I’m writing plot points for Jazzi and Ansel #8, The Body in the Buick. I’m excited about this book, but I’m being pickier than usual about pacing, and it’s making this process take FOREVER. Either that, or vacation made my brain turn to mush and I’m trying to wake it up again.
I thought this time, whizzing through plot points would be a breeze. I’ve thought about this book a lot before I started trying to organize it. I did my mystery questions and answers, getting to know the victim, his family and friends, suspects, witnesses, and minor characters. I jotted down ideas on Scapple, little twists to move the story forward. You’d think I’d have a head start. But trying to organize everything has been about as easy as herding cats.
It’s odd how books work. Some come easy, almost showing you the way to follow the dots so the story just falls into place. This isn’t one of those. Some are like beating your head against the wall. They fight you every inch of the way. But those books still want to be written and bug you when you put them down. Easy or not doesn’t determine if they’re good or mediocre. Some stories that are the most difficult end up being the best. But not always. Sometimes, you invest a lot of time trying to beat a story into shape, but it never quite comes together. You can make it work, but you won’t pat yourself on the back when it’s done. You’ll sigh with relief and know it could have been better, but not from lack of trying. I’ve yet to figure out how it all works, and I wish I could.
I reached a wall two nights ago and thought The Body in the Buick might be a really short mystery. I couldn’t figure out what to do next, and then I woke up the next morning, and bam! An idea made me so happy, I did a little dance around the kitchen’s butcher block. I wanted to have all of the plot points done by the weekend, but it didn’t happen. Now, I’m just relieved I’ll HAVE plot points, and I’ll start writing when I finish slogging through the rest of them. It just goes to show you. The best laid plans–because I’d done a lot of work up front–don’t always work out. That’s the thing about writing. I love it, but sometimes it makes me nuts. (Of course, HH would say that doesn’t take much).
I hope whatever you’re doing is going more smoothly than my work right now. And happy September!