Inspiration for a Novel by Earl Staggs
INSPIRATION FOR A NOVEL
On the first night, the instructor announced, “By the end of this class, each of you will have written a short mystery story.”
Wow. When I signed up for a writing class at the community college, I thought someone was going to teach me how to write, not make me write something right away. Okay, I decided, she’s a writing professor and if she says we can do it, we can.
We had to come up with a protagonist, of course. After a lot of thought, I decided to write about a private eye with a psychic gift. I’d always been interested in psychic phenomena and loved reading about real-life psychics using their gift to help law enforcement agencies solve crimes. I named him Adam Kingston. He wouldn’t see dead people. A medium does that, not a psychic. When he touched an object related to a crime or visited a crime scene, he would receive fleeting images which might lead him in the right direction or might only confuse him. That’s how it is with real-life psychics. Sometimes they don’t understand what they see. As Adam himself explains, “It’s not an exact science.”
By the end of the class, as the instructor said, I finished my short story. I called it “The Missing Sniper.” After a few rejections, followed by lots and lots of rewrites, the story was accepted by both a print magazine and an ezine and appeared in both at the same time. Never before or since then have I known that to happen.
I received a lot of excellent feedback about the story. People seemed to like Adam Kingston and how he used his gift. That led me to the crazy idea of featuring him in a novel. That’s when I learned how little I knew about writing a book.
For the next couple years, I read a lot of books telling how to write books as I pushed ahead one chapter at a time. Eventually, after what seemed like a lifetime in rewrite hell, my novel was finished. Another two years dragged by before MEMORY OF A MURDER was actually published, and I’m happy to say it received a long list of Five Star reviews.
You can read Chapter One of MEMORY OF A MURDER on my website at http://earlwstaggs.wordpress.com
The short story that inspired me to write the novel, is available now in ebook form. “The Missing Sniper” costs $1.15 to download to any ereader at: http://bit.ly/zTaHfT
If you like short mysteries, you can check out SHORT STORIES OF EARL STAGGS, a collection of sixteen of my published stories at: http://tinyurl.com/7fz8u6m on sale for $0.99 until the end of April.
Derringer Award winning author Earl Staggs has seen many of his short stories published in magazines and anthologies. His novel MEMORY OF A MURDER earned a long list of Five Star reviews. He served as Managing Editor of Futures Mystery Magazine and as President of the Short Mystery Fiction Society. He is also a contributing blog member of Murderous Musings and Make Mine Mystery and is a frequent speaker at conferences and writers groups. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://earlwstaggs.wordpress.com
Thank you, Marilyn, for hosting me here today. And thanks to everyone who stopped by. Please leave a comment and you’ll be entered in a drawing on April 29. The first name drawn will receive a signed copy of MEMORY OF A MURDER. The second name drawn will have a choice of a print or ebook copy of SHORT STORIES OF EARL STAGGS.
(Did you notice on Earl's book cover, one eye is blue, the other brown? As the kids would say, way cool.)