Sunday, May 24, 2009

Sunday's Guest Blogger Tim Maleeny

Today we are pleased to host Tim Maleeny, author of the Cape Weathers novels, Beating the Babushka, Stealing the Dragon and Greasing the Pinata, the latter of which won this year's Lefty Award for best humourous mystery. Tim's newest book is Jump, a critically-acclaimed standalone. If you want to see some incredibly good covers have a look at

Thank you for having me as a guest on Type M For Murder. I share a publisher with the talented folks responsible for this blog, so as a fellow writer and also a fan of their work, it's great to be able to rant, ramble and ruminate in their midst.

Charles and Donis' entries got me thinking about writing fast, which in a way is the writers' version of turning the pages, just as we hope readers will be turning them faster and faster until they've stayed up into the wee hours finishing our books. And it occurred to me that as I write a novel, my own pace accelerates.

Readers and reviewers have said some very nice things about the opening scenes in my books, and I do try to open my novels with a bang, but cranking out those first few chapters seems to take me a lifetime. But as I tell myself the story and get more chapters laid out, I find my fingers moving faster, the words coming more easily, until I can barely keep up with the action. By the time I reach the finish, my daily word count is through the roof.

Maybe that's because I don't outline, so for me writing is like telling myself a story, and once I get myself hooked I can't wait to find out what happens next. Or perhaps once I finally "see" the ending I want to run towards the light at the end of a tunnel, because I've been in the dark for so long. (I mean that quite literally, since I often write at night, on my laptop in the dark, while my loved ones snore nearby.)

Or maybe as crime writers we feel the tension we want our readers to feel, and as the plot thickens, so does our bond with our characters. So we start a book as curious onlookers, then move through the middle of the plot with real sympathy for our characters, but we race to the end with empathy, knowing that in the end we're going to share their plight on some deeper emotional level. And it's that visceral connection that fuels our fingers as they pound the keys.

So on days when the words flow like molasses, I just tell myself I have to care a bit more, take a vested interest in the fate of my characters. After all, isn't that what we ask of our readers? And most days it works, and I'll be damned if I don't start to type faster.


Neil Plakcy said...

Exactly the way that I write, Tim. By the end of the book the story has completely taken hold of me and it's almost like automatic typing.

But oh, those opening chapters!

Charles Benoit said...

Frequent readers of Type M for Murder know that I yield to no one in my admiration for Tim's work. Truly, folks, do yourself a favor and pick up any of Tim's books and you will be thanking me all summer long.

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