Twists and turns, unexpected surprises…

I want to take you on the journey of building a believable and compelling mystery story, in which we explore together setting, character, plot and style. Writing a novel is a lot like a game of chess for me, juggling these elements into a coherent whole.

Setting is critical to any novel for many reasons, It frames the action, dictates the activities of many of the characters and is often educational and interesting to the readers. The same story set in the Arabian desert would be entirely different if it were set in the hills of San Francisco.

My characters often get the most attention in my writing. They are what bring a story to life and what make readers care about the story. I have lost my readers if I fail to make my characters not necessarily likable, although that helps, but at least intriguing, multi-dimensional and realistically human.

And then there is plot. Who does what, when, where and why? Well-paced plotting is what keeps readers turning the pages. Character and setting are well and good, but if actions don’t happen to propel the story forward, no one will keep reading. The final element of writing I expect to address on this site is style. While most would probably say good writing style is somewhat subjective, and I agree, but I have also found that the objective features of simplicity and clarity are vital. And I have learned that whatever I write can often be trimmed and improved later.

So in this website and blog, I will discuss and share with you issues of choosing the setting, sorting out the nature of the characters, working through the plot, and dealing with style, I hope reading here will be an entertaining and perhaps, enlightening, experience for you.

All my best,
Paul Backalenick