Sunday, May 8, 2016

Shifting Into (Writing) High Gear

In 2010 I completed 4 more Terry Macdonald novels plus I revised one of the older stories.

Since I has written the first 35 books by hand in pen, I had always wanted to go back and revise some of the older titles and while revising them by typing on the computer, I would fix up some of the old plot holes and freshen up the prose. My writing was improving every year and I was finally at at place where I felt I could add something to the older stories. Lengthen them and correct plot errors and flesh out the characters more.

The first book I revised in 2010 was "Disappearing Act" written in 2000. It was one of my favourites of the earlier stories and wouldn't need to be changed too much. The biggest change was naturally changing from third person to first person POV. I had actually started typing out this story a few years before I had changed to first person POV so I had to scour the manuscript and change all the third person POV references to first person POV.

I completed this revised story in 2010 along with the aforementioned four new ones. "The Vanishing Signal" was an interesting story as it dealt a little with bullying. "The Shock Wave Mystery" followed and took place in Australia. I used Google street view to get a feel for the area I was writing about, the Gold Coast in Eastern Australia near Brisbane.

The next story, "Mystery Of The Knight's Sword" was also interesting as one of the character's was an author and she had a germ phobia.

A title that I had thought up years before and always liked was "The Stowaway Cruise". I finally had a chance to use it in 2010. It was a good story as well.

The next year. 2011 only one story was completed in Terry Macdonald series, "Rock'n'Revenge".  I was dabbling with other writing and was going through a bit of a dry spell. But I would make up for it the following year.

2012 was a banner year for Terry Macdonald and his friends. I finished 10 new stories this year as well as revising a further 2 more. A total of 12 stories that year. I have not had that big a year writing since(n titles), although I've come close. According to my files, I wrote 129,000 words that year. (Well I probably typed many more but due to errors, that was the amount of the finished stories). In 2015 I wrote more words (but the reason for that I will explain more in depth in a later post)

The two that I revised in 2012, were "The Samurai Sword Mystery" and "The Spine Chilling Challenge", two of my favourites of the older stories.

As for the new stuff, I went from writing #54 to #63 during the year. And the other amazing thing is that some of these stories remain my favourites.

First off, I wrote "The Witch Doctor's Mask" in January of that year. Also in January I wrote one my all time favourite stories, "The Captive Missile". Sometimes I take a chance on a plot point and sometimes it works out and sometimes it falls flat. In this story it worked out and I love this story. it takes place in the Arctic, one of my favourite locales to use (don't know why this is).

In February I wrote 4 more novels, "Secret of the Stone Idol" which featured bullying at Port Salser Collegiate. Another new character was created. Danny Michaelson is a student at the high school who is bullied by air head jock Daryl Peters. Danny becomes friends with Terry and shows up in some of the newer stories.

"The Sport Card Conspiracy" featured Van and his hockey team, the Port Salser Porcupines. The next story has the distinction of being the fastest story written. It took me only 3 days, Feb 15-17, 2012 to write "Danger At Daredevil's Peak" which was about skateboarding. This book also had the distinction of being the 58th book in the series, which matches the number of books in the Hardy Boys Original Canon.

"The Crime Lab Caper" followed in February also, and the introduction of two new characters, Toby Gellart and Marnie Tobolowski. They are two post grad students who work in the crime lab that Mr. Macdonald opens up in this book.

I took a bit of a break after these stories. After all 4 books in one month is a lot of words. The last 4 books I wrote in 2012 were during NaNoWriMo that year.

The next book I had high ambitions for but the story fell victim to taking too many risks with the plot. Sometimes there are titles that I have for years and don't feel inspired to use so they sit on my title list. Other times I think up a title right away and am inspired to write a story to match. Such was the case with "Tick Tock Terror". I thought the title was cool, and wanted to do something a little different. I had an idea that each of Terry's friends would disappear and he would have a time limit to find them. I used the idea in this story, but the ending didn't quite come together like I planned. Still I'm glad I tried it. It was an experiment and I have to keep pushing myself or the writing gets stale.

The next story "The Dangerous Deception" was also a little different. It took place in Prague and again I used Google street view to help with researching the story. "Riddle of the Headless Rider" was an ambitious title but actually just refers to a school play that Terry is directing. I added some drama in that Terry and Melissa break up briefly due to Terry being jealous but also his arch enemy Daryl Peters, a character I created back in 2006, sticking his nose in and creating trouble for Terry.

Finally in 2012 I wrote "Cyber Phantoms" another title I just thought up and wanted to write a story right away. This one is another of my favourites.

So 2012 was very productive. I now had 63 Terry Macdonald Mysteries. The following year I would make another change to the series...but more about that in my next post.

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