Reaching ‘The End,’ Then Not by R Thomas Brown

Pleased to welcome R. Thomas Brown to the blog today to talk about what happens when an author thinks he’s reached ‘The End’ of a work, only to realize it may well just be the beginning. That happened to Brown with his newest release, Hill Country, which I’ll be reviewing tomorrow.

Reaching The End, Then Not by Ron BrownWriting “The End” felt great. The story felt good. Seemed I’d pulled off the rather odd inspiration. I was watching The Maltese Falcon (which I do often) and wanted to tell a variant of it. Not the nuts of bolts of it, but the twists and turns and the costly pursuit of something that is revealed to be a lie. I certainly had false starts trying to craft the story, but there I was, done, with a tight narrative around a single character. A sometimes nasty crime novella.

When Snubnose Press picked it up, I knew it was in good hands. The releases to that date were strong and everything since then has been top notch. All in all, it was a great feeling. Then Brian, the editor at Snubnose, made a little comment. He simply notes that there was a good amount of action and that an exploration of some of the other characters would probably work if done well.

That’s was where “The End” vanished. Working with Brian, I added almost the full length of what I had done again. Subplots grew, minor characters were explored, a few plotting changes were made to accommodate the new material. It was in lots of ways more work than the initial writing. But it was all worth it. The novel that emerged was stronger, deeper and more satisfying than the initial work.

It wasn’t what I initially set out to write, but it’s what I would have written had I thought about it. Thankfully, I had an editor that helped me see new things and then left me to explore the things I felt were fitting.

When I reached “The End” again, it felt great.

R Thomas Brown writes about damaged people and their struggle to deal with the chaos life has tossed their way. Whether it be a discovered murder, the barrel of gun, a bat to the head or a mysterious voice only they can hear, it’s the reaction and attempt to make sense of the new reality that Brown likes to explore. In addition to Hill Country, was just published by Snubnose Press, Brown is also the author of Merciless Pact and the collections Mayhem and Ghost Stories. You can catch up with R Thomas Brown at his blog, Criminal Thoughts and on Twitter.
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  • Elizabeth A. White

    March 1, 2012 - 1:25 pm

    This is a great example of why everyone, no matter how skillful they may be, needs an editor. Sometimes editors just have a perspective on the story that the author simply can’t because the author is too close to it.

  • sabrina ogden

    March 1, 2012 - 12:02 pm

    Snubnose is a great place to be with, and I’m super happy you’re part of their family. I’m looking forward to reading Hill Country, Mr. Brown. After reading your previous work, I’m sure I’ll love it.