Thursday, May 22, 2008

Back to routine

With everyone safe at home again, and the laundry done, it's time to get back to "work."

Allison Brennan posted an interesting column on Murder She Writes, about how long it takes her to write a book. She brought up the point, "what counts as writing time?"

I'm still working on the early stages of my next book, and although I've decided that it will feature Foster Mayhew, who was first introduced as a walk-on in When Danger Calls, (due in December from Five Star Expressions) and had a more substantial secondary character appearance or two in the yet unsold Where Danger Hides, I really didn't know where the book might lead him -- or, as is more often the case, where he might lead the book.

I did have to listen to him as he told me about his childhood in Australia. Once I knew his deep, dark secret fear, I knew what made him tick. Of course, that means I know what horrible things I'm going to have to do with him, both to make him confront the reality of those fears, but also to give him the emotional growth he'll need to have a meaningful relationship with someone.

With who? was the next question. Not an obvious match, to be sure.

My daughter was visiting from Ireland, and we spent the better part of a day and lots of peripheral time brainstorming who the characters in the book would be. We worked with Deb Dixon's GMC approach, and I made copies of the character grids from the Story Magic workshop I'd taken.

To this point, I'd written about 4500 words. We looked at what was on the page, decided where things should be tweaked to fit the new insights into the characters -- and decided that a secondary character was already getting too interesting by page 10, so she's likely to meet an untimely demise. This book is also the first where I'm toying with the idea of moving into more than the h/h POVs. That would make it more suspense, but that might be what the story demands, rather than the mystery puzzles I've written for my Cerridwen books.

So, it's been a very low word-per-day count, yet I've done a lot of 'writing'. It's not just fingers to keyboard that counts. The ideas and the characters have to be there, and sometimes, just wandering through the house listening to them is as productive as sitting at the computer.

Tomorrow night, my husband and I will be observing another all-night DUI checkpoint. I'll be sure to let you know what happens. I have to think of something to bring for dessert -- I have a hunch that's why the Civilian Police Academy Alumni are invited.

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