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WRITING WORKSHOP FROM AMERICAN SUSPENSE AUTHOR MICHAEL MURPHY

American suspense author Michael Murphy is back today for a second guest post. He is going to give a writing workshop, based on his class You Too Can Write a Nove. Here’s Michael:

Six tips to get you started, keep you going and finish a novel.
What’s the most common statement I get when people learn I’ve had seven novels published?   “I’ve always wanted to write a novel, but I could never do it.”

People who love to write often conclude they don’t have what it takes to write a seventy-thousand word (or more) novel.  I tell them what I’ve learned from becoming a novelist.

The basic component of a novel is not a sentence or paragraph. The basic component is a scene.  In school teachers often gave assignments to write a five-hundred word theme. We got through it right?  If you can write a five hundred-word theme, you can write a five hundred word scene. If you can write three or four scenes, you can write a chapter. If you can write a chapter, you can write twenty or more.  If you can write twenty chapters, you can write a seventy thousand word novel!

What else have I learned?  I learned six tips that work for me and many others I’ve met, W-R-I-T-E-S.  If you keep these tips posted somewhere near your computer, they’ll help you get started and keep going until you finish a novel.
W- Write your novel with an end in mind, but give your characters room to grow. 
R-   Rake your characters over the coals of extreme personal and professional conflict.
I-   Ignore advice to write what you know.  Write the type of novel you love to read.
T- Take your reader to exotic locations or scary places you’d never go yourself.
E-  Edit later, outline later, take writing classes later. Just get started.
S-  Start with a bang.  Grab the reader in the beginning and don’t let go. The most important line of your novel is the first. Make it memorable.  Librarian Nancy Pearl once said, “I think when you read a good first line, it’s like falling in love.
 These six steps will help you get started.  But often a novel will sag a third of the way through.  The writer might get stuck wondering what direction the story should go. Some writers give up and never finish. How do you keep going?  There are two things to remember that will keep you going, every scene needs conflict and emotion. 
Conflict and emotion drive plot. Emotion will occur if your characters have to deal with conflict. If your scene lacks conflict it will lack sufficient emotion to keep your reader reading.  If your scene lacks conflict, throw it out and write a new scene.
 If your manuscript sags at any point in your novel, analyze the source of the conflict then add to your main character’s personal and professional conflict.  Conflict and emotion, they will keep you going until the end.
 You can do it. Get started. Until you write the following two words, you’ll never write a novel:
Chapter One.
Michael’s Bio:
In addition to being a full time writer, Michael Murphy is a part time urban chicken rancher. He and his wife make their home in Arizona with their two cats, four dogs and five chickens. He enjoys writing mystery and suspense novels with twists and turns and splashes of humor.  Scorpion Bay is his seventh novel.  
Here are Michael’s links again. Two Amazon links, for paperback and Kindle:
Michael’s website: www.mjmurphy.com
Here are a couple of reviews of Scorpion Bay
‘Strap yourself in and get ready for plenty of action, suspense, crime, corruption, a touch of romance and comedy. Include a high tech motorcycle, our hero in a black disguise to hide his identity along with designer drugs, intrigue and danger on a luxury yacht on Scorpion Bay. Michael Murphy shares the map to fast paced intrigue with three dimensional characters and a great story line that will keep you involved and wanting more until the last page.’
Nikki Leigh, award winning fiction and non fiction author.
“Part thriller, part romance, part comedy, part mystery and all satisfying; Scorpion Bay is an impossible book to put down. Prepare to burn the midnight oil with this one, rooting for Parker Knight as Murphy carefully unravels the plot on the very last word.”
Alisha Paige, author of Circle City: Lord of the Wolfen–coming soon.
Thank you Michael. I’m sure your readers will have found your advice helpful and it will prod them to actually get started, go on and finish that book.

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COMING ON MONDAY: WRITING WORKSHOP FROM AUTHOR MICHAEL MURPHY

I hosted American suspense author Michael Murphy a few posts ago when I introduced him and his latest novel Scorpion bay. He’ll be back on Monday 2 May with a follow-up based on his Writers’ Workshop: You Too Can Write a Novel.

So, if you’re interested in writing a novel, but are in despair about actually getting the thing finished, tune in here on Monday for Michael’s wise words on the subject.

In the meantime, why not take another look at his books and his website, so you know a little more about him.

Michael’s Bio:
In addition to being a full time writer, Michael Murphy is a part time urban chicken rancher. He and his wife make their home in Arizona with their two cats, four dogs and five chickens. He enjoys writing mystery and suspense novels with twists and turns and splashes of humor.  Scorpion Bay is his seventh novel.  
Here are two Amazon links, for paperback and Kindle:
Michael’s website: www.mjmurphy.com
Here are a couple of reviews of Scorpion Bay
‘Strap yourself in and get ready for plenty of action, suspense, crime, corruption, a touch of romance and comedy. Include a high tech motorcycle, our hero in a black disguise to hide his identity along with designer drugs, intrigue and danger on a luxury yacht on Scorpion Bay. Michael Murphy shares the map to fast paced intrigue with three dimensional characters and a great story line that will keep you involved and wanting more until the last page.’
Nikki Leigh, award winning fiction and non fiction author.
“Part thriller, part romance, part comedy, part mystery and all satisfying; Scorpion Bay is an impossible book to put down. Prepare to burn the midnight oil with this one, rooting for Parker Knight as Murphy carefully unravels the plot on the very last word.”
Alisha Paige, author of Circle City: Lord of the Wolfen–coming soon.

