Friday, March 29, 2013
5 Questions on Writing with Melissa F. Miller
It has been a few months since my last interview with legal thriller author Melissa F. Miller, but I am glad to report that she has been busy writing the fourth instalment of her Sasha McCandless series: Indispensable Party hit the Kindle store a few weeks ago. You can read my review here.
I enjoyed reading it so much that I asked Melissa to share her writing tips and techniques with me. If you are an aspiring writer, start taking notes!
How do you take a big issue such as hydrofracking or the danger of a pandemic, and turn it into a good story?
I know I have a kernel when something makes me say “what if?” When it's an issue like in Book 2 or 4, I focus on the characters and let the issue play out in the background.
Once you have the general idea for the story, how do you come up with all the unexpected twists and turns?
Sasha’s pretty capable, so I throw a lot of obstacles at her. When in doubt, I make her situation worse. Beyond that, some twists are planned but others are organic.
How much do you outline? Every chapter/scene? Do you know everything that will happen in the book before you start?
I sketch out my scenes in a sentence or two. I usually know my “big” scenes and I always think I know everything that will happen, but so far I’ve been wrong every time!
Has writing changed the way you experience working in law? Do you find yourself making mental notes of literally everything?
Oh, yes! But civil litigation isn’t nearly as thrilling as novels make it out to be, so most of those notes never see the light of day.
Do you have a special plot-writing tip or technique that you would share with an aspiring writer?
If you get stuck, reverse engineer. Jump ahead to the next scene that’s clear in your head and figure out how to work back to where you are.
Thank you, Melissa, for taking the time to answer these questions!
You can buy Indispensable Party from Amazon UK and Amazon US
The first three novels are also available as a box-set on both UK and US stores.