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Planning a crime novel

Pauline RowsonI'm often asked how I go about planning a novel.When starting a fresh crime novel (as I am now, having recently finished writing the ninth in the DI Andy Horton series) I have the basic idea in mind. I will start to flesh this out using spider grams and time lines to work up the basic plot lines and character outlines, working in pencil on recycled pieces of A4 paper.

Often I will create some characters who won’t appear in the novel at all because by the time I start to write the first draft they might no longer be relevant.

At this stage I don’t know how the novel will end or who the villain is, this will only become apparent as I write. I conduct some research, which in turn will spark even more ideas about the plot and subplots and provide me with further ideas for characters.

I like to start the creative writing process as soon as possible, knowing that the first couple of chapters will change drastically by the time I come to do revisions. But until I start writing and putting words into the characters mouths and have them acting and reacting they don’t come alive. I then research further as I write.

On average I spend about a month working on the outlines before I start writing. Then it usually takes me another five months to finish the crime novel. I have just completed number nine in the DI Horton series which is now with my publisher.

Death Lies Beneath - A Di Andy Horton novelDeath Lies Beneath, the new and eighth in the DI Horton series was published in July 2012.

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AUGUST 7TH, 2012 @ 7:25:13 UTC

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