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GUEST POST FROM AMERICAN SUSPENSE AUTHOR MICHAEL MURPHY

Today’s guest author is American suspense author Michael Murphy. Michael is the author of seven novels and Scorpion Bay is his latest.

Here’s Michael to tell you something about himself and his book.
In addition to writing novels, I also conduct novel writing workshops at libraries and book stores in Arizona called You Too Can Write a Novel.  Most people I meet indicate an interest in writing, but are intimidated by the thought of writing a 70,000 word novel.  Here’s what I tell them in the workshops.
Unlike other categories of writing, the essential component of a novel is the scene.  Typical scenes can be 500 words.  In school we were often asked to write 500 word themes on various subjects.  We survived, although I always put off the task until the last minute.  I tell workshop attendees if they can write a 500 word theme, they can write a 500 word scene.  If they can write a scene, they can write three or four and voila, a chapter is born. 
If you can write a chapter, you can write twenty.  If you can write twenty chapters, you’ve probably got yourself a novel.  Don’t think about writing 70,000 words.  Think about writing one scene.  That’s how I wrote my first novel, Class of ‘68.  And that’s how I wrote six more including my new thriller, Scorpion Bay
Focus on creating a scene and you too can write a novel.
Geraldine: I’ve found this to be true. When I started my mystery series, I wrote in scenes. It was less intimidating to concentrate on writing a scene rather than a BOOK. And, unlike a book, a scene can be made perfect!
Scorpion Bay Blurb:
When a car bomb kills the prosecuting attorney and a key witness against a powerful bioengineering industrialist, the blast shatters the life of the attorney’s husband, popular Phoenix television investigative reporter, Parker Knight.  After authorities hit a dead end, Parker risks his career and his life to seek his own revenge. Riding a high tech motorcycle and wearing a black disguise, the crusading newsman inadvertently becomes a media created superhero jeopardizing his quest for justice.
Michael’s Bio:
In addition to being a full time writer, Michael Murphy is a part time urban chicken rancher. He and his wife make their home in Arizona with their two cats, four dogs and five chickens. He enjoys writing mystery and suspense novels with twists and turns and splashes of humor.  Scorpion Bay is his seventh novel.  

Here’s a extract of Scorpion Bay. Enjoy. I sure did.

Outside, Parker spotted his Kawasaki parked in the driveway in front of the white van. Biting at the tape around his wrists, he dashed across the rain-slickened lawn and ripped off the binding.
Parker sprinted to the bike and grabbed the extra key he always kept in the saddlebag. He leaped onto his bike and inserted the key. A shot blew the left mirror apart in a burst of shards. Parker gunned the bike behind the van as two more shots slammed into the side of the van shattering the quiet of the dark neighborhood.
The motorcycle fishtailed on the wet street. Parker glanced back to see Carl and Lenny scramble into the van. With cold rain lashing his face, Parker skidded around the corner, regained control and checked back over his shoulder as the van shrieked in pursuit.
Unfamiliar with the neighborhood, Parker raced through the streets and approached a red light at the six-way intersection of Grand Avenue near the fairgrounds. Hoping to elude the two men in traffic, Parker took a quick glance over one shoulder then ran the light, turning north in front of a fast moving one-ton pickup.
Blasting its horn and squealing its tires, the pickup swerved and clipped the back of Parker’s bike. The Kawasaki’s rear tire slid, the handlebars wobbled and the motorcycle veered toward the center island.
With a jolt, the bike hit the curb. Parker somersaulted into the landscaped median and landed beside a saguaro cactus. His head slammed against the hard ground as the bike slid into oncoming traffic. A squeal of tires on the wet pavement was followed by a crunch of metal. A semi crushed the Kawasaki like a cheap beer can.
Head buzzing and rain dripping onto his face, Parker saw the driver from the pickup climb out and rush to his side. “Don’t move,” the man said. “I called nine-one-one.”
“Where’s the white van?”
“What white van?” The man ripped off his Diamondbacks jacket and stuffed it under Parker’s head. Feeling lightheaded, Parker gazed across the intersection and spotted the van stopped at the traffic light. The image blurred, and Parker drifted into unconsciousness.

Thank you, Michael. That was certainly fast-paced. It practically takes your breath away!

Here’s two Amazon links, for paperback and Kindle:
Michael’s website: www.mjmurphy.com

Here are a couple of reviews of Scorpion Bay

‘Strap yourself in and get ready for plenty of action, suspense, crime, corruption, a touch of romance and comedy. Include a high tech motorcycle, our hero in a black disguise to hide his identity along with designer drugs, intrigue and danger on a luxury yacht on Scorpion Bay. Michael Murphy shares the map to fast paced intrigue with three dimensional characters and a great story line that will keep you involved and wanting more until the last page.’
Nikki Leigh, award winning fiction and non fiction author.

“Part thriller, part romance, part comedy, part mystery and all satisfying; Scorpion Bay is an impossible book to put down. Prepare to burn the midnight oil with this one, rooting for Parker Knight as Murphy carefully unravels the plot on the very last word.”
Alisha Paige, author of Circle City: Lord of the Wolfen–coming soon.

Here are Michael’s previous novels.