I’m working on my second Lux mystery, and I’ve finally reached 19,000 words. I’ve finished the first fourth of the book, and for now, I’m happy with it. I’ve introduced the book’s big question (who committed the murder since it’s a mystery) and a subplot (The Johnson siblings’ grandmother is moving to Summit City to live with their mom and dad, and no one’s happy about it). Grandma Johnson is a bitter, outspoken woman, who fell and broke her hip, so she needs care until she’s better, maybe for the rest of her days. Lux, a freelance writer, is working on an article on aging, so Grandma Johnson ties into the research she’s doing for it.
Lux gets involved in solving the book’s murder because the victim is Cook’s nephew. Cook worked for Lux’s parents and was always there for her. She loves Cook so much that she convinces her to move to Summit City, too, along with her oldest sister. Things get complicated when Cook’s nephew’s body is found in one of Lux’s storage units. He was murdered while he was stealing things from her.
I always enjoy writing the set-up of a book. That’s when I try to make my characters come to life as I throw them into the story. It’s where I try to plant readers in the setting and describe the house, town, and surroundings through action. And it’s where the important changes happen in my protagonist’s life that make her take action to fix things.
In my first Lux book, I started with more background information than usual. I felt that the story needed it. But usually, I tread lightly when sprinkling background into my writing. I need to know all of that information, but the reader doesn’t necessarily need much of it. C.S. Boyack wrote a great post on this for Story Empire. He showed the drip, drip, drip method of feeding readers information. Writers can go from sparse to a lot more. I often end up in the middle. Here’s Craig’s article:
I’m now heading into the second fourth of the book. Lux is ready to dig into finding clues and making things work. Of course, ten or so chapters from now when I reach the middle of the plot line, there’ll be another twist and she’ll have to shift directions. Nothing can be that easy for a protagonist. So she’ll be keeping me busy for a while now. And that’s the joy of writing. One fourth of the novel done. Three-fourths to go. And so far, the middle muddle hasn’t slowed me down.