Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Storyboard Saga - Part 6

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.

Storyboard progress

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.)

Keep Reading...

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!"


Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

With my mysteries, I've sometimes changed the murderer's identity a few times. After all, all the suspects should have the motive, means, and opportunity--it just makes the book more suspenseful! :)

Mystery Writing is Murder

Terry Odell said...

I think that's half the fun, Elizabeth. And it does add to that 'misleading the reader' factor.

Debra St. John said...

I love your story-board. What a great way to keep track of everything. I've seen people do pictures, too, that help inspire setting and characters.

As for the movies, I couldn't agree more about the previews. These days they have commercials, videos, pre-previews, and then the previews. Just get to the stinkin' movie already! Drives me crazy.

Terry Odell said...

Glad I'm not the only one who isn't pleased with the shenanigans in the movie theaters. It takes a LOT to get us to the theater these days. Having hubby with no job responsibilities (um...unemployed-pre-retired) helps because we can hit the first show of the day on a weekday which is $5 at our theater. And seating isn't a problem, so we don't have to get there early. But thank goodness for my eBookwise!

D2TM2 said...

Well, they sure did look like real fish.

Susan Oleksiw said...

The storyboard is a great tool--I like the way you can see all the ideas at once and keep them "warm" in your mind while you're working.

I also like the villain to be undetermined as I write even though I have a pretty good idea who it's going to turn out to be. That way the uncertainty in the story feels real (since it is).

Terry Odell said...

d2 - and they might well have been real. The movie was made in 1937 before they had to start putting those 'no real whatevers were harmed in making this movie' disclaimers.

Terry Odell said...

Susan - I think it's also a good tool simply because it allows actual tactile interaction as you move things around. It helps set up new pathways to the brain.

Maggie Toussaint said...

Hi Terry,
First, I had no trouble accessing your blog today from your hyperlink. Whatever connection issues you were having with IE8 must have resolved.

You and I share a similar writing philosophy, sticky notes and posterboards. I love it, as well as the creativity to shift everything around. I stumbled onto this version of creation once I realized that a detailed outline killed the creativity process for me. Looking at the ideas independently helps.

And I can so identify with your romantic suspense vs mystery dilemma. That's been the story of my life. For the most part, my RS books are a bit of a hybrid, with mystery instead of nerve-wratcheting suspense and my cozies are layered with romance.

Maybe we should start out own subgenre.


Terry Odell said...

Maggie, I'm all for the reclassification of genre. Let's start a movement!

joanna aislinn said...

Hi, Terry,

As a non-plotter, I was happy to see your storyboard idea. I keep a file called 'scratch pad' in which I keep a running list of ideas and/or less major points I want to make sure I remember to include. Every now and again I look it over, especially once I near the end of my wip, and during revision too :)

Joanna Aislinn
The Wild Rose Press
January 15, 2010

Terry Odell said...

Joanna - I'm having fun with my post-its. It's the first time I've tried this, and it's a work in progress. The beauty of writing is that you're free to find what works for you, and you're never committed to sticking with it.

Sheila Deeth said...

Those post-its look cool. I'm trying my hand at my first ever mystery (first ever romantic mystery too) on textnovel. It's comforting to know it's okay to change my mind about the suspect.

Alice Anderson said...

Thanks for all the storyboard tips. I'm going to try that with my current book and I think I'll blog about mine as well.

Am going to see Julie & Julie tomorrow with DH and a friend. I've begun taking my Dell Mini to the theater with me so I can get writing done while I wait. I like to get there early so I get a good seat and not having internet means distraction free writing...and time to ask hubsters for help with male POV. ;)

Terry Odell said...

Alice - glad my methods are helpful. And isn't it a shame that we have to bring alternative 'entertainment' when we go out for entertainment purposes. I do miss the days when going to a movie was going to a movie!