Usually, when I write a Jazzi Zanders mystery, I use a day by day pacing for the stories. Jazzi and Ansel wake up in the mornings, go to work, or do their thing, and go to bed at night. I like that pacing for them because it shows the balance of their lives. It’s not all work and not all looking for clues. It’s what real life looks like–a little bit of everything most days. But it makes for chapter endings that have to stretch to be hooks. No goodnight kisses and happy dreams. So this time, I’m changing it up. I’m writing scenes and finishing them whenever the drama is done. No carrying George up to his doggie bed for the night. No Inky and Marmalade snuggling against legs. It’s going to take away some of the homey feel of the books, but hopefully, it will punch up the pacing.
I really enjoy Lynn Cahoon’s Tourist Trap series, and one of the things I enjoy about it is the cozy feel of Jill opening her bookstore in the mornings, taking her dog for a run on the beach when she goes home, or Jill going to Lill’s to meet her friend for lunch. Sometimes, though, the everyday routine gets as much time as the mystery, and it makes the book more of an evening stroll as a mystery and less of a page turner. I don’t need every book to be a page turner. But I don’t want Jazzi and Ansel to get in a rut either. So I thought about what to change and what I’d miss if I changed it. And I got rid of some of the ordinary in favor of more punch.
I’m not sure how I feel about the change. Sometimes, I worry about getting boring. And sometimes, I worry about fiddling with the familiar that people like, including me. I can’t tell if I like the new balance, so I’m going to have to rely more on my critique partners. I love series, but some of them stay fresh, and some of them get stale. I don’t want Jazzi and Ansel to get stale. So I’m fiddling with them. I hope it makes them better, but we’ll see.