The lengths we go to.

by | Aug 20, 2021 | Newsletter

With the release date of DYING GRASS MOON fast approaching I have been musing on the different methods writers use to help them reach the day when the work they have slaved over goes out into the wild.

I am part of a group of crime-writing Aucklanders who get together once a month to have a coffee and chat. It’s great to mix with like-minded people to compare stories and discuss things like the pros and cons of being a planner or pantser (someone who starts writing with pretty much no idea where they are going to go) with regards to story lines, and everything else that constitutes the writing life.

At a recent meeting we were talking about Google Earth and how a writer can have their protagonist walk the streets in a selected city or town and buildings, signs and spaces can be described accurately for the reader. One of our number writes financial thrillers set in London, so finds Google Earth particularly useful, and with travel curtailed for obvious reasons at present she revels in the fact she has this resource to utilise.

I’m a wee bit stymied in that department because my books are set back in the day and in the middle of nowhere. A lot has changed in the Old West since 1882. Places have new names, hills are deforested, some towns have become ghost towns or have disappeared under tonnes of water to form dams to provide power to an ever-increasing population.

We discussed further the lengths some of us go to to get things right, and agreed nothing quite beats actually being there to check the scene for yourself. One author said a body in her latest book is found on the foreshore at Te Atatu. She went out there one day just to make sure that what she had written was feasible. She positioned herself where and how her fictitious body is found to check that the person who discovered it would have been able, among other things, to see it from the pathway. Needless to say, she got some pretty strange looks from folks ambling along the waterfront.

Did you know . . .

  • In 1842, America sent six ships to the Pacific region to collect plants and artifacts. The U.S. Exploring Expedition, also called the Wilkes Expedition, was away for four years. Read more
  • Man for breakfast: This is cowboy slang for a man found murdered in the street at dawn, or killed in a saloon the night before. Someone might say, “The Fleur-de-lis saloon had three men for breakfast.”
  • President Ulysses S. Grant was cautioned for speeding in his horse and buggy along the streets of Washington D.C. in 1872. The next day he was caught speeding again by the same policeman. He was arrested, although was allowed out on a bond of $20. (Apparently this is the only occasion recorded of a sitting president being arrested).

Take care and happy reading,

P.S. I’d love to hear from you. Please don’t hesitate to message me if you have a question, or even if you’d just like to say ‘hi’.

Of course, not only do I love to write,I love to read. On my bedside table at the moment is CAUGHT BETWEEN, by Jeannie McLean.Sixteen-year-old Jasmine Dunn is found dead – washed up on an Auckland foreshore. The next day her mother’s body is discovered. Tova Tan, their neighbour, not only becomes embroiled in the search for their killer, she is the chief suspect for their murders.
caught between

“What people are ashamed of usually makes a great story.”

– F. Scott Fitzgerald

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