Monday, December 5, 2011

Please Welcome Mystery Author, Frank Scully

Frank Scully was born at the end of World War II and grew up in a small town in North Dakota. He remembers a time when radio provided the entertainment and then along came TV with very few channels. While in college getting a Bachelor’s degree in History and a Juris Doctor in Law, TV graduated to color, the Beatles landed on the Ed Sullivan Show, Kennedy was assassinated, and Armstrong walked on the moon. He served in the U.S. Army as a Judge Advocate General Corps officer in the U.S., Vietnam and Thailand before getting his Masters in Business Administration from the Thunderbird School and embarking on a business career. Currently he is a Contracts Manager for a major aerospace and defense manufacturer and an author of a mystery series.

His current book, EMPTY TIME, is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords and other online eBook retailers as well as the publisher’s bookstore

What it's about:
Jim Lang’s life sputtered into a workaholic rut on a middle rung of the corporate ladder while his colleagues, using his business plan, became the international business titans he once aspired to be.

Bad memories of busted marriages and broken promises are all that keep him company in his personal hours so he is more than willing to sacrifice that empty time to his job to make the corporation grow. His bosses have one more sacrifice in mind for him. To die for them.

Deceived, betrayed and framed for murder and massive stock fraud, his bosses plan for him to die and disappear. Disappear, he does; die, he doesn’t.

Lang must face and conquer his old fears and guilt, and live up to the potential within. To save the people he loves he must put his life on the line to turn the tables on his former colleagues in an inter-continental, multi-billion dollar, fast paced and lethal game of corporate intrigue and treachery with bloody traps and deadly counter traps.

Also available are RESURRECTION GARDEN and DEAD MAN’S GAMBIT. Coming soon is BLOOD SINS.

You can find more about Frank Scully's books at:

And now here's some great writing advice from Frank Scully:
Keep the reader turning pages -

Have you ever been reading a book, one you were enjoying with the movie you were producing from it running in your head, and all off a sudden something happens that breaks the whole thing down? The movie stops because the character does something so totally out of character, the narrator gags on something or the pace breaks down.

There you are, staring at the page, the movie projector in your head smoking from the broken reel, wondering what the &*^% you are going to do next. How could that character do that? Nothing in the story line or character development allowed for that. No human being you have ever known who was anything like that character had ever done anything like that. Is there any plot point that justifies what the character did? Can you forgive it and move on? Or is it too far out that you have lost interest in the character and the story?

Perhaps the author’s voice cracks and changes midstream and you go from masculine hard boiled to feminine cozy or something in between. All of a sudden the director of the movie in your head has changed.

Or maybe the pace has shifted or jerks suddenly. You were reading along comfortably enjoying the speed of the story that was unfolding. The movie in your head was running along just fine. Then you hit pages of data and description that bog you down like quicksand. Do you really care if the character is wearing a certain expensive brand of khakis along with an ensemble described in excruciating detail? Perhaps there is a sudden jerk and you are in an unannounced different time and place with seemingly no relation to the story you were reading.

Assuming an author takes care of the basics such as having a good plot, proper grammar, enticing title and cover, and a good hook to draw the reader in, there are certain elements that can make or break a mystery story for a reader. To me the three most important are character, voice and pace.

Character encompasses all of the actors in the book from the protagonist and antagonist and on down to the clerk who only appears on one page. Each needs to be believable and come alive in the mind of the reader. If they are not properly presented and fleshed out so the reader can imagine them, the story will suffer and the reader will get frustrated. At the same time you don’t want to provide too much description. The reader will fill in a lot of the details according to how they want the character to look just as they do for the background. It is impossible to detail every aspect of every background a character acts in front of. All the author needs to do is get the important and distinguishing elements and let the reader’s imagination do the rest.

But character is more than physical description. The actions and emotions and thoughts projected from and onto the character must “fit” like a good suit or the reader will not care, and if the reader doesn’t care about the character, the author risks losing the reader.

I believe very firmly that you must give the mystery reader a primary character that they can relate to and in some way have a desire to follow. There may be a niche for those books whose main character is a despicable, totally unlikeable blackard but it is a small one.

Pace also is important to a reader. As an author we invite readers along for a ride. We need to make it an enjoyable ride. Sometimes fast, scary and bumpy. Sometimes more sedate. The trick is to make sure we don’t jolt the reader out of the car on a fast hard bump or a quick turn or bore them to sleep down a gentle slope. Keep them turning pages with enjoyment and excitement. I’ve seen some masters of pace get by with little or no plot although that is not a good thing and can make the book forgettable soon after it is done.

And finally there is the author’s voice. What does the reader hear in how you tell the story? Is there gravel in your voice from hard miles over bad road? Or are you a young woman just getting started in the world on her own? Authors must find a voice that they want to tell that story with and be consistent with it for the primary narration. Just as a character should not all of a sudden develop multiple personalities, neither should the author.

As with all “rules” there are authors who have broken all of the above and still been very successful. But I, as a reader, have dropped many books that started out well only to lose me for these reasons and now I avoid those authors for fear I will run into another “busted” read.

I work hard to ensure that I follow my own rules carefully and keep the reader engaged and turning the pages.

Frank Scully

Please leave a comment below to welcome Frank to Make Mine Mystery.


Morgan Mandel said...

Welcome to Make Mine Mystery, Frank.

Also, thanks for the great writing advice. Great for beginners to learn and, for those who aren't, to remember.

Morgan Mandel

Mona Risk said...

Hello Frank, your plot is so realistic I can relate to it or at leat compare it to situations people I know have faced, except for the dramatic complications. Thank you for the writing advice.

Cheryl said...

Thanks for hosting Frank today. I read the first book in his Decade Mystery series and have books 2 and 3 on my Kindle. The first one was definitely a page-turner, so I'm eager to read the others.

Wishing you and your readers a blessed holiday season.


Anonymous said...

Hello Frank, I like your plot and can relate somewhat having worked in Fortune multinationals myself. The plot of my debut novel was vaguely along the same lines. Thanks for the writing tip reminder.

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

Wonderful writing reminders. Your book sounds great.


Jacqueline Seewald said...

Excellent writing advice. I know an editor, for example, who says the first thing she looks for when considering a manuscript is voice--whether or not there's a freshness and originality.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the writing advice. The books sound very interesting!

One book I was thrown out of was several books in by a usually very good & famous author. The character suddenly took umbrage at an uncle not wanting to deal with a psycho aunt of the PI. She somehow stuck him with the aunt's medical bills. It was just weird & I put down that author's work for a long, long time. Your description of a writer throwing you out of their work reminded me of that book.

Frank Scully said...

Thanks for having me as a guest today. And thanks to everyone for their comments.

Jean Henry Mead said...

Great advice. And yes, those things happen to me as well.

V.R. Leavitt said...

Good post and great writer advice there! Thanks!!

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