The Action Behind “McGrave”


0553 Lee Goldberg McGrave_2

My new novella McGrave is an experiment for me.  I set out to write something specifically for the Kindle that would take advantage of the way people read on the device…but that would also capture the pure, escapist fun of watching an action movie.  I thought these were very compatible goals. 

With a Kindle,  readers are swiping/clicking your way through a story.  And because font size is adjustable, pages aren't really relevant any more..

A lot of people are using their Kindles to read on subways, buses, and planes.  They are moving from one place to another as they are moving through a story.  So I wanted to give them a story that they could finish in a single journey…and tell that story in such a way that they'd be swiping or clicking their way through it as fast as they could.

To help me pull that off, I chose an action adventure…which by nature has to move at a breakneck pace…and I eliminated chapters altogether, breaking the story into scenes, adopting a style that's closer to a screenplay than a novel (akin to the style Don Winslow adopted in his book Savages).  I thought that would keep the story moving…and the reader moving through it.

You'll have to tell me if I succeeded.

Here's the story…

Los Angeles cop John "Tidal Wave" McGrave is an unstoppable force of nature who always gets his man…even if it means laying waste to everything around him, including his own career…which is exactly what happens in his pursuit of Sebastian Richter, the ruthless leader of an international gang of violent thieves. When Richter flees to Berlin, McGrave chases after him…even though the cop doesn't know the language, the laws, or the culture. But McGrave doesn't care…he speaks the universal language of knee in the groin and fist in the face…and he won't let anything get in his way.

What follows is, I hope, a wild, action-adventure that captures all of the fun, excitement and pure escapist pleasure of the Dirty Harry, Lethal Weapon and Die Hard movies…and if it works, I'll write some more of them.

5 thoughts on “The Action Behind “McGrave””

  1. This rawks and so do you.
    I’m committing toward this venue of publication as well. Soon as some deadlines are put to bed I’ll do books specifically written for digital publication. Heck, yeah, I’m gonna be watching this blog!
    I found my total yearly earnings on a series I have with a longtime publisher are only 61.00 more than the average


    earnings from just 2 books on Kindle.
    They do not make a lot of cash, far from it, but what works on a small scale should work on a large scale.
    Keep posting more writing tips! =)
    You mentioned something very like what I’m doing on my current work: no chapters, just scene breaks. I find when I’m in chapter mode coming to the end of one just gives me an excuse to take a break, which slows my writing. Yikes.
    Keep rawking!

  2. The scenes in “Bumsickle” were excellent. You’ve got a real talent for the tightly-written style. I wanted the story to go on and was sorry it finished.
    Your analysis is really interesting. I hadn’t thought of digital books as being different in this way, but it makes a lot of sense.
    I’ve tried to buy “McGrave” at Amazon but my credit card expires 02/12 and they are having a problem processing it. In Canada, the expiry is at the end of the designated month but Amazon is seeing it as the beginning of the month, I think. Anyway, I can’t wait to read it!


Leave a Comment