Our daughter drove from Indianapolis to visit us yesterday. Her birthday was March 28th, but she worked too much to celebrate it. We wanted to do something special for her, so we made reservations at The Oyster Bar–a small, crowded, quaint bar known for its upscale, wonderful menu. The bar is so small, it has tables on one side of the room and tables on the opposite side that are so close to each other, I had to turn my walker sideways to sidle through the center to our seats. It’s a good thing my leg’s better now, but it was worth it. The food was wonderful; the atmosphere was warm and friendly.
Holly’s staying with us again tonight, so I’m making Cajun shrimp fettucini for her for supper. She’s a pasta lover. We’re having a wonderful visit, and when she leaves tomorrow, it will be hard to get back in gear. But I need to knuckle down and start cranking out pages.
It always feels like it takes forever to accumulate any pages when I start a new book. I do character wheels and know the big stuff about the major players in my story before I start, but I learn their nuances as I go. I need to listen to them, understand them. I have a setting in mind, but I need to walk around in it, drive from one end of town to the other, before I can live there. And I keep thinking of more details, so I have to go back and tinker with earlier scenes, fine-tuning them, before I can move on.
In the mystery I’m working on now, I want the grandma to be a bit senile. Sometimes she lives in the present, sometimes she lives in the past. I decided I could show that by what she calls my protagonist, Jazzi (a nickname for Jasmine). When she hugs her and says, “Good to see you, Jazzi,” her mind is clear. When she says, “You’ve always spoiled me, Sarah,” she’s talking to her dead sister and whatever she tells you is suspect. That’s fun for a mystery.
I’m up to page 71 now, and the set up is beginning to fall into place. I’ve introduced most of the characters who’ll inhabit the book. My goal, always, is to finish the set-up by the first fourth of the book–in this case, at about 80 pages. I’m almost there. And then it’s time to dig for clues to solve the murder. The vast middle lies ahead of me.
Our friends who moved to Carolina are stopping in Fort Wayne on their way to visit their son in Chicago on April 13. By then, I’ll be pretty sick of pounding out pages, so it will be a nice change of pace to see them. I’ve invited them and some of our mutual old friends to our house for supper that night. It will be fun. And that will lead right into Easter and ham and carrot cakes. More fun. So I’ll be ready to hit the keys again for the second half of April. The girl who grew up across the street from us, who’s my daughter’s best friend, is coming to town on the last weekend of April, so we’ll get to see her, too.
April looks like a good month. Hope it is for you, too. And happy writing!
P.S. I put up chapter 1 of Bruin’s Orphans on my webpage if you want to check it out.