Crusader … is available

Crusader is available as an eBook, and the paperback edition will follow soon.

Once again, I immersed myself in the story, aiming to create not only believable, but memorable characters and situations. There are only so many plots irrespective of the genre, so it’s the duty of the author to create twists and turns to develop the tale from the first word to the last.

Writers often create a formula which works for their readers, and while this is acceptable, it is the differences that will spell success or failure for an individual story.

Another area that can affect how a new tale is received is the length. My first draft of this story ended at 120k words. It took a lot of work to reduce it to 112k words which is how it went out to my beta readers. In response to their feedback, and because I wanted to tighten up the narrative, I reduced the content to 106k words.

As explained in a previous post, my secondary character was taking centre stage too often, so I removed whole chapters, and Constance deserved her own story. You’ll see from my Work in Progress that her tale will be the sequel to Crusader.

For those of you interested in such things, a handful of characters from the Beyond The Law and Codename titles play cameo roles in Crusader, and they earn the right to be there. I may get Constance: Crusader – Part 2, underway, but I’m in no rush. It has to feel like a different hero taking the lead, and to create that, I must leave the Jason and Constance team alone for a short while.

If you’ve never read my crime thrillers, this would be a good one to try. If you have read my work, I’m confident that you’ll enjoy Crusader.

Thank you, once again for valuable input from fellow author, Carmen Lopez, and from IASD authors: Lesley Hayes, Barbara Speake, Penny Luker, and Ruth Coulson.

My thanks also to those who take the time to read my work, and this writing blog.


Killing your darlings

‘Killing your darlings’, is not as some people think, simply to do with removing characters from a story. It also relates to sentences, paragraphs, entire chapters, and sub-plots. If you ever ponder whether you’re a lazy writer, ask yourself if you’re keeping any of the aforementioned simply because you like them, or because of the effort they took in creation.

This is my first post of 2023, and it’s been delayed for a good reason. During 2021, I announced the existence of my latest hero, Detective Sergeant Jason Knight aka Crusader. As usual, I had other stories in progress, so this new tale was fitted in, and I continued to move regularly from one story to another.

The pen is mightier …

I’d written ten chapters of Crusader before it dawned on me that Jason’s new partner, Constance, was stealing the show. My vision for my main character had been clear, but as strong characters do, Constance made herself omnipresent. A lot of work had gone into those first ten chapters, so I put the story away for a few weeks and worked on other projects.

I returned to Crusader, and with the same panache that my main character might slay a violent criminal, I reread my new creation. The task was based on a simple palette. Black coffee to hand, my red pen at the ready, and a ruthless black and white approach to my task. This was to prove a test of wills between me and my characters, so there could be no grey areas … a chunk of hard-won writing went, or it stayed. Moving around can be done anytime.

What was the result?

It took two days to achieve my aim. As any half-decent writer knows, it’s not advisable to delete something that could be useful for something else. I removed three complete chapters, and large sections from a couple of others, and put them in a holding file. A single read through was enough to give me an idea for the name of the file—Constance: Crusader Part 2.

I left the revised version of Crusader to rest while I adjusted my thinking for the story.

‘Killing your darlings’ doesn’t mean destroying what you’ve created. If you take time to consider your options, and you’re not afraid of hard work, it could be looked at as ‘redeveloping your darlings’. It doesn’t sound as terminal, and it offers the opportunity of producing something new, like a Phoenix from the flames.

How have things moved on with Crusader, the original idea?

It’s been almost eighteen months since I wrote the opening lines of the story. I completed my most recent edit two days ago, and at present Crusader stands at 112k words. After a few more brutal editing sessions I’ll offer it up for beta reading, possibly in late February. I aim to publish in mid March 2023.

Crusader’s calling card

Thank you for taking an interest in my work, and, as always, comments and suggestions are welcome.