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Thursday, 13 October 2016

✉ The Lizard's Tale - Kurt Kamm

Today author takes over our blog to tell us about his latest novel, The Lizard's Tale (, MCM Publishing, 210 pages), an International Crime Thriller.

“An exciting trip through the violent world of the drug cartels. Realistic enough to be true.” - MIKE BANSMER, DEA Special Agent, ret.


Synopsis | Teaser: KCR Preview | Guest Post: Plot & Character Development | About the Author | Giveaway & Tour Stops


Plot & Character Development - How (Not?) To Write A Novel


It is important to have a plot before you start writing a novel—right? Can you set out to write 60,000 – 80,000 words without having a detailed story in mind? What about the characters? Shouldn't you have a complete list, along with an outline of their personalities and physical descriptions?

Maybe. Maybe not.

I have read that some mystery writers develop incredibly detailed plot outlines before starting their novels. Some even supposedly plan every chapter and each event within the chapter. The Lizard's Tale is my sixth mystery, and I have never started with anything more than a basic plot idea. Several times, I resolved to develop a detailed outline before beginning to write, and found that I simply could not do it. All I have ever been able capable of is beginning with a main idea—in The Lizard's Tale, a secret shipment is sent by a drug cartel from Guatemala via Mexico to California—and then sitting down and writing about it.

I have found that my plots unfold as I begin to write. This is where imagination comes into play. You start with a few words about what is happening, and the action begins to unfold. You are drawn into it and begin to visualize what comes next. The same applies to my characters. I always begin with a couple of two dimensional individuals—or an individual and a reptile—and stick them in the action. Soon they fill out. They begin to live their own lives, make their own decisions, involve their own friends and enemies, and create their own crises. At that point, I become no more than their mouthpiece—they determine their own courses of action and tell me what to put down on paper.

I wouldn't tell you that this is a perfect process—there is a lot of cutting and pasting, and revision. But it works. Sometimes partway through a novel my characters paint themselves into a corner. If that occurs, I may have to stop writing for days at a time and just try to think through what will happen next in the story. Usually, if I concentrate on my character's personalities, and think about what they would do, the solution becomes apparent.

I find that as the novel progresses, it builds momentum, and about halfway through, I am suddenly immersed in a complex story with multiple individuals. During the day, when I am not writing, I often think about each character, and try to imagine what he (she) is thinking and doing. By the end of the novel, I am close friends with 2-3 of my leading individuals, and I often miss them when I finish writing about them. When I look back on each story, I am often amazed at the number of twists and turns, and the events that I never could have imagined at the beginning.

The Lizard's Tale has been a particular surprise. Who ever heard of a Guatemalan Beaded Lizard as the protagonist of a novel? I didn't plan it that way, and to be honest, the lizard and I never became the best of friends. I hope you enjoy reading The Lizard's Tale.

The Lizard's Tale
Available NOW!

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4 comments:

  1. Good morning and thank you for hosting me and my new novel, THE LIZARD'S TALE. Most reviewers call my work "FACTION" because it is fact based fiction. Anyone who reads this book could easily believe it is true.
    The book is full of fascinating characters, including the orphan from Mexico and his lizard, DEA Agents, Narcos, firefighters, and some great women.
    Here's an excerpt from the flashback which reveals why Jorge, the orphan, is such a strange child and why he is fascinated with lizards--:

    Six years had passed and the details of his mother’s face were beginning to blur in his memory, but he could recall every detail of the night she died. He also remembered the tattoo—a skull surrounded by barbed wire—inked on the back of the neck of the man who killed her.
    “Puta.”
    When the man spoke, Jorge had edged farther under the bed.
    The room was filled with the lemon scent his mamá wore when she worked, and the odor of rancid sweat from the naked body grinding away on top of her. The man, who had come many times to visit his mother, intensified his efforts. The bed shook and the sagging web of springs holding the filthy mattress pressed down on top of Jorge. In a few months, he would be six—too big to crawl under his mother’s bed.
    A cuiza, a small, unremarkable gray-green gecko, crawled through the dust on the concrete floor under the bed, trapped between Jorge and the wall.
    “No, dammit, no, no,” the man bellowed. The bed stopped swaying.
    Jorge heard the sound of a hand slapping flesh and his mamá whimpered.
    “You pig,” the man said. “Do better than that. Damn you.”
    The second impact was louder, harder. Jorge heard her high-pitched cry. He reached for the gecko and it flattened itself against the concrete, remaining motionless in the dust. Its head was inches from Jorge's face. He looked at its black eyes and it stared back. A live insect—a tiny fly—struggled in its jaws. The little lizard swallowed the insect.
    The man became furious and the blows were more powerful. This had happened before, but it had never gone on so long or sounded so brutal. His mother’s cries turned to screams and Jorge tried not to listen. He grabbed the cuiza's tail with his fingers.
    The gecko made a chirping sound—chik, chik, chik—shed its tail, and skittered away.
    The force of the final blow knocked his mamá off the bed. From his hiding place, Jorge saw the brown skin of her naked back as she lay on the floor. He watched the man’s bare foot poke her and then push her body aside before he walked out the room. When Jorge crawled out from under the bed, he saw the blood dripping from his mother’s face, collecting in a small red pool on the floor. He wanted to wake her, but his brain no longer controlled his voice. His throat was frozen—no words came. Jorge lay down on the floor, curled up next to his mamá, and cried silent tears. Above him, he saw the tailless gecko climbing the bedroom wall.

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  2. congrats on the tour and thanks for the chance to win :)

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