CHARLIE GARRATT

Planning a new novel

When I was half-way through A Patient Man, the third in the Inspector James Given series, I decided I’d kill him off. I’d had enough of him and wanted to move on to pastures new. I’d a long-term project I wanted to finish and an outline for the first in a possible new series I thought I’d get on with.

Spoiler Alert: I didn’t kill James!

James Given didn’t want to die despite my best efforts. Instead, he niggled away at me whilst I tried to work on the other projects and when a situation arose which gave me an idea for a plot he pushed his way to the front of the queue to be involved. So Where Every Man was born.

This new novel is creating its own challenges and I sometimes wonder why authors do this to themselves, making life as difficult as possible. In addition to being set in the 1930s, so lots of research to be done, this is also set outside England, adding another layer of complexity. This novel, like the others, is in first person so there’s wrestling with how to tell the tale where every event has to be seen by, or reported to, our hero. Without giving anything away, James has an extra barrier to solving the crime this time, which is already causing me headaches.

What I’ve discovered in planning this novel is I’ve learnt a lot about the process since embarking on the first, A Shadowed Livery, which is what might be expected. Instead of a random development of plot and characters, and chapters written in any order I fancied writing them, the second novel, A Pretty Folly, began with me working out the basic plot, then the writing of a synopsis for each scene. This time, I’ve an outline in my head and I’m working on the storyline for each of the main suspects.

The one I’m stuck on, though it’s always the most difficult, is the villain. So far, I know who he/she is and, more or less, why they did what they did. But I’m far from clear about many aspects – and it will be fun finding out how James Given catches him/her. One way I’ll develop the ideas will be to write a journal for the villain, hopefully telling me, the author, everything I need to know.

Here’s fingers crossed and I’ll blog an update when I’m further forward.

Planning a new novel

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