Her tenth thriller, HAVANA LOST is a stand-alone historical novel set largely in Cuba and is garnering advanced praise. “A riveting historical thriller… this multi-generational page-turner is packed with intrigue and shocking plot twists…” Booklist. “A many layered adventure… smart writing done in accomplished style by an author who never talks down to her readers.” Mystery Scene Magazine.
Libby also writes two crime series, one with hard-boiled PI Georgia Davis, the other with video producer and amateur sleuth Ellie Foreman, which Libby describes as “Desperate Housewives” meets “24.” Her short story collection, NICE GIRL DOES NOIR, was released in 2010. She has also written a cozy novella, THE LAST PAGE, and a police procedural, TOXICITY. She has been nominated twice for the Anthony Award, once for the Agatha, and has won the Lovey Award multiple times.
We were so pleased Libby agreed to guest with WU again. “I’ve always wanted to find a “System” for writing and editing my work,” she says. “Nancy Pickard’s CASTS is the closest (and simplest) method I’ve come across. I’m delighted to share it with other fiction writers.
Take it away, Libby!
Arm Yourself with CASTS
Hi, all. And thanks, Writers Unboxed, for hosting me again.
I’m very excited to share with you a structure for both writing and editing a chapter of your novel. We’ve all been schooled in introductions, conclusions, and the overall flow of a novel. But what about individual chapters, which, after all, are the building blocks of your story? Is there a format? How do you know if you’re doing it right? Frankly, that’s usually where I have problems.
But now there’s a solution. It’s called CASTS and I use it all the time. It’s a terrific vehicle, and I wish I could claim credit for inventing it. But I didn’t. CASTS is the brainchild of mystery author Nancy Pickard, whose amazing suspense novel, THE VIRGIN OF SMALL PLAINS won the Kansas Book of the Year when it was published in 2007. Her subsequent novel, THE SCENT OF RAIN AND LIGHTNING has also been highly acclaimed. Nancy says she figured it out while editing and revising those books.
It’s deceptively simple, and yet you could spend hours doing it. Indeed, Nancy conducts workshops on how to use CASTS effectively, but she’s given me permission to share it with you. And although this is not a workshop, I think you’ll get the idea. I’ll also share her sure-fire way to test whether you’ve done it right.
CASTS is an acronym for the following elements all of which are critical to a powerful chapter. [Read more…]