My brain shut down over the holidays. It went on vacation and wasn’t ready to work again when January started. I had to nudge it back into gear. And it wasn’t happy about it.
I started by writing a new chapter for my Vella medieval story. That was so much fun, I wrote another one and started one after that. But, my main focus in January is starting the new second Karnie Cleaver mystery. And my brain pretty much thumbed its nose at me and said “Good luck.”
I hardly ever sit at a blank screen and have nothing come. I’m not bragging. It’s a matter of flexing your muscles. It’s like exercising and then taking a break. When it’s time to hit the rowing machine again, your whole body screams “NO!” It doesn’t want to. But once you get on the seat and start working out, even though it’s not pretty, eventually you hit a routine. Your muscles work again. Same with my old brain. But it wouldn’t cooperate coming up with something from nothing.
I stared at my computer. “I need ideas for Karnie 2,” I told it. “Phfft!” it said in return. Brains are insolent things. But I’ve learned not to challenge mine directly, so I took a side route. I have a list of questions and answers I ask myself before I start a mystery. It’s an easier way to open the door to ideas.
“Who dies in this book?” I asked my little gray cells.
“Kill off Farley Rawlins,” it told me. “He deserves to die.”
Sweet. “Who kills him?” I asked.
“Who doesn’t want to?” it answered. And a list of suspects flooded onto my screen. A longer list than usual. Was there anyone who liked Farley? That list was short.
Then I asked the big question. “Why was he killed?”
And bless my sweet, wonderful brain, it sorted through suspects and gave me someone I hadn’t thought about…and a very good reason to want Farley dead.
At the end of the day, I had a lot of new characters and lots of motives. It’s a wonder no one had killed Farley before the start of the book. And now, all I need to do is plot from point A to plot whatever, and I’ll have a book to write. My brain’s waking up. It’s ready to start writing again!