Another Productive Mystery Week

Just completed half of chapter 12 in my murder mystery Built for Murder. Dialogue continues to flow and the writing is pretty straightforward. I’m really liking not having to explain more then necessary and concentrating on dialogue and character interaction.

Managed a rewrite of chapter 2 as well this week and will do the same for chapter 3 in the next couple of days. I’m trying to clean up the early chapters as new ideas unfold in later chapters to make my initial draft as clean as possible. For example, Madison needed a boyfriend to soothe her, so had to rewrite the section on her manhunting ability to include at least a mention of her current boytoy. Little things, but necessary.

So, 11.5 chapters complete as of today, at 29,571 words in just 17 days.

The marathon continues…

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The Mystery Continues

Still plugging away at Built for Murder, my first Erich Rambles murder mystery. Am currently midway through chapter 9 but backtracked a little yesterday after getting some great feedback on chapter 1 from my Saturday critique group.  Based on their feedback I stayed up late last night rewriting chapter 1, revising or adding new sections to clear up confusing plot and motivational points. By the time I was done, it was about 600+ words shorter and more concise in setting up what will follow.

Still, the PDF is at 111 pages with 21.6K words in the manuscript, about 1/3 of the way to a complete manuscript. Not bad for having only started on Oct 7 and my Thanksgiving goal looks imminently doable.

Not too much work on it today. Been rereading chapters and cleaning up the prose, adding missing words, changing words to match the true intent of the passage, and editing the characters, their motivations and dialogues into something closer to what I see and hear unfolding in my imagination. As I write and learn my characters, new possibilities dawn that are stretching the story into different directions. All good as far as I’m concerned.

All this typing is leaving my hands stiff and aching. On the one hand it means I’m making headway, OTOH, carpel tunnel is not fun. I must find a balance, one that allows me to tell the story without harming myself. Dictation has been working great on my iPhone for sending text messages, maybe I’ll give it a try on my iMac.

A new week dawns and the story continues.

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The Murder Marathon

It’s now been 10 days since I started my new project, a murder mystery called Built for Murder and I have to say its become some of the easiest writing I’ve ever attempted. I’m completing almost a chapter a day and the ideas and interactions are flowing like a river after a rain storm.

Now, while I love science fiction and fantasy, the mysteries have always been a close third in my genre interests. Collecting the many adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Hercule Poirot, Nero Wolfe, Travis McGee, Parker, and a slew of others dominated my library shelves. Unlike science fiction and fantasy books, which seemed to always be in short supply during my formative years, the number of mysteries seemed endless.

At its core a murder mystery is a puzzle, unraveling that puzzle is a major part of the story, almost as much as the person doing the investigation. At the start I setup a murder to appear as an accident, introduced my PI, Erich Rambles, a former US Marine and veteran of the Iraq war, now living in Austin, and sprinkled the plot with a variety of interesting suspects and their interactions. Then I turned everyone loose and watch what happens.

Unlike my “fantasy of fail” novel I don’t have to stop to explain something, I can just say “Erich’s mobile vibrated. He pulled it out to find yet another sexting message from Denise” and everyone understands what I mean. In An Empire Forgotten, I can’t just say “The evest trees soared over the city” without explaining them in more detail. This enables the reader to understand what evest trees represent, what they look like, and their importance to the rest of the story.

So far, its going