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Thursday, September 3, 2015

Guest Blog: Karen McCullough talks writing today on #RB4U

All those unfinished books

No, I'm not talking about the ones I started to read but couldn't get into, though there are plenty of those, too.

I'm talking about all the unfinished stories sitting on my hard drive or backed up on CDs.  Those ideas that seemed so compelling when they first occurred to me, but somehow never got completed.

I probably have two dozen stories I started writing but have never finished. A couple I know I'll go back to and finish.  Others will remain forever half-baked ideas that never made it to the oven.

I've finished enough stories to know I can do it so it's not that I worry about never completing another one.  I just wonder what happened to so many ideas I once thought would make great novels or novellas.  Where did they go off the rails?  Or did they?

A few got derailed by circumstances.  A couple of times I had to stop writing one story to do edits on another or finish something for a deadline.  Occasionally when my train of thought for a story gets derailed by circumstances, I find it hard to get it back on the right track.

Sometimes I’ve realized that I didn’t have as good a story idea as I thought and sometimes I discovered the characters weren’t right for the plot or the plot wasn’t going anywhere particularly interesting.  A few crashed when I hit the wall and found I had no idea where the plot was going and couldn’t figure out how to bring it around.  Others just seemed to come to a screeching halt for no apparent reason.

It’s that last group that I sometimes worry about.

Every now and then I go back through those unfinished works and look at them again. And even more rarely a flash of inspiration will hit and I’ll know where that story’s going. I may have to rewrite pieces of it, but I can feel the excitement that got me started on it in the first place. And I’ll go on to finish the first draft of the work.

My most recent release, Daphne-finalist romantic suspense, The Detective’s Dilemma, wasn’t one of those.  It was a story that I wrote from start to finish over a few months, working at a pretty steady pace.

Blurb for The Detective’s Dilemma:
Although Sarah Anne Martin admits to pulling the trigger, she swears someone forced her to kill her lover. Homicide detective Jay Christianson is skeptical, but enough ambiguous evidence exists to make her story plausible. If he gives her enough freedom, she’ll either incriminate herself or draw out the real killers. But, having been burned before, Jay doesn’t trust his own protective instincts…and his growing attraction to Sarah only complicates matters.

With desire burning between them, their relationship could ultimately be doomed since Sarah will be arrested for murder if they can’t find the real killer.

Karen McCullough’s wide-ranging imagination makes her incapable of sticking to one genre for her storytelling. As a result, she’s the author of more than a dozen published novels and novellas, which span the mystery, fantasy, paranormal, and romantic suspense genres. A former computer programmer who made a career change into being an editor with an international trade publishing company for many years, she now runs her own web design business to support her writing habit. Awards she’s won include an Eppie Award for fantasy; three other Eppie finals; Daphne, Prism, Dream Realm, Rising Star, Lories, Scarlett Letter, and Vixen Awards, and an Honorable Mention in the Writers of the Future contest. Her short fiction has appeared in several anthologies and numerous small press publications in the fantasy, science fiction, and romance genres. She lives in Greensboro, NC, with her husband of many years.


Cara Marsi said...

Karen, The Detective's Dilemma sounds really good. Congrats on all your awards. I enjoyed your post. I,too, have books stuck in that proverbial drawer. Some I might try to rewrite. Others shouldn't see the light of day.

Rose Anderson said...

Oh Karen, that's so spot on! I too love the excitement that comes when those unbaked stories suddenly want to be finished. Best luck with your newest, and thanks for joining us today.

Angelica Dawson said...

I can completely relate to that folder of unfinished work. I have so many scenarios that just didn't carry themselves. Best of luck!

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