Sunday, April 25, 2010

Auction Action at Malice and How We Wrote Our Progressive Story


Yesterday I finished the scrapbook page above, which will be auctioned off at Malice Domestic this coming weekend. It was truly a labor of love! To read more about it, go to my blog.

I'm also hosting a table, and the kind folks at Spotted Canary gave me the cutest bags to give away as table favors. They are simply adorable!

In my session on Sunday, I'll give away a cute tee shirt. Betty Hechtman and I will also make appearances in the hospitality room. I hope to give away candy and bookmarks. I've been adding ribbons to my newest bookmarks, which are purple to match my book cover.

Yes, it's a busy time! When a book first comes out, you have a nice window of six to eight weeks where it feels like every second counts.


Once we decided this was something we wanted to do, we noodled around different ideas. The emails flew back and forth. With so many creative minds at work, we had plenty of ways to commit a crafty murder. We discussed exactly whom we should kill. That was pretty easy. But the killer? Well, we didn't want to be too obvious or too trite, so that was a bit more dicey.

We started with a premise, a simple "who does what to whom, and where, and how and why." Monica had a great idea for how to do someone in. Then Terri Thayer got us started with a wonderful introduction. We each contributed a portion starring our protagonists. We quickly noticed a problem: We write in different POVs or Points of View. That stumped us. We didn't want the piece to seem choppy. So we had to figure out how that could work.

That took a bit of doing.

If we all changed to a single POV, we worried that we'd lose the "voice" of our individual characters. And that was the goal. We hoped that those of you who were fans of one of us might discover another character that you'd like to get to know better. So diluting the "voice" of each author wasn't an option.

Finally, we realized that we could have each protagonist "report" on what she saw.

Big aha! That worked!

Along the way, we'd changed few names of suspects. We also needed to figure out what the clues were and how exactly we'd share them. That was more of an editing challenge than anything else.

We realized we needed to figure out how to bring any new readers up to speed each day. Hmmm. The idea came to us while watching a TV program. I'm curious as to whether you'll be able to guess which program when you read the second day's intro.

Betty Hechtman was kind enough to pull everything together with a conclusion.

I have to say, while this was all a creative challenge, it was also a great joy. It was fascinating to see how each of us worked. And everyone was such a pro. When we noticed a problem or a concern, we shared it. No one got fussy. Everyone understood that our goal was the best possible end product...for YOU.

I can't wait to hear what all of you think! The final novella weighs in at more than 12,000 words. So we've created a "short story" that is actually the length of a short book.

I hope you love it! Please tell your friends so they can read along, too!


Miss Merry said...

I can't wait to read! Too cool, ladies!

Camille Minichino said...

Joanna neglected to mention how much her nagging, uh, MOTIVATION, got us going and kept us going!

There were a lot of behind the scenes smoothing and formatting chores and transitions to be made and Joanna did a terrific job at that.

Thanks to Terri, Monica, Linda, and Betty also for so much attention to the story!

Linda O. Johnston said...

I second what you said, Camille! Joanna was the spark behind the story. I thank all of you, though, for helping to put something so potentially complicated into a fun, readable--and mysterious--form!

wholesale handbags said...

great job ladies! i will share this with my friends.

Betty Hechtman said...

I'm a little late adding this, but Joanna, is the one who kept everyone motivated and fixed the story so it made sense. Yay, Joanna!

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Hey, Wholesale Handbags, please do spread the word. It's not often that you get to read a cool book at no charge! And the installments should prove interesting!

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Hey, Betty and Linda, I stand in awe of everyone's talents. It was a cool opportunity to see how each of us thinks and approaches the task of writing. And Camille, I posted a response yesterday, but it hasn't shown up. (Probably circling a planet.) My husband would tell you that I'm very good at nagging. Sometimes that comes in handy.