No Two Books Alike

Hey all. Gerry Boyle here. A quick post this week because I’m headed for the finish line on THE DEAD SAMARITAN, a crime novel set in Ireland. This is the collaboration I’ve mentioned before. I’m here in America (most of the time). Freelance writer and blogger Emily Westbrooks (also my daughter), is on the ground in Dublin. It’s a good team. I think it’s a good book. Hope you all get to judge sometime soon.

More on the details when it’s done (I’m superstitious about talking too much about works in progress). Today’s post is about process and this one is coming together differently than any of my other mystery novels.

Every book is different, of course. I’ve written novels in one draft, one shot, no revision at all (DAMAGED GOODS). I’ve written novels where I’ve changed villains in the rewrite (DEADLINE). I’ve written novels where a third of the original ms. has been left on the cutting room floor (BORDERLINE).

But I’ve never done one like this one, which is being written in layers. I’ve been doing some video work in my magazine job, some voice over, script writing. I’ve also been watching the video editor work his magic, weaving sound and video, splicing and dicing. It’s fascinating and fun.

I’ve also been reading about painters and their process, layering on of paint, a final addition of light and color bringing the work to life.

And maybe some of that rubbed off because SAMARITAN is being written in a long burst of dialogue. Very little expository anything. Always moving. The dialogue and action driving the book along.

That’s layer one. Then comes blog posts and text messages (key to this one). Then some more Irish-izing of the dialogue (lots of Irish friends ready to help out there. Hello, Dublin northsiders!). Then some fleshing out of the landscape.

And voila. The complete story, hopefully seamless and smooth.

Will I write the next one like this? Apply this process to the next Jack McMorrow or Brandon Blake? Probably not. But we aren’t stamping out cookies here folks. And has this one been fun? It’s been grand.


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4 Responses to No Two Books Alike

  1. John Clark says:

    I (and a host of Hartland Library patrons) will very much look forward to reading it. The description of its evolution sounds very intriguing.

  2. MCWriTers says:

    Gerry, I think shaking it up is one of the best things we can do as writers. Going in new directions, trying out new styles, seeing if collaboration fits our own style. I’m looking to shake myself out of my habits in a few weeks, when I’m spending fourteen obsessive days as a fellow at VCCA in Amherst, Virginia, working on a novel absolutely unlike anything I’ve ever written before.

    Looking forward to this new project of yours.


  3. Barb Ross says:

    Hi Gerry

    I often thinking of the painting metaphor when I’m writing. Lay the foundation, paint objects, people, background. Paint over and repaint that whole corner.

    Right now the book I’m working on feels more like a photograph being developed. Slowly coming into sharper contract, brilliant colors and focus. (I hope. Still in the part way through phase.)


  4. Gerry Boyle says:

    Barb in the darkroom. Kate sequestered. And when we all emerge, we’ll have finished work in hand. Interesting, this creative process!

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