Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Characters On Vacation

Apparently, my characters have all taken the summer off.

Not sure where they’ve gone. Maybe they’re at the beach or they’ve gone to cooler climates. All I know is, I’m trying to work on the next book in my series, Ghosts of Painting Past, and I’m having a doozy of a time.

Perhaps they’re refusing to cooperate because it’s summer and this is a Christmas-themed book. Not usually a problem. I’ve been known to listen to Christmas music or read Christmas-themed mysteries in July. Maybe it’s because we had a heat wave a while back. Kind of hard to write about Christmas when it’s 87 inside the house.

I go through something similar to this at the beginning of every book. Barbara did a great job talking about what it’s like to write a novel in her post last week. Right now I’m in the hair-pulling frustration phase.

Even though I really like my ideas for Ghosts, I still feel a bit uneasy. It’s one thing to have an idea, it’s another to create a 75,000 word mystery out of it. It does help, though, knowing other writers have similar problems.

I’m more of a plotter than a pantser though my outlines are fairly minimalistic. Before I can begin writing, I need to know how the story starts, how it ends, and some major plot points along the way. I also know who my major characters are (my suspects, victim(s) and my recurring cast) and what their secrets are, what they’re trying to make sure no one knows about in the story.

This time around because of the deadline noise swishing around in my head (you should be further along, you won’t make your deadline, etc.), I tried to take a shortcut, to start writing before I really knew all of my characters. Didn’t work out very well. So I’ve gone back to thinking about all of them and writing bits and pieces of scenes as they pop into my head.

I know I’ll eventually get to the point where the story is getting down on the page faster, but it’s still an uneasy place to be. All I can do, though, is take one day at a time.

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