Week four has been a stop-start kind of a week from a writing perspective for a number of reasons. Firstly, I have spent four long days in a recording studio with my band, The 109s, so my writing each day was limited to a couple of hours in the morning before I headed off to London and the studio. I was also invited to write a blog post for the Crime Readers Association, which ate into my writing time.
So, from the perspective of moving the word count forward on the new draft of Stolen Lives, I have done practically nothing during week four (less than nothing, in fact, as I actually decided to bin about 2,000 words!).
However, it is sometimes good when life imposes these little breaks on my writing, as it gives the creative dust a chance to settle and allows me to focus on how key moments in the book are going to pan out. One of the most important decisions I have made during the last few days is how the book is going to end.
Endings are crucial to a reader’s enjoyment of the book. Far too many books (and films and television programmes) seem to fizzle out with endings that are either limp or totally confusing. How many times have you found yourself utterly engrossed by a film’s opening 20 minutes or a book’s first 50 pages, only to reach the end and feel cheated? I certainly have and have always tried to ensure that my books end with bangs rather than whimpers.
My first attempts at writing endings for my novels followed a fairly standard pattern: hero is placed in mortal danger, which said hero then overcomes. This is the way the first draft of Stolen Lives finished, but I was never really very happy with this, especially considering the fact that the Danny Sanchez books are going to form a series: there are only so many times I can place him in physically dangerous situations without it becoming trite. However, I have now conceptualised an ending for the new draft that I think will provide the necessary drama and help to bring all the story’s strands together into a climactic confrontation.
As I mentioned in my last post, I have managed to decide on a rough structure for the new version of Stolen Lives, so I will probably spend the next few days on the laborious process of cutting and pasting each section of the Word document text until it follows this structure.
I have also been reading a book by renowned journalist, Robert Fisk. I find reading non-fiction books by or about journalists and journalism really helps get me in a Danny Sanchez frame of mind, so I will probably start tackling the writing of the end this week.