Thursday, October 04, 2018

Off Into the Woods

Donis here. I've just completed the first draft of the first book in what I hope will be a new series, set in the 1920's in California. It's pretty rough and needs some cleaning up, as my books usually do because the ending I end up with usually doesn't match the beginning I began with...if you get my drift. In other words, things about the story reveal themselves to me as I write. For example, I may start out with Character 1 and Character 2 as uncle and niece and discover half-way through my writing that they aren't related at all.* I think this could be one reason why I am a relatively slow writer. I have tried many times to streamline my process. I would love to be both efficient and good, and be able to crank out two or three entertaining and well-written books a year, like our very own Vicki Delany, for instance.

But outline as I may, I never fail to end up going off into the woods, following some elusive story thread that suggests itself to me in the middle of the story. Sometimes the new idea changes the whole book for the better. Sometimes I waste days writing material that goes nowhere and I have to discard it and go back to Plan A. I'd be much faster, and probably much tighter and to the point, if I'd just stick to the program, but I can't help myself. I'm too full of "what if?"

As an aside, I've noticed that in past couple of years the 1920s have become the hot era in historical mysteries. I can't decide whether I'm feeling happy or feeling unoriginal about jumping on the bandwagon. I didn't plan it that way. Almost a decade and a half ago I started writing the Alafair Tucker Mysteries, a series that began in 1912, and followed it through to 1919. The new series spins off from from there, so I ended up in the 1920s in the most natural way. If it turns out that being on the bandwagon is a good thing, then who am I to complain?

As yet another aside, I'm happy to announce that in two weeks I will be flying back to my native country to participate in the first annual Oklahoma Book Festival on October 20 at the Boatyard in Oklahoma City. I'll be talking about the Alafair Tucker Mystery series, and the new direction I'm taking in my writing. Check it out here:

AND since I had to cancel a trip to speak at some Oklahoma libraries last August when My Beloved fell and broke his arm, I'm taking this opportunity to reschedule an event at the library in Woodward, Oklahoma, at noon on Thursday, October 18. We're calling it the If at First You Don't Succeed, Try Try Again Tour. Here's the information on that:

Husband is out of his cast, the arm is functional, he can dress, write, and drive himself, and be left alone for long periods of time. So if you believe, Dear Reader, that the Universe hears your prayers, join me in asking that the Powers That Be keep Donald Koozer healthy and injury free for the foreseeable future.

Thank you.

*This is just an example. No one in my new book is named either Character 1 or Character 2.


Aline Templeton said...

I was interested in what you said about Character 1 and Character 2, Donis. My characters behave in just the same way and ass you said it doesn't half slow you up!

Aline Templeton said...

Oh dear, Donis - sorry about the typo. For 'ass' read 'as' - nothing to do with donkeys, or anything else!

Vicki Delany said...

Thank you for the kind words, and all the best to Don. I'm very much looking forward to the new series. It sounds great, bandwagon or not. Do you have plans to ever go back to Alafair and the farm?

Sybil Johnson said...

I love the 1920s as a setting. Hope Don continues to do well.

Donis Casey said...

No worries, Aline. "Ass" gave me a nice chuckle. Sybil, thanks for the good wishes for Don, and I'm finding the 1920s a lot of fun to write about. Vicki, I expect I will revisit Alafair at least another couple of times. (and someday I may ask you to give me lessons on how to write fast and good at the same time)