Guest Post // Jonette Blake, Author of The Widow Catcher
Thank you, Jonette, for sharing your tips and thoughts on keeping it real when writing. Best of luck with your release, The Widow Catcher!
Keeping it real.
One of my goals as a writer is to keep each of my books authentic from the rest. I want readers to pick up any of my books, across all of my genres, and not read the same story twice. This takes discipline because it can be easy to take what happened in Book A and put it in Book B. However, if I ever ‘borrow’ a similar situation from another book, I make sure to change it significantly.
Here are a few simple ways to avoid writing the same tropes across books, and if I ever feel that I am rewriting the same situation, then I will change it using one of these techniques.
#1 – Change the setting.
Take the story from urban to city, and vice versa, and the story immediately changes, because there is a different tone, different sense of community, different pace, different level of urgently, different conflicts.
#2 – Change the genre.
If you change a story from cozy mystery to supernatural thriller you instantly have a story that is unrecognizable from the other.
#3 – Change the point of view.
I changed the gender of the characters in one of my books and it created a totally different story from the original concept. And also by changing the age of the characters, I was able to get a story moving along that was just going nowhere.
#4 – Change the timeline.
A novel set in the past is going to be different to a novel set in the future.
One of my other goals as a writer to make my characters authentic and my situations seem plausible, where readers think “this could actually happen”. Whether I’m writing mysteries, science fiction, or supernatural, the same goal applies: make the responses and decisions of the characters seem real enough for the reader to believe.
What are some ways I aim for authenticity in my writing?
#1 – Reader reviews
I take note of reviews, not just my book’s reviews but many others. I read good and bad reviews for their critical comments on plot, structure, and character. What was the story missing? What was cliché about it? What did they like? What didn’t they like? How did they respond to the character? Obviously, you can’t please every reader and you can’t put everything into the one book, but from reading reviews I’ve picked up a few plot lines and character traits to steer clear of.
#2 – Look to real life.
Wouldn’t it be lovely to live in a tower and write all day? It is often a writers dream, but I can honestly say that my books would not be as well-rounded or authentic if I hadn’t included real-life scenarios and real-life characters. Especially true of The Widow Catcher. When I first moved to Batemans Bay, I worked in a bank. That’s where I learned that 70% of our population was elderly retirees. Most of our customers were elderly, and one day they would be there getting money from their account, the next day there’d be a funeral notice in the paper. Nothing callous about it, just a natural occurrence, and this was the idea formed to create a character who killed little old ladies in town and got away with it because it was ‘a natural occurrence’. I had taken a real-life situation and made it plausible for readers to understand why nobody would get suspicious, not the police, not the media, not even the families and neighbors, not even the main character.
#3 – Don’t write the usual tropes.
It may seem uncreative for a writer to have goals, but this is the first thing I recommend all writers do: determine what type of books you want to write. There is no right or wrong answer, but I feel if a writer strays from their goal, that’s when they come unstuck.
My goal is to write across multiple genres, write prolifically, and not write the usual tropes. So if anything seems cliché and I get that sneaky feeling that this has been done to death (pardon the pun), then that scene or character is rewritten. I’ll give you an example of avoiding a typical trope that earned one of my YA books some great reviews. I purposely gave the teen characters lots of siblings and concerned parents. I did this because I come from a large family and reading books about an orphaned child living with distant relatives who are totally absent throughout the book just never sat right with me. After all, you can live in a crowded house and still be unseen, probably even more so. So I used this real-life situation and applied it to the story.
There you have it. Some of the ways that I avoid repeating situations and not melding books together. It takes discipline, but it is also very satisfying and rewarding to know that I am giving my readers a unique experience.
This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Jonette Blake. There will be 1 winner of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card. The giveaway begins on February 1, 2021, and runs through March 2, 2021. Void where prohibited.a Rafflecopter giveaway
Jonette Blake writes supernatural thrillers and suspense thrillers. She is the author of over ten books and dozens of short stories, writing as D L Richardson.
She was born in Ireland and grew up in Australia. She lived through the 80s and music is still a big part of her life. When she is not writing, she plays her piano and guitar, listens to music, reads, and enjoys the beach.
?She has held jobs in administration, sales and marketing, has worked in HR, payroll, and as a bank teller. Her latest novel The Widow Catcher is based on the coastal town she lives in and her own bank teller experience.
Her books are standalone titles.
Click here to view The Widow Catcher by Jonette Blake Participants via Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours.