I finished the first draft of my mystery. I like it, which is unusual. I usually can’t stand a book by the time I finish it. This worries me. Am I not being hard enough on the mystery? But I rewrote so many scenes so often, maybe I worked through the hate earlier and got it out of my system.
I tried a couple of new things with this book, which I’m not sure about. That’s one of the joys of having great and brutally honest critique partners. If something doesn’t work, they’re happy to tell me. And I want to know. I enjoyed writing my Babet and Prosper urban fantasies so much, I wanted to put a few of their touches into the mystery. I wanted to really bring my characters and their world to life. I wanted the setting to be a strong element in the story. But I was worried about getting the balance right. I didn’t want to detract from clues and suspects.
I’m so close to the story, I can never tell what worked and what didn’t. So I’ve sent it off to the joys of red ink. If it comes back bloody, it’s not personal. My friends are determined to make my book as good as it can be. And sometimes, they don’t agree. One person writes “loved this,” and another writes “this has to go.” I know them so well, I usually know what’s going to bug whom. The thing to remember, because new writers who join Scribes sometimes look at the red ink and get overwhelmed, is that you’re still a good writer, but screwed up. It happens. It’s not the end of the world. You can fix it.
While my friends mark up my book, I’m giving myself a break from all thoughts of it by writing a a short novella, chapter by chapter, for my webpage. I always try to switch gears at the end of a book. I need distance. I need to think about something else to gain perspective. And yes, I turned to Babet and Prosper. There’s nothing like a dragon that tunnels underground like a trapdoor spider and waits for tasty mortals to “drop in” to jostle me out of my routine. And how do you track and fight a demon dragon? Yup, this story’s just plain fun time for me. B&P are my feel-good go-to between longer works.
When I finish the novella, I mean to start plotting my second mystery. I’m going to take longer at it this time. I forgot how intricate writing a mystery was. I need a clue or red herring or suspect/witness, etc. in nearly every chapter to keep the mystery plot moving. I don’t want to try to pull those out of my Muse’s creative genius on demand. My Muse got a bit grumpy about that this time. So I’d rather have 40 stepping stones along the way. I figure that’s enough to keep the mystery from sagging.
I’m enjoying a little Inbetween Books time right now. I hope you have a wonderful Fourth. And happy writing!