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Stanley_Trollip
Posts: 15
Registered: ‎04-29-2010
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Re: One-Day Feature - Please Welcome MICHAEL STANLEY!

We were friends for over 25 years before we started writing together.  However, we had the idea for A CARRION DEATH about twenty years before we started writing it - after all we are academics and want to consider everything carefully.

 

The original idea came on a safari we were enjoying in the Chobe National Park in Botswana. We saw a pack of hyenas hunt, kill, and devour a wildebeest, leaving only the horns and hoofs.  'Aha," we said. "If we ever want to get rid of a body, this is the way to do it.  The hyenas would eat everything, bones included.  No body, no case!"

 

Se we pondered the matter, and about 20 years later, we started writing.  We never thought other than to write together.  After all, we had been on the same trip when the idea emerged.

 

Stanley

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becke_davis
Posts: 35,755
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: One-Day Feature - Please Welcome MICHAEL STANLEY!


Stanley_Trollip wrote:

We were friends for over 25 years before we started writing together.  However, we had the idea for A CARRION DEATH about twenty years before we started writing it - after all we are academics and want to consider everything carefully.

 

The original idea came on a safari we were enjoying in the Chobe National Park in Botswana. We saw a pack of hyenas hunt, kill, and devour a wildebeest, leaving only the horns and hoofs.  'Aha," we said. "If we ever want to get rid of a body, this is the way to do it.  The hyenas would eat everything, bones included.  No body, no case!"

 

Se we pondered the matter, and about 20 years later, we started writing.  We never thought other than to write together.  After all, we had been on the same trip when the idea emerged.

 

Stanley


What a fabulous story! Thanks so much for sharing it with us. I can see why you haven't forgotten your inspiration - it would be difficult to forget something like that!

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becke_davis
Posts: 35,755
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: One-Day Feature - Please Welcome MICHAEL STANLEY!

Please note: Since the site was down for part of the day, I'm extending this feature over the weekend. Stop in and chat with "Michael Stanley!"

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becke_davis
Posts: 35,755
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: One-Day Feature - Please Welcome MICHAEL STANLEY!

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becke_davis
Posts: 35,755
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: One-Day Feature - Please Welcome MICHAEL STANLEY!

Hi Stanley and Michael - I hope you don't mind if I ask a few more questions about your writing process. It always fascinates me to find out how authors work. Do you both write in the same style - i.e. either plotting the book out in advance or writing generically? Does one of you come up with the spark of an idea and then you both brainstorm, or do you take every step in tandem?

 

I don't remember if I asked about what you're working on now. Can you tell us anything about it or is it too soon to say?

 

Also, I like your book titles. Do you come up with those or does your publisher make those decisions?

 

I hope you're having a good weekend! I'm in Chicago, where it's still a little cool but at least the sun is out today.

Author
Stanley_Trollip
Posts: 15
Registered: ‎04-29-2010
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Re: One-Day Feature - Please Welcome MICHAEL STANLEY!

There are two broad categories of writer - plotters (those who outline beforehand) and Pantsers (those who write by the seat of their pants).  We've been both.  A CARRION DEATH - our first book - was definitely a pantser.  We didn't know what we were doing and bumbled along, throwing away at least as many words as we kept.  THE SECOND DEATH OF GOOD LUCK TINUBU was a plotter.  We had been so inefficient with A CARRION DEATH that we thought we had better grow up and behave like mature writers.  It worked very well, and we thought we now knew how to write.

 

DEATH OF THE MANTIS started as a plotter, but about 3 months into the book, we realised that the plot wasn't going to work. We originally had two plot strands that were going to come to together in a wonderful denouement.  So we threw away one strand and pntsed the rest of the book.  DEADLY HARVEST was largely pantsed.  We knew who the bad guy was, what sort of crimes were committed, and so on, but none of the details.  We ended up about a month from our deadline not knowing how to catch the bad guy!  We had made him too clever.  Obviously we eventually solved that problem with days to spare.

 

We have started Kubu #5 - no title yet - and are pantsing it. All we can say is that it has as a backstory a current issue that Botswana is facing.

 

We like pantsing - it is like an adventure, not knowing what's coming up.  It can also be daunting and difficult, and sometimes you paint yourself into a corner.  Michael's solution for dead-ends is to kill someone.  I prefer a more gentle way out!

