This is a guest blog from Greg Moriarty who attended my fiction workshop in 2011 and recently self-published his crime novel. You can find out more about his book HERE
Writing & Publishing my crime novel – The Swap
Developing the idea
The idea for my novel had just come to me when I took Amanda’s ‘Write a Page Turner’ workshop at the NSW Writers’ Centre in 2011. Those two days were the first time I had aired my writing, the plot and the book title – and the environment felt safe to do so. A combination of the workshop and the group’s sharing of ideas inspired me to push on and finish the first draft.
To come up with twists and storyline, I found Julia Cameron’s morning pages invaluable. I would ask the question ‘what next?’ and the pages would throw me an answer. It’s one of the best tools I’ve ever used.
I wouldn’t say I was consistent in my dedication to writing a novel. But outside of work commitments, I managed to keep at it. In the writing workshops I deliver, it gets a giggle when I tell people my surname and add that I write crime fiction. I found regularly telling people I was writing a novel definitely motivated me.
Once I’d completed the first draft, I got a manuscript assessment through the NSW Writers’ Centre. The reviewer praised some of the plot elements and gave me pointers on atmosphere and setting, which led to another revision.
Handing a draft over to my sister-in-law’s book club was a major turning point. Before this, I thought I had carved out a new genre – the thriller without any thrills. But what the reading group confirmed was that there were indeed one or two thrilly bits tucked in there. The group’s feedback – the glowing and the constructive – gave me the impetus to complete a further two revisions.
The best remarks commended the final twist, which served as a huge pat on the back. The toughest comments to accept were about my ‘two-dimensional’ characters. But I even managed to turn that into a positive – it was after all one more dimension than I had written into them!
Since I was about 13, I’ve wanted to write a crime novel. So this project of mine has mainly been about realising that dream, and not necessarily about becoming a marketable novelist. Having taken four years to complete the book, I didn’t fancy waiting for publishers to accept or reject it. So I took on the job of self-publishing.
Exploring e-books and print on demand felt right, given my personal reasons for writing fiction. And browsing for a book cover was satisfying after all the hard work of writing.
As daunting as it is, reading the online reviews has been thrilling. I relish feeding off readers’ enjoyment of the story and the Goodreads giveaway feature is perfect for this.
It turns out my harshest critic has been a dear friend, whose surname happens to be Holmes. Once again, Moriarty and Holmes ‘collide’.