In a recent interview, writer Lee Child explained how he writes his hugely successful crime thrillers. He starts with a line, or a phrase, sometimes even a word, and then lets the story unfold naturally, and write itself.
Child’s books feature an ex-military cop Jack Reacher and are all based in the states, although Child himself is British.
Yesterday I wrote the first draft of a new story, Counting Mississippi. 6,000 words in 4 hours, the story just came, the twist out of nowhere, all from someone’s status update on Facebook last week.
I’ve just been accused this morning of being too observational but I don’t think you can be. People watching is a great pastime and a huge learning experience I think; how people react differently to same situations, or unfamiliar situations (fish out of water). It also teaches you how to deal with people or accept them and not be judgemental perhaps.
One key element that is always thrown around is “write about what you know” which I think is possibly true. In Nancy Miller’s case it certainly was and proved highly successful.
Nancy comes from Oklahoma City and is the creator of an outstanding and original TV cop show, Saving Grace, which stars Oscar winning Holly Hunter in the title role, a role she obviously relished.
Grace Hanadarko is a quirky, likeable police detective in Oklahoma City who is promiscuous and a drunk, mainly due to her being raped aged ten by the family priest. Jessica Walters (Play Misty For Me) plays her mother. Grace is supported by her own guardian angel, Earl, who chews tobacco and looks as if he lives on the streets. Strange premise I know for a show, I said it was original, but it actually works.
There are many references to Oklahoma, particularly the 1995 bombing.
The show aired in the states until 2010 but the second series had just started in the UK on More 4 on Thursdays, following Julianna Margulies’ excellent The Good Wife.
The idea of angels in shows is of course not original – Highway to Heaven and even the recent ITV drama about angels who are barristers? and of course you have It’s A Wonderful Life.
Here’s the final scenes of It’s A Wonderful Life
and finally I believe snow is forecast at last for next week!
Now to the second draft of Counting Mississippi.