I’d been revising the fourth draft of The Devil Particle based upon Editor Tim Storm‘s comments when I came to a scene I knew needed work. Of course, Tim didn’t hesitate to point that out and offered great feedback.
Without giving too much away, the scene takes place during the Vessel Trials when Kael Roriak, a minor character, has to overcome an obstacle. The particular obstacle was, well, lame.
I spent the next several days not putting pen to paper but going through various scenarios in my head. The best spot for brainstorming proved to be the sauna at the Princeton Club in Fitchburg. Something about the intense heat made me realize I needed to learn more about Kael. How did he get into the Vessel Trials in the first place? Why was he chosen? Once I figured that out, the writing came easily.
One of the things I like about writing is understanding how my subconscious mind works. I’ll jot things down not knowing what direction they’ll take me, but trusting that they’ll end up somewhere pretty incredible. The frustrating part is that, for me, it might take four or more drafts to get there. But once it does, it comes together so well that you’d think I’d planned it all along.
Last weekend I went with Writer Rich Brandt to see the movie “Green Book” starring Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali. The film is based on the true story of Jamaican-American Pianist Dr. Don Shirley who, in 1962, hired Bodyguard Tony “Lip” Vallelonga to drive him as he toured the deep south.
The film is one of the best movies I’ve seen this year. The acting was amazing, the cinematography and music exceptional, but it was the writing that I loved (written by Nick Vallelonga, Tony’s son, Peter Farrelly, and Brian Hayes Currie).
The character development was effortless and subtle, both characters having compelling arcs. The writing was incredibly tight. Everything served a purpose.
That’s what I strive for in my writing. When I create the first few drafts of a novel, some scenes seem forced, as if they don’t serve a purpose. I take a breather, think it through, and eventually the purpose presents itself. Like magic. So what is Kael’s purpose in The Devil Particle? You’ll just have to wait until the book is released to find out!
In the meantime —
Carpe Diem, Illinois and
God on Mayhem Street audiobooks are available on Audible and as CDs!
They make great stocking stuffers!
**And to thank you for reading my newsletters, I’ll send you a Blooper Reel for free — simply contact me.**
Where you can find me when I’ve left the sauna:
Read more about me in Literary Mary Chats with Kristin Oakley.
Party with me at the Eighth Annual Chicago Writers Association Book of the Year Awards – January 19, 2019, The Book Seller, Chicago’s Lincoln Square. A wonderful night to celebrate amazing authors!
For writers – incredible conferences in 2019:
Just Write! An Uncommon Writers Conference 2019 – March 16 – 17, 2019, Warwick Allerton Hotel, Chicago. Great workshops on the craft of writing, plus book signings and a live lit event. I’m looking forward to teaching my cliffhanger workshop and curating the live lit event.
UW-Madison Division of Continuing Studies 30th Annual Writers Institute – April 4 – 7, 2019 Concourse Hotel, Madison, WI. Workshops on everything from craft to marketing to pitching to publishing. I’ll be on the “Celebrating Your Book: Festivals and Readings Panel” with Author Shannon Henry Kleiber, helping writers hone their pitches, running the book day events, and judging the Live Lit Event with Author Silvia Acevedo. Registration begins December 4, 2018.
Novel-in-Progress Bookcamp and Writing Retreat – May 19 – 25, 2019, Cedar Valley Retreat Center in West Bend, Wisconsin. I’ll be on a self-publishing panel with Authors Nicole Pierce and Melissa Haag and presenting my workshop titled “The Formula for Settings Agents, Editors, and Readers Love”.