Saturday, July 08, 2017

Approaching the Bottom of the Well

By Vicki Delany

My good friend fantasy writer Violette Malan wrote at the Black Gate blog about the age old question “Where do you get your ideas?”

Our own John wrote on Thursday about getting ideas from the headlines.

Both of which started me thinking about that very subject. And I have to conclude that my idea well is running dry.

Let me explain. A book is more than an idea. Sure you have a great idea.  You write it down.

That’s one sentence in a 400 page novel done.  Only 399 more pages to go.

It’s everything else that happens after and around the “idea” that makes a complete novel. All the plot points and character quirks and sub-plots.  The sort of cozy mysteries such as I write are very much puzzle mysteries. I have to have an idea for the general plot. An idea about how the murder is committed. An idea about where the dead body is discovered that involves my protagonist doing the discovering.  Another idea about how the protagonist arrives at the conclusion. Many, many ideas about the red herrings and the secrets everyone is hiding. And last of all an idea as to where the climax will happen and what it will consist of. (A raging gun battle through the streets or the suspects gathered in the library?)

In my cozy mysteries, things get even more complicated when the ideas have to suit a theme. In the Lighthouse Library series by Eva Gates, most of the action takes place in the Lighthouse. That’s the concept. The murder is committed there, the characters make frequent visits, the climax has to happen there.

Vicki Writing (not exactly as shown)
Vicki Reading (not exactly as shown)
Trying to think of a different way to kill someone in a library plus how to solve the crime in the library and confront the baddie in the library is becoming challenging.

In the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop books, I’m trying for a bit of a Sherlock angle to each story.  Also challenging.

So, gentle reader, my idea well is running dry.  Anyone have any suggestions for a murder in a library?

Hey, I’ve just had an idea. I hear water filling the well. 


Donis Casey said...

I think sometimes one just starts writing and the story magically comes. If only it were always so. How you manage to pull off something really good every single time is a wonder.

Vicki Delany said...

A wonder indeed.

Charlotte Hinger said...

Well, just read the latest political news and if that doesn't incite murderous thoughts I don't know what will.