If asked ‘What’s your new book all about?’, I can say ‘Safari Supper is a whodunnit’, that much I know.
The next question – to myself – is:
What’s it going to be like, as a ‘reader’ experience? What’s my writing style?
It’s probably easier to say what Safari Supper won’t be!
- I’m not aiming to write anything gruesome. All (there’s more than one?) deaths will be quick and painless with not a drop of blood in sight.
- It will not be an ‘action-packed’ thriller. There will be no high-speed car chases. Quite the opposite! Most of my characters walk from house to house and gather for the final course in the village hall. (Note to self: organize taxis to take them home. It’s uphill for most of them.)
- There will be no children. My characters are all of the third age. No one is under sixty – although some of them have childlike qualities.
With these provisos, my novel won’t be likened to anything by Jo Nesbo or Ian Fleming and will bear no resemblance to a Harry Potter plot as penned by JK Rowling – although I might include the occasional witch.
Writing style is influenced by what you read
I’ve always belonged to book groups and read masses of books. Soon after I moved to Devon, I started ‘The Perfumed Ladies’ book group. In the past six years, we’ve read 60+ books, many of them memorable. Some left me thinking ‘I wish I had written that’.
Visiting the theatre and seeing a great play has the same effect on me. I wish I had written a play as good as those written by Tom Stoppard or Dylan Thomas. I’ve mentioned before Under Milk Wood, but I also particularly liked the style of Jon McGregor‘s If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things. In the distant past, I’ve read many whodunnits by Agatha Christie, and I like the small society settings she uses – it matches my chosen location. I am also a big fan of Alan Bennet‘s work. If only I could match his satirical view of life and insightful characterizations of ‘ordinary’ people.
Making your writing style your own
My novel might have shades of other writers’ style but what makes it my own?
I like to include humour – to make my reader smile or laugh out loud. For Safari Supper, I’m tempted to add a dash of the ‘Carry On’ spirit – when you read my next post on characterisation, you’ll understand why. And, the devil in me has half a mind to employ a narrator for the parts of the story where characters are discussing life across the dinner table á la Come Dine Wors do you read? Which books do you wish you had written?
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Patsy25 September 2015 at 10:02
Not asking myself that question is where I’ve gone wrong with my current WIP. If it’s going to be frothy, gritty, scary, funny or whatever, the whole thing needs to be written that way.
Of course they’ll be variations – a sad scene in a comedy, a bigh of romantic light relief in a thriller, but they need to be part of the story, not added in afterwards.