Guest Post #5: My Journey Through Each Book by Andrew Barrett (author of The Third Rule)

The Third Rule download




Propelled by a wave of atrocities, the government introduces a severe code of capital punishment. They designed The Rules to rid England of serious crime, but they failed. They said The Rules were infallible, but they lied.

Christian Ledger, an innocent man and a talented artist is charged with a fatal stabbing. Christian is heading for the slaughterhouse because no one will listen to his pleas. Is the secret he carries enough to save his life?

CSI Eddie Collins, a reluctant hero with one failed suicide attempt behind him, suddenly wants to live when the police hunt him down for shooting a colleague. And now he’s on the government’s list too, and he’s running. But they’re getting closer by the minute…


When a person is asked what’s her profession and she replies that she is a Writer, most people assume that Writing is an easy job. What people don’t understand that writing a book is like going on a journey. Some, who are plotters, may have a map. Others, the pantsers, just start walking wherever the story takes them. But one thing is same in both cases, you never know where you’ll end up with the story. There are many articles on plotters and their experience but very few about pantsers. Today is your lucky day! I have here author Andrew Barrett who shares his experience of pantsing his way through the book, sharing with us the behind-the-scenes.


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My Journey Through Each Book


My journey through each book varies slightly from one book to the next. My aim is always the same, but invariably something happens and derails that aim, and I end up missing the target by about a furlong.

Okay, so my aim is to sit down at page one and write until I reach the end of the story, whatever page number that happens to be. I don’t do any planning before I start, and I don’t work out the story arcs, nor do I plot the three act structure.

I sit here in front of this screen and this keyboard, and I write a scene. That scene will typically (wrong choice of word there!) be a robbery, or a double murder, or a face floating beneath the surface of a canal. It takes something like that – a kernel – to set me off writing. Here’s one that’s still a kernel: And like a little girl cries in the face of a monster that lives in her dreams.

That’s a song lyric. And I remember I was on my way to the fridge for the milk for my coffee when I heard it. I stopped dead. I could see her; a girl who sees monsters, petrified… Yes, I know it’s part-formed, but it’s things like that that make me think and make me start bashing the keyboard.

The point is that I write out that scene or those few scenes that won’t leave me alone. And then I pause, and I wonder how the hell these disparate things can possibly fit inside a single story. Well, the double murder and the face beneath the water sat very well inside a story together, and when that happens, it’s almost euphoric.

My journey is just beginning; I now have to take out a pencil and sheet of A3 and find out what the hell is going on. Sometimes my mind is reluctant to pass me the secrets it holds and so I must draw a flowchart or two to see where the story is going. And though this particular part of my story-making is painful, it is thrilling. Not as thrilling as first drafting though. When I’m working on a scene that was in the flowchart, when I’m circling around the purpose for the scene, building it to crescendo, my mind is free to get on with it and do its own thing. That’s the purest freedom I’ve ever known: I just step aside and watch my fingers brushing the keys in something of a blur, and when they’ve finished, I look at the screen and wonder who the hell just typed all that! It’s such fun, you have to try it.

I often get stuck. I’m stuck in the story I’m working on now, and that’s the penalty I pay for not planning things out in the first place. But I counter that with this: not planning allows an almost biological freedom for the story to evolve naturally – therefore negating all the time I would have wasted on planning. I have an answer for everything!

One of the fun parts of writing is finding your way out of the mire – getting going again! And when I realise how easy it was to get going again, I always tell myself I must remember that secret, and I never do. Ever. So I have to learn it afresh every time it happens.

And when the ending is in sight, I love to use all the characters I’ve employed throughout the book to their fullest. And if that means weaving them into a twist (a twist that I would never have foreseen had I planned the story), then so much the better, and I don’t mind constructing some little bit of engineering earlier on in the book to make it work, to make it look inevitable. I once thought of a twist in a book – I think it was Ledston Luck – that almost had me slip and fall out of the shower.

If you’ve never written a book… you should.


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Thank you to Andrew Barrett for taking out time from his busy schedule and gracing my blog with his presence.

The Third Rule, a CSI Eddie Collins book,  is out now!


Author Bio:

Andrew Barrett has enjoyed variety in his professional life, from engine-builder to farmer, from Oilfield Service Technician in Kuwait, to his current role of Senior CSI in Yorkshire.

He’s been a CSI since 1996, and has worked on all scene types from terrorism to murder, suicide to rape, drugs manufacture to bomb scenes. One way or another, Andrew’s life revolves around crime.

In 1997 he finished his first crime thriller, A Long Time Dead, and it’s still a readers’ favourite today, some 200,000 copies later, topping the Amazon charts several times. Two more books featuring SOCO Roger Conniston completed the trilogy.

Today, Andrew is still producing high-quality, authentic crime thrillers with a forensic flavour that attract attention from readers worldwide. He’s also attracted attention from the Yorkshire media, having been featured in the Yorkshire Post, and twice interviewed on BBC Radio Leeds.

He’s best known for his lead character, CSI Eddie Collins, and the acerbic way in which he roots out criminals and administers justice. Eddie’s series is four books and two short stories in length, and there’s still more to come.

Andrew is a proud Yorkshireman and sets all of his novels there, using his home city of Leeds as another major, and complementary, character in each of the stories.


Social Media:

Website: Andrew Barrett

Twitter: @AndrewBarrettUK

Facebook: Andrew Barrett

Instagram: @andrewbarrettauthor


Thank you to Bloodhound Books for letting me take part in this blog blitz.

Don’t forget to check out the other blogs who are taking part in this blog tour!

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