 

We came up with the titles for the first three books, but struggled on the fourth.  So we ran a contest among our readers and received over a hundred suggestions.  We compiled a lisst of our favorite ten or so and sent them to our editor.  She picked DEADLY HARVEST, which was also one we liked.  Our British editor did not like THE SECOND DEATH OF GOOD LUCK TINUBU and changed it to A DEADLY TRADE, which was OK.

 

I think we had frost here last night in Minneapolis.  We thought we were leaving fall in South Africa to  come to a glorious spring in Minnesota.  We both arrived in snow storms!  Humph!

 

Stanley - (Michael would join this conversation but, for reasons we cannot figure out, is unable to get into the system to be able to comment.  Sigh.)

Moderator
becke_davis
Posts: 35,755
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: One-Day Feature - Please Welcome MICHAEL STANLEY!


Stanley_Trollip wrote:

There are two broad categories of writer - plotters (those who outline beforehand) and Pantsers (those who write by the seat of their pants).  We've been both.  A CARRION DEATH - our first book - was definitely a pantser.  We didn't know what we were doing and bumbled along, throwing away at least as many words as we kept.  THE SECOND DEATH OF GOOD LUCK TINUBU was a plotter.  We had been so inefficient with A CARRION DEATH that we thought we had better grow up and behave like mature writers.  It worked very well, and we thought we now knew how to write.

 

DEATH OF THE MANTIS started as a plotter, but about 3 months into the book, we realised that the plot wasn't going to work. We originally had two plot strands that were going to come to together in a wonderful denouement.  So we threw away one strand and pntsed the rest of the book.  DEADLY HARVEST was largely pantsed.  We knew who the bad guy was, what sort of crimes were committed, and so on, but none of the details.  We ended up about a month from our deadline not knowing how to catch the bad guy!  We had made him too clever.  Obviously we eventually solved that problem with days to spare.

 

We have started Kubu #5 - no title yet - and are pantsing it. All we can say is that it has as a backstory a current issue that Botswana is facing.

 

We like pantsing - it is like an adventure, not knowing what's coming up.  It can also be daunting and difficult, and sometimes you paint yourself into a corner.  Michael's solution for dead-ends is to kill someone.  I prefer a more gentle way out!

 

We came up with the titles for the first three books, but struggled on the fourth.  So we ran a contest among our readers and received over a hundred suggestions.  We compiled a lisst of our favorite ten or so and sent them to our editor.  She picked DEADLY HARVEST, which was also one we liked.  Our British editor did not like THE SECOND DEATH OF GOOD LUCK TINUBU and changed it to A DEADLY TRADE, which was OK.

 

I think we had frost here last night in Minneapolis.  We thought we were leaving fall in South Africa to  come to a glorious spring in Minnesota.  We both arrived in snow storms!  Humph!

 

Stanley - (Michael would join this conversation but, for reasons we cannot figure out, is unable to get into the system to be able to comment.  Sigh.)


Minneapolis - like Chicago - isn't safe from snow until about June, and even then it can be iffy. 

 

As to the plotting vs. pantsing, I used to think the mystery genre would require extensive plotting. Since then I've learned a LOT of mystery authors are pantsers. Maybe that's why I like mysteries so much - they can surprise even the people who write them!

Distinguished Wordsmith
maxcat
Posts: 4,012
Registered: ‎11-01-2006
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Re: One-Day Feature - Please Welcome MICHAEL STANLEY!

Welcome, Michael and Stanley, your books sound interesting. Though I've not read any of them, I will give them a chance. Thanks for being on the forum.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep - Robert Frost
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becke_davis
Posts: 35,755
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: One-Day Feature - Please Welcome MICHAEL STANLEY!

Michael and Stanley - Thank you so much for visiting with us! I'm sorry your visit was plagued by technical difficulties. I hope you'll come back and visit again!

 

Distinguished Bibliophile
Ryan_G
Posts: 3,295
Registered: ‎10-24-2008
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Re: One-Day Feature - Please Welcome MICHAEL STANLEY!

I adore this series, though I've only read two of the books, Death of the Mantis and Deadly Harvest.

 

I have a giveaway going on for Deadly Harvest if anyone is interested:

 

http://wordsmithonia.blogspot.com/2013/05/deadly-harvest-by-michael-stanley-plus.html

"I am half sick of shadows" The Lady of Shalott

http://wordsmithonia.blogspot.com