for the purpose of the plot) and the characters were consistent in their behaviour and sharply defined.

I'm going to give a few more passes, sharpen up the humour, and make sure that I'm not completely screwing up, and then ship it in to the contest.

Wish me luck.



  1. Your blog has the required amount of humour and the right touch of the well informed. Though I do believe many of your petitions for positions in the land of the deluded are somewhat akin to screaming into a hurricane. Finally, I admire your tenacity and wish victory -and a butt load of money- on this mystery tour!

  2. Thanks for the good wishes.

    I think my petitions are most logical, the Hollywood insiders are wrecking their own industry, so I think they should go for a total and complete outsider.

  3. Wow. Even if this doesn't win I still want to read it when it's done.