Sunday Sample

Something I’ve been meaning to do for a while now here on Arcbookblog is put up a regular sample to show where I am with my writing. I have a bad habit of procrastinating, however, with the result that I haven’t done as intended – I’m changing that today, though.

Without further ado, here is my first Sunday Sample, it’s chapter 33 of Where There’s A Will, which has just received it’s first editing pass of three (just to be sure there are no typos or other errors that readers wouldn’t like)


Stone was in his office, reading the reports from his various teams when he received the summons. He had spoken to the DCI after the briefing earlier, so he couldn’t imagine what his superior needed to see him about urgently – if there had been any developments, he should have been notified before the DCI.
“Nate, we’ve got a problem,” Collins said without preamble.
Another one, Stone couldn’t help thinking, after an armed robbery; a hit-and-run and a kidnapping in less than a week, he could only wonder what else had happened. “What sort of problem, sir?” he asked.
“I understand Detective Grey told you he couldn’t find DS Mason earlier.” Stone responded in the affirmative. “Well he’s been found; it seems he was on the way to work when he witnessed a purse snatching – he left his car and gave chase; unfortunately, during the chase he fell down the steps of the East Walk Underpass, broke his leg and knocked himself out. While he was out of it someone, presumably the purse snatcher, took his wallet and mobile, not to mention his keys, warrant card and cuffs.
“Which is why we’ve only just found out where he is. Once he woke up he was able to tell people who he is, and let us know where he is. Apparently, he’s going to be out of action for about two months, perhaps longer, which, I’m afraid to say, means you’re going to have to take over the investigation into the festival robbery and the hit-and-run, while running the kidnapping.”
“That’s not going to be easy, sir,” Stone said. He didn’t like the thought of trying to run two important investigations simultaneously.
“I appreciate that, Nate, but there’s nothing to be done about it,” Collins told his inspector. “Both the festival robbery and the Keating kidnapping are too important to leave to a junior officer. I’m sure between you and Stephen you’ll manage.” He had confidence in Stone. “You’re both very good officers, and you’re making good progress with the kidnapping.”
Stone recognised the compliment for the flattery it was, still, he accepted it with a nod of gratitude. “I’ll do my best, sir,” he said. “As will Steven.”
“I’m glad to hear it. Now, you’d better check in with Grey, I believe he’s made some progress with the festival investigation.”
Stone nodded. “Yes, sir, he called me earlier. He had a couple of witnesses come forward first thing this morning with a description of the car used in the hit-and-run, they were also able to provide the license number of the vehicle, apparently.”
“I know; things have progressed beyond that, however. I don’t know the details; you’ll have to check with Grey to get them, but I do know he’s been busy while we tried to locate Mason.”
“Before you go,” Collins stopped Stone as he was heading for the door. “You should know, I was forced to release Ben Logan earlier, his solicitor was kind enough to point out that he had been in custody for twenty-four hours. I reviewed the evidence, but there wasn’t enough to charge him, or to justify keeping him for any longer.
“I realise he’s almost certainly the second person from the festival,” he said quickly to forestall a protest that Stone showed no sign of actually making. “But right now there’s no evidence to back that up. I hope you also realise that there’s only five or six hours left for you to find enough evidence to charge Jerry Logan, and David Ashford; if you can’t they’ll have to be released as well.”
“Surely there’s enough circumstantial evidence to justify holding Jerry for another twenty-four hours,” Stone said, “even if we can’t yet charge him.”
Collins looked dubious. “I’ll review the evidence an hour before he has to be released,” he said. “But right now, I’ll probably order his release, unless you can come up with something more definite than you currently have – the identification of Jerry Logan from his tattoo is far too tentative, while the lack of a confirmed alibi means nothing, since you can’t prove he was involved with the robbery. “As for Mr Ashford – you have no evidence against him whatsoever.”
Stone accepted that with a nod. “I’ll see what I can come up with between now and seven. Since Mason didn’t make it to work this morning, I believe Jerry Logan and Mr Ashford are still waiting to be questioned; I’ll make that a priority while Inspector Evans is able to keep an eye on things at the Keatings’, he should be able to handle anything that comes up until I can get there.”

I hope you like it, and it whets your appetite- if you’d like to read more of the book, which has been nominated for an Ethereal award, you can read the unedited version on Wattpad

My Writing Process

I was thinking about random things this morning, as you do, and for some reason I realised I that I have an actual process when it comes to my writing. It’s not something I’ve thought about before, but I’ve decided to share it here, in case it might be of interest to any of you.


The Idea

I can get an idea for a novel just about anywhere, and I frequently get several every day. When I do I normally file it away in the back of my mind, unless I’m near my ideas pad, in which case I scribble down the basics of it – the ideas pad is used mostly as a aide-de-memoire, as they say. I don’t like to put too much down at this stage because it takes me away from whatever I might be doing at the time.


When I’m ready to work on an idea I sit down with a pad and pen and start plotting out the idea I’ve decided to go with (sometimes the hardest thing I have to do is work out which of my numerous ideas I’m going to write next).

First off I sketch out the broad strokes of the idea: how it starts and where it’s going to end, and I give names to the main characters. Once that’s done and I have the beginning and the end, I put those sheets to one side and start again, plotting out the book in more detail, and beginning to separate it into possible scenes, as well as deciding on details about the main characters and creating outlines for the more minor characters.


I nearly always (sometimes circumstances force me to work differently) write my first draft by hand, using a fountain pen – I don’t know why, but it just doesn’t feel like I’m a proper writer unless I’m using a fountain pen, which isn’t always easy since I’m a leftie and constantly in danger of smudging what I write.

While I am writing the first draft I’m inclined to scribble on any and all scraps of paper that come to hand, including bus tickets, receipts and loo roll – it all depends on where I am and what’s available when a scene comes to mind. Once I get home and I’m at my desk with my pad and fountain pen I begin to assemble my notes into a proper draft, though at this stage there’s still a strong possibility that scenes will need to be moved around and possibly even removed.

When the first draft is done I go back to the beginning. The second draft is where I start to put my book on the computer; as I type up the handwritten version I make whatever adjustments I need to a scene, whether that means expanding what I’ve written, removing bits or even removing the scene, in some cases I’ve had to rewrite a scene entirely. I also work on ensuring the all the scenes are in the right order and adding any I feel are needed to fill gaps I might have left.

The third and final draft is more about tightening up what I’ve already written than anything else


I have some experience in editing so I’m able to do this myself, which is just as well since I can’t afford to pay for the services of a professional editor, though I am still refining the best process for doing this efficiently without missing any problems.

First off, I read through to make sure I haven’t made any continuity errors, such as incorrect names, places, or times, I also check that the story reads smoothly without any jarring elements. This can include removing unnecessary stuff – padding – and tweaking sentences to eliminate some of the duplicated words and make it all flow better.

The second run through is done with the text set to double line spacing to create a gap between lines make it easier to focus on each line separately while I look for typographical and punctuation errors.

The third run through is the same, except done with the text set to treble line spacing.

When I have completed all three editing passes I print the novel off and hand it over to a trusted family member who reads through it to make sure I haven’t missed any mistakes and there are no continuity errors that escaped me.

This is my writing process. The process is different for everyone, and all you can do is find the process that works best for you – there may be something in how I do things that would work for you, and maybe there isn’t.