How I Write

My next DIAGNOSIS MURDER is due in March. I have the broad strokes of the story…. but that’s it. The broad strokes. The equivalent of  book jacket copy. I’ve still got to come up with the actual story.  I’ve
been able to procrastinate by doing research on the period, which has given me some plot ideas, but I’ve still got to figure out the  murders, the clues, the characters and, oh yes, the story.

This  is the hardest part of writing… the sitting around, staring into space, and thinking. This is writing, even if you aren’t physically writing.  A lot of non-writers have a hard time understanding this. Yes, just
sitting in a chair doing nothing is writing. A crucial part, in fact.
It can be hell,  especially when you are on as short a deadline as I am.  Everyone has their own method… this is mine:

Want to find out more? Check out my article at The Mystery Morgue.

2 thoughts on “How I Write”

  1. Enjoyed your comments on the “thinking time” part of writing. I always assumed, as many writers do, that the work would get easier as I grew (hopefully) more skilled. But that’s never happened. Even back when I was still writing men’s magazine stories in the 70s and early 80s, I’d get stress headaches from writing, especially the “thinking time” hours. This isn’t complaining, simply saying to all those who believe that commercial fiction is “formulaic”–if we knew the so-called “formula” we’d all be phoning you from our limos. It just don’t work that way for most of us. –Ed Gorman

  2. Great article on your process Lee. I love reading how other authors work, there’s always something I can pull and apply to my own life. You talk about the structure and limitations of TV being ingrained in your brain, I usually do my best work when people put limitations on me. Telling me I can’t do something or that I have to do something usually sparks my creativity and forces be to think of ideas I wouldn’t have otherwise. I did a lot of screenwriting before I tried writing a novel and I think it helped immensely. Having a structure makes the task of a 300 page novel seem less daunting.


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