A little while ago, I wrote about the inspiration behind my last book ‘Death on a Dirty Afternoon’ which came out in November. With three other books currently germinating away (ie being written), I hadn’t intended embarking on another one just yet, however…
A few weeks back, author and blog queen Vicki Turner asked if I’d do a guest post for her blog, so I decided to explore the subject of novel-writing formulas. This sparked another idea that had been hanging out at the back of my mind for a while, but which I hadn’t really got to grips with.
Basically, it centres around creating a new series of middle-grade books with a horror slant, inspired by the ‘Goosebumps’ series penned by RL Stine. In the guest post, I talk about possible novel-writing formulas, but in my case I wasn’t really looking for an actual blueprint. What I was looking for was an idea I could expand into a series, but that had similarities in terms of length, characters etc. So what I ended up with was a basic plan to create a series that would have:
• A scary title
• A scary cover
• An average word count of 40,000
• An average of 20 chapters
So, the first title in the series ‘The Demon of Devilgate Drive’ was inspired by Suzi Quatro’s similarly titled Seventies smasher ‘Devil Gate Drive’, except without the jiving! I also added my own homage to Ms Quatro in the guise of twelve-year-old Suzi Q, who aids my hero Jeff in a quest to discover what the heck’s going on the strange town of Skelton Cove.
While I knew I didn’t want the town and characters to be too contemporary (no mobile phones, laptops etc), I also wanted it to be recognisable (not totally sci-fi), so I set it in a slightly skewed version of the town I used in my first children’s book, ‘The Devil’s Porridge Gang’.
The book is almost at the editing stage so will be available (I hope) in a few weeks. However, the series will only work for me if it fulfils one of my initial criteria – that it can be written and published quickly and will fit in with my other writing projects as a way of ‘resting’ from the longer, more complex novels.
So, here’s hoping…