Novel Navigation – Intro

Good morning, my dear readers!

I decided to try something new this week. Recently, I was commissioned to ghostwrite a crime novel, the first gig of its kind for me.

It’s an exciting yet intimidating prospect, to be sure. I’ve wanted to write a crime novel of my own for quite some time, and though my name in all likelihood won’t be credited on this particular book, I find it valuable due to the “practice” it offers me before I write a story of my own.

I thought it would be to my benefit and hopefully yours as well to periodically chronicle my journey through the novel writing process.

long journey ahead snail road

And, brother, is it going to be a long one…

Here’s how it worked: I was given a very brief launching point. It spoke more about the main character and her appearance and some of her eccentricities than it did the plot itself. That gives me a fair bit of freedom when it comes to how the story will unfold.

Having this much freedom is rather nice and isn’t always afforded to me, depending on what kind of gigs I land. With the free rein, though, comes a great deal of responsibility. The absence of strict structure means I’ll have to build up all that much more, which is, as I said, both exciting and daunting at the same time.

For the crime novel, I think a good way to start is with a string of questions. The questions list will likely grow as the novel goes on and it might be a good way to close up plot holes before they happen. I’m not going to say much about the plot itself at this point, but it’s a murder mystery.

To lay the foundation, I’ll have to ask the basic questions:

1. What happened?

2. Who did it happen to?

3. Where did it happen?

4. Why did it happen?

5. How did it happen?

My degree is in journalism, and those of you who write or have written for newspapers before recognize the basic “who, what, where” questions.This establishes the whole point of the story, and as a journalist, I love to just get right to the point.

From there, the basic questions break off into even more detailed questions. How was where it happened significant? What triggered the motive? The list goes on and on.

The approach I plan to use is to sift through a few layers of questions centering around the murder and flesh out a deeper plot and character development from there. It’s almost like I’m building a giant dartboard, starting with the bullseye and working my way out.


I really hope that didn’t come off as pretentious.

This is my first novel, like I said. I hope as I continue to learn and grow that you would continue to learn and grow with me. If you have any tips when it comes to writing a crime novel or any other novel, please feel free to leave them in the comments below!

Thanks for stopping by! See you next week, and Happy Writing!

– Adam

(Photo credits:


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