Hey Guys! So today, as part of her book tour, I am introducing you to the wonderful Joelle Charbonneau, author of Murder for Choir. She has written you an inspiring post on crime writing in all of it’s gory glory! Hope it helps you get a better insight into her and her novel!
From tears to laughter. And a few dead bodies along the way. By Joelle Charbonneau
I never set out to write mysteries. In fact, I never thought I was going to be a writer at all. My college degrees are in voice performance, and theater. So, I guess you can say I planned to sing and dance my way through life.
But one day, I had an opening line for a women’s fiction story in my head. After I got home from the theater, I sat down at the computer and typed that line and a couple of lines that came after it. Suddenly, I had a couple of pages. Then a chapter. In between my schedule of performing 8 shows a week, I typed until I hit THE END and smiled at the satisfaction that I had written an entire book.
Oh – the book wasn’t good. No one should ever read that book, although my poor husband and my mother did. They deserve a medal for their support. Or therapy. Lots and lots of therapy.
However while that manuscript will never see the light of day, it was the first step in my realization that I loved creating story both on and off the stage. And so, I kept writing with the intent of being the next great women’s fiction author. I wanted to be the girl who made people cry buckets of tears when the book ended. Only, a funny thing happened. The more I wrote, the punchier my sentences became. And suddenly, there was a dead body at the end of the first chapter of my new book and a mystery to be solved. Instead of writing women’s fiction, I had somehow stumbled into writing crime fiction. More specifically, humorous mysteries.
How did that happen?
Well, I suppose like all writers, I had to keep writing until I found my “voice”. It didn’t matter that I wanted to send people diving for the tissue box. The more I kept writing, the more my style evolved. It wasn’t dripping with emotion. It was punchy, fast-paced and, depending on the situation, kind of wacky. Face it, a show-choir director strangled by a microphone cord and an angry standard poodle intent on starving our heroine aren’t exactly the stuff that tears are made of. But those things are…well…me.
Because of my experience, I find myself giving the same piece of advice to all aspiring authors no matter what genre they are writing in. Write. Write a lot. The best way to discover who you are as a writer is to keep writing and see where it takes you. It is the only way to develop your own personal writing style and voice.
The next tip I have is to finish the book. Don’t go back and edit what you’ve already written. Keep writing until you reach the end. Each page you write will take you closer to learning who YOU are as a writer, which is one of the most important steps you can take. Also, by finishing the project, you have taught yourself one incredibly important lesson. That you can reach THE END. So many writers dream of finishing a book, but most never do. That accomplishment alone will teach you more than all the writing advice I can give.
Last, for crime fiction authors, read in the genre. Traditional mysteries. Thrillers. Hardboiled noir. Police procedurals. Get to know what is out there. Find the books that speak to you and analyze the structure. Why did the book keep you turning the pages and guessing what was going to come next? Did the chapters end on a clue or a tantalizingly dangerous hook? How did the author introduce clues and red herrings?
Structure and pacing are incredibly important to crime fiction books. By analyzing those elements and adding what you’ve learned to your own work, you’ll help make your stories better. You’ll also get an additional bonus. You’ll get to read stories that you love. What could be better than that?
Even as a struggling opera singer, Paige Marshall has never seen anything like the uber- egos of Prospect Glen High School show choir. As their new coach, she’s getting an icy reception from championship-hungry students who doubt she can take them to a first-place trophy. Toughing this gig out may prove harder than scoring her big break…
Especially now that her best young male singer is suspected of killing the arrogant coach of Prospect Glen’s fiercest rival choir. For Paige to clear his name, she’ll have to sort through a chorus of suspects— and go note-for-note with a killer who’ll do anything to knock her out of the spotlight for good…
Following Murder for Choir is the second book in Joelle Charbonneau’s comedic murder mystery series, titled End Me A Tenor (April 2013).