Guest Post // Everywhere To Hide by Siri Mitchell
Although I’ve been published since 2005, I only recently began writing suspense. I started in chick-lit and women’s fiction and then transitioned to historical novels. Throughout my career, I’ve always been inspired by setting. I lived in France and wrote 2 novels that are set there. I lived in Tokyo and wrote a novel set in Japan. I wrote one set in Colorado Springs…in all those cases, the setting suggested part of the story line. But when I moved to DC in 2006, I experienced the strangest thing. The only stories that came to me were ones involving spies, espionage, and suspense. I suppose that makes sense; DC is spy-central. It’s estimated over 10,000 spies live in the region. But for a long time, I just shrugged and added those new suspense ideas to my story list.
In 2015, however, my contract for historical novels ended. As I talked to my agent about what I ought to write next, she told me to just write what came out. She wanted the story I couldn’t keep myself from writing. After about a year’s break, I crept back into Storyland. When I turned on my computer and sat down to type, what came out was one of those suspense ideas, State of Lies. I wrote the whole thing, polished it up, and sent it to my agent. She read it and then called me. Over the course of about an hour, she told me how terrible it was. In great detail. ::Yikes!:: She’s always right, however, and she liked the concept so she also gave me some suggestions for edits.
Plotting and pacing had never been my strengths and I knew then, that for the story to be successful, I would have to figure out how to do a better job at those. I checked out a lot of how-to books on the craft of writing. And then I read through quite a few of Amazon’s best sellers in the category. As I read, I took notes. After I synthesized what I’d learned, I went back, tore the story apart and re-wrote it. (Just to be clear, every author expects to edit a manuscript multiple times through multiple levels of the story. A re-write, however, is a major undertaking involving cutting out tens of thousands of words, perhaps even changing character motivations and personalities.) After working with a freelance editor who my agent had suggested, I re-wrote the story again. Once it was acquired by a publisher, it went through a couple more re-writes. But in the end, I think I figured it out!
The main differences I’ve found in writing suspense are that I have to be both smarter and tighter in my writing from the beginning. I really need to understand my characters’ goals before I start typing. And I need to have a map of where the story is going. No more writing down rabbit holes or sight-seeing between plot points. No more trying to shelter my protagonists from real life either. As my agent always says, ‘Get your main character in trouble just as soon as you can and then keep her there!’
Thank you, Siri, for stopping by and sharing your insight into writing suspense and congratulations on your latest release!
This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Siri Mitchell. There will be 3 winners. Each winner will receive one (1) EVERYWHERE TO HIDE by Siri Mitchell (Print ~ U.S. addresses only). The giveaway begins on October 1, 2020, and runs through November 2, 2020. Void where prohibited.a Rafflecopter giveaway
Siri Mitchell is the author of 16 novels. She has also written 2 novels under the pseudonym of Iris Anthony. She graduated from the University of Washington with a business degree and has worked in various levels of government. As a military spouse, she lived all over the world, including Paris and Tokyo.
Click here to view the Everywhere To Hide by Siri Mitchell Participants via Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tour.