OUR WRITER’S TOOLBOX
“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”
I’ve heard it often said, that you’re only as good as your tools. Bob would say: “Detective or writer, I guess that’s the coffee then!” That and his other love (jelly sweets) keep him going…
He also uses an old adage to the detective’s bible – The 5 WH (Who, What, Where, When, Why) – to help him write the crime storyline in the books. That, and the tried and tested method of investigating real crime, of course! The first step is to ‘clear the ground beneath your feet.’
I truly believe that there is book in everyone. Don’t get me wrong – writing can be frustrating, exhausting, overwhelming, even discouraging for most of us. Don’t give up before you start because you’re not on your own. In truth, the rewards only come when the writing is finished. But, the rewards are second to none; the feeling of accomplishment, getting published, being known as a writer and especially having written. It makes all the hard work worthwhile.
The good news is that with the right tools, the writing is easier, and although we are still finding our favourites (and they will be different for everyone) here are some for you to consider…
A keen and open mind, and a computer, must come way up there as the main tools of most writer these days, but for me there are so many more arsenals in our weaponry.
Bob has a neat and tidy desk with not much more on it other than a lamp and his laptop. His notepad and pens are all tucked away in his drawers – he can work with the radio blaring out or the TV on in the background. He looks out of a window to the garden, and an expanse of fields with grazing cattle…
On the flipside, my desk is littered with piles of paperwork (neat piles, but nevertheless piles)…
Our diary is within reaching distance of my left hand, and to my right is a telephone, notepad and pen. I have several notepads stacked to the back of my desk – a different one for each book we have written. These contain all my written notes – and sketches. Upon my desk is also my desktop computer, which stores my database of all our characters.
I have a map of Huddersfield on my wall – upon it however, are the names of Halifax landmarks, and roads. Harrowfield is the fictional town we have created for the Dylan series of nine books – the ninth and prequel, Poetic Justice, has just been published by The Dome Press.
I have music playing as I write, a mixture of classical such as Mozart, and relaxing music which they advertise increases brain power, and helps you concentrate – I can only hope! 😉 I also have chocolate in my drawer – usually a Curly Wurly or Cadbury’s Fruit and Nut that Bob buys me when he nips to the paper shop – *naughty but nice*.
Above my desk is a coat of arms… We believe it came from the Halifax County Court when it was closed down – a court that was paramount to ‘the job’.
I was once asked to escort a woman prisoner with a couple of male officers, from Sowerby Bridges Police Station cells, to the court. It was the first and last time I did. At the time (1988) there was not always a woman police officer on duty. The woman was a fraudster, so no threat, but when we stood in front of the court custody officer at the desk, where the woman was to be booked to be taken into the court cells, the custody officer asked which of us was the prisoner – I think my face said it all… Dressed in a fur coat, perfectly applied make up, and hung in gold and diamonds it was no wonder that he had doubts as to which one of us his prisoner was!
Marketing tools are something that I am constantly learning how to use. As most of our readers will know, I am prolific on social media with apps such as Facebook – however, finding your way around all the groups and their rules for marketing, is definitely a steep learning curve. I love Twitter – it’s quick and easy and our following has grown incredibly quickly to 16.5K. Linkedin is more for business use I find, and I admit to not knowing much about its uses. However I set up a profile, and we have been contacted by various TV and film people requesting our help through this site – so I must be doing something right. Instagram is another favourite of mine. It’s more about pictures, and hashtags – sounds confusing but it is the one used mostly (I am told) by the youth of today – so, I am just rolling with it! Only last Friday though, did I learn that I was not making good use of the picture marketing tool as my pictures were often too big for the user to see the full content, so I was given a quick photo ‘pinching’ tutorial and recommended to use the app Instasize – so easy when you know how!
I am far more likely to put names to faces of characters, and places if I have a picture. Even car makes and colours are easier for me to remember if I have a visual aid. So, I have pictures on a storyboard propped up beside me for the book I am working.
This is one for When The Killing Starts – the 7th DI Jack Dylan novel – and you can see what I mean.
And, I have a board, which gives me all the thoughts of an SIO at the scene of an investigation.
Writing groups are my favourite tool of all. They are a great way of meeting other writers and the reason we set up the Wight Fair Writers’ on the Island ten years ago. Writing groups provide moral support, like minded people also going though the peaks and troughs of writing, and it’s a great place to get feedback in a safe environment amongst friends. Since starting the writing group in 2008 the group has organised a short story competition for Isle of Wight writers every year – it’s healthy competition, a great way to showcase your work and if you are amongst the winners then you are guaranteed to be a published writer in the local newspaper. The added bonus is that this competition has raised thousands of pounds for local charities.
So, what are you waiting for?
Good luck with your book!
Carol & Bob x
About the Author Duo:
R.C. Bridgestock is the name that husband and wife co-authors Robert (Bob) and Carol Bridgestock write under. Between them they have nearly 50 years of police experience, offering an authentic edge to their stories. The writing duo created the character DI Jack Dylan, a down-to-earth detective, written with warmth and humour. The ninth book in the series will be published by The Dome Press in 2019, along
with their backlist. A further crime series is presently being scripted by the pair, which has a strong Yorkshire female character – Charley Mann – at the helm
Find them on Social Media
Soon to follow today is my review of the Prequel to the Bridgestock’s Detective Series ‘Poetic Justice’. Not to mention, it’s a fantastic book and this is where it all began. The DI Dylan series. So, if you like reading a series from the start, this is your right time. Pick it up right from the start peeps!!! These two are really amazing at what they do! xx
Thank you so very much Priya for inviting us, as guest, on your fab blog! 🙂
It’s a pleasure having you on my blog, Carol! ♥️