I sold a story to Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine last fall and have recently been informed that it will be published in their June 2013 issue which should go on sale sometime in April. This is another of my noir stories that follow the main character as she makes a series of questionable decisions and must then face the consequences. I really enjoyed writing it as I didn’t know the true ending until after I had written a number of drafts and then it jumped out at me and I knew it couldn’t end any other way.
Having my own stories surprise me is my favorite aspect of writing. I usually start with a solid idea about the characters and where they are are going, but then they tend to reveal themselves along the way until I finally begin to understand them. Knowing my characters on a deeper level both eliminates and creates possibilities in the story. I often write quick first drafts but then do many revisions because I’ll discover something about a character that I know is inconsistent with how they were presented earlier in the story so I’ll have to rewrite those earlier parts.
It’s during this rewriting that I often find the surprises in the story, when an insight into the character leads me down a previously unknown avenue in the plot. This method is probably not as efficient as others, but I think that the stories ring truer because of it. Constantly modifying my perception of the character’s personality makes the twists and turns and endings of my stories seem inevitable and, hopefully, satisfying.
I’ll talk more about my writing technique in future posts, possibly in the form of writing tips, but also for the reader who might be interested in how it’s done.