Thursday, 2 August 2012

Voyage Of Discovery by Zoe Sharp

Voyage of Discovery by

He says, “People like you are the scum of the earth,” and Angel smiles at him.

Yesterday (Wednesday) was not only the start of new month but for me it was also the start of a new project. So far, what you see above is the opening line, but I recognize that by the time I reach the end it may well have changed. In fact, the scene I’ve been writing may not be the opening scene any longer, and even the present-tense narrative may not survive the first draft.

But at the moment I’m still in that excited-but-scared-witless stage I always get at the beginning of a new book. Finding the right jumping-in point to the story, working out how to best get across the characters and their situations without piling on loads of superfluous backstory. And above all trying to craft something that fits with my hopes and expectations for the work. Vague half-formed ideas and snatches of dialogue always seem so much better before you trap them into an orderly narrative.

Maybe this time I’ll manage a little more ‘jump first, worry about the parachute later’ ― much like the main character, Angel.

What makes it a little more daunting is that this book is not part of my ongoing series―of which DIE EASY: Charlie Fox book ten will be published in Oct (UK) and Jan (US). Instead, I’m striking out with a new character, a new setting for the first of what I very much hope will be a trilogy. (And Angel is a she not a he, in case you were wondering.) I may be branching out on something new, but I’m sticking with a strong female protagonist which, I hope, is one of the reasons people read and enjoy my books.

But here I am now right at the start of my three-leg voyage, with a reasonable idea of my eventual destination and the ports of call along the way. I don’t have a full fixed outline, though, and that in itself is slightly scary. I like to work from a detailed chart. This time I have a few notes and a sextant ― which will tell me where I am, but not necessarily where I’m going!

If things progress even halfway according to plan, it’s going to be a short, sharp and possibly bumpy ride ― think the Southern Ocean rather than the Norfolk Broads. I’ve set myself a deadline of the beginning of October to complete the bones of the tale. Two months. That’s a tough schedule by anyone’s standards. I don’t know yet if I can do it, but sometimes you just have to take the challenge and give it your best shot.

I don’t even have a fixed title, because this time it’s not a case of simply naming one book ― I have to fit that into a set of three. They need to make sense both individually and as a whole, relating to each other as well as the stories that make up the overall arc.

But I do have a firm picture of Angel Cain, who I tried out in the CWA short story anthology, ORIGINAL SINS. She looks at life with a devil-may-care gleam in her eye and a reckless intensity that makes Charlie Fox seem quite restrained by comparison. As a travelling companion, I think she’s going to be a blast ― if she doesn’t get me killed first.

One thing’s for sure, though, I’m sure as hell looking forward to the journey.

Please excuse a bit of BSP, but this week also saw the publication of FIFTH VICTIM: Charlie Fox book nine in UK paperback format, with a stunning new cover. And the opening line?

‘The only thing more terrifying than fighting for your life is fighting for someone else’s.’

This week’s Word of the Week is corbie, a Scots dialect word for a raven or crow. From this is also a corbie messenger which is a messenger who returns too late, or not at all.


  1. Looking forward to it! Bon voyage on the new journey.

  2. Sounds awesome. Good luck in your writings.

    1. Thanks, Katrina. I'm hoping for a month of head-down, full-tilt to get a really good start made.

      It's a nice theory, anyway :)

  3. Nice post, Zoe. I can fully appreciate that 'excited-but-scared-witless' thing. And of course I look forward to your new trilogy.

    1. Hi Bobby. Yeah, when you have nothing in front of you except a blank file with a cursor sitting in the top left-hand corner, taunting you, it's somewhat daunting!

      But I think I got my head into gear today, which is a relief.

  4. Zoe, this is my favorite part of writing a book, when it's all potential energy and I haven't made any mistakes yet. I wish you all good speed on the voyage, and I'm sure you'll bring an unforgettable new character to us.

  5. Hi Tim. Thanks for stopping by and for the kind words. I see Angel as 'Charlie with the brakes off'. Let's see if I can do her justice ...

  6. My favorite part of writing a new book is that opening scene. It might take me what seems like forever, but I have the most fun doing it! Good luck on the new venture.

  7. Thanks, Carrie Lynn

    Writing that first chapter always takes me the longest because I find if the entry-point into the story isn't correct, the whole thing falls.

    Good luck with your own project :)