Mesmerized by the “editor’s” addition of flowery language to the story and the “editor’s” lavish praise for creating such a great thriller, visions (delusions would be a better term) of the next Number One Best Seller and images of Academy Awards flashed through my brain. The manuscript was called “The Deadly Harvest”.
The only thing deadly about this manuscript was its effect on prospective literary agents. They couldn’t reject it fast enough. I could only imagine the reactions of those poor agents when they read the first few lines: “Yikes, what the hell is this?”
What did the process teach me?
- First, write about what I knew; use my experiences, training, and knowledge as a police detective and attorney.
- Read books in the crime thriller genre written by NY Times bestselling authors such as Michael Connelly, Michael McGarrity, J. A. Jance, Andrea Kane, and others. How did their stories flow, how did they draw their characters, and how did they make me want to ‘turn the pages’?
- Keep reading bestselling novels in the crime thriller genre.
- Study ‘how-to’ books such as The Fire in Fiction by Donald Maass, Word Painting: A Guide to Writing More Descriptively by Rebecca McClanahan, and Bullies, Bastards And Bitches: How To Write The Bad Guys Of Fiction by Jessica Morrell, to name a few. ·
- Begin the story featuring the protagonist, not the antagonist (as I did in my first manuscript).
- Make all the characters three-dimensional, not cardboard cut-outs. Give them weaknesses and vulnerabilities along with their strengths.
- Revise, then revise some more.
- Submit the finished manuscript to a qualified editor.