What I'm reading: Makeshift Family by Lori Avocato
Thanks to Nancy for her insights about where writers find inspiration, and for sharing how she got her ideas for her books.
I've surpassed the 70,000 word mark and that means it's time to pay more attention to my idea board. How many essential points haven't I covered yet? What ideas for scenes might work to show them? What questions haven't been answered?
And no, I don't really have all those points to work into the final 20,000 words. I left all the stickies on the idea board to use in my workshop and haven't removed them yet. And the board is for ideas. Doesn't mean they're all going to work for the book.
(Okay, there IS one big one, which is who the villain really is, and why he's desperate to get what he's looking for, but I'm still brainstorming ideas for that. I figure if I'm guessing, the reader will be too.)
It's also a time to go back and make sure any of those little hints and clues strewn through the manuscript are either resolved or on their way to being so. I'm also asking myself how far to take the relationships of my main characters. Although this initially began as a romantic suspense, once I had a couple of dead bodies, I knew there was no way I could suspend my disbelief well enough to write it so the two characters I'd started with could possibly solve the crime without involving the police. And the cop I brought in demanded to be heard as well as seen. By the time I hit chapter four, it was clearly going to be a mystery.
Normally, the end of the book moves more quickly than the early chapters. That's fairly obvious, since by now, I've got a handle on the characters and have dealt with constructing most of the story. Also, one of the things I know when I set out to write a book is how it will end. The crime has to be resolved. This is where so much of the back story that I brainstormed before writing the book actually hits the page.
And here I am, back straddling sub-genres. My romantic "suspense" books are written as romantic mysteries, with very few characteristics of a true suspense novel. And this mystery is somewhere between a cozy and a detective novel. One of my main characters is an event planner; the other is a teacher in a vocational school. Being involved in a mystery as amateur sleuths would make the book a cozy. They're only out to solve the mystery because it involves people they love. Adding my police chief to the mix means he's going to be working the case like a cop. Is it a 'crime-cozy'?
To add to the confusion, I've also got an "attraction between characters" going on. I'm always paying as much attention to relationships as to mysteries when I read; it's no wonder I write that way too.
Will an agent consider it? I don't know. I'm still waffling about sending anything out. I have another manuscript related to When Danger Calls, but it's hard to sell a second book when the first is with another publisher (unless, of course it's a best-seller, but I'm not there yet.) I've just begun sending chapter of my mystery to my crit partners, so I'm working on both ends at once as they read and make suggestions.
On the home front. Monday afternoon, we saw Julie & Julia. A delightful movie that had us both laughing. I've asked my brother the chef to give me his take as soon as he sees it. He's met Julia Child, and I'm curious as to whether Meryl Streep's portrayal was spot on or a bit over the top. We went to the noon showing before we had lunch. We were starving when we got out. And, sigh. When we got home, there were no messages on the answering machine from agents, editors, reporters, or publishers saying they read my blog and want to offer me a huge contract. Or even a tiny one.
And a quick mini-rant. The movie time was listed as starting at 12:05. We got there at about 11:55 and sat through 10 more minutes of stupid commercials. At 12:05, they started previews. Twenty-five frigging minutes of them. Enough! At least we know about five movies we won't be going to see. I bring my eBookwise which is backlit so I can read until the real movie starts, but sheesh. I remember the 'good old days'. You got a newsreel, a cartoon, a short and then the movie. Three cheers for Netflix! Last week we saw Captains Courageous, which has held up exceedingly well over time. Hubby was super impressed with the fishing scenes. He kept saying, "Those are REAL fish!"