Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Plan B by Patricia Bradley

Writers have complete control of their stories. Right?

If you answered yes, then you’ve never had a character refuse to cooperate, or a story you have plotted out (Justice Buried) take a detour. Most of the time when this happens, I go with the flow, but with the plotted out story, I had a potential disaster on my hands. You see, I kind of left heroine Andi Hollister hanging in the first book of my cold case novels, Justice Delayed.

She had a problem with pain medication and at the end of that first book I gave her a superficial recovery. I planned to further address her addiction to pain pills in Justice Buried (which releases September 5, 2017), with a subplot. But that’s when things went awry.

The heroine and the storyline of Justice Buried didn’t cooperate. I did make a few references to Andi in the story, but I never could work it around to flesh out her story. And it kept bugging me.

And in case you’ve ever wondered how writers decide what they’ll write next, an unfinished storyline might be an influence. When Jan Thompson asked if I wanted to be a part of The Kill Zone: Ten Deadly Thrillers anthology, I quickly said yes! Writing the novella turned out to be the perfect answer.

Writing Andi’s story in the novella also freed me to write the third book in the Memphis Cold Case Novels without trying once again to work Andi’s subplot into that book.

And most people think writing is easy.  

Which brings me to the second part of my post. Why didn’t I finish Andi’s story in the first place? Because life happened.

Andi’s story, Justice Delayed, was due in November. I was working diligently toward that deadline when my nephew had to be airlifted to Memphis. I spent the next month off and on at the hospital with him and my sister. A lot of authors can write through difficult situations, but I’m not one of them. Not in the creative phase of writing, anyway. Editing, yes.

When my wonderful editor offered an extension, I gratefully accepted. My nephew remained critically ill in the hospital until a month after I turned the book in, so it was still difficult to focus. I spent a lot of time on my knees (figuratively since I have bad knees) praying for him and writing Justice Delayed, asking God for the next sentence, next paragraph, next page. I honestly don't know how any author writes without God’s help. I turned Justice Delayed in at midnight the day it was due, knowing it wasn’t quite finished.

With Revenge, Andi’s story is now complete, and you can read it in The Kill Zone: Ten Deadly Thrillers when it releases October 3, 2017. Later it will be available as a stand-alone story on Amazon.

And now you’ve had a peek into this writer’s life. I’d like to say Justice Buried went off without a hitch, but of course it didn't. Life happened again, and my nephew ended up in Barnes Jewish Hospital in St. Louis where he coded three times before finally turning the corner. But that’s a story for another time. I will say he is home now and improving every day.

Have you ever experienced a time when the story wouldn't come the way you anticipated? What did you do about it?


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I love connecting with readers on my blog every Tuesday where I have a Mystery Question for them to solve: www.patriciabradleyauthor.com/blog
Twitter: @ptbradley1

Winner of the 2016 Inspirational Readers’ Choice Award in Suspense, Patricia Bradley lives in North Mississippi with her rescue kitty, Suzy. Her romantic suspense books include the Logan Point series and the Memphis Cold Case Novels. She also has written sweet romances for Harlequin Heartwarming available as ebooks. 

10 comments:

  1. Pat, I'm dealing with that right now! But in this case, I'm going with the flow. My characters have taken over which is what I always hope happens. It truly becomes their story.

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    1. There is nothing better than when your characters take over the story, Ane. Thanks for joining the conversation!

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  2. Pat: So thankful your nephew is improving every day now.
    And yes, I've experienced both life not going the way I expected while I've been writing a book -- and a book not going the way I expected, too. Relying on God and the prayers of others got me through.

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    1. Thanks, Beth, for thinking of Brad. He is doing better than we every dreamed.

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  3. Pat, like you I can't write through things like that. I'm so thankful your nephew is improving!

    Fan girl moment- I love your books!

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    1. Thanks, Terri! :-) And thanks for joining the conversation.

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  4. Pat, I totally understand. Readers have no concept of what happens in a writer's life...they just want to read more from her/him. And our characters just won't behave, will they? So glad your nephew has finally turned the corner. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Richard, thanks so much for stopping by. I often get tickled when my characters turn on me...much like unruly children!

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  5. i'm a total pantzer!! (well 99%) and many times my story takes me by surprise. i take notes AS i'm writing to come back to later if i need to.
    thanks for a great post - and yes, these characters can by like kids on a playground at recess!! WILD and out of control!!!

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    1. I'm not a pantzer, but sometimes find myself going off in wild directions, Robin.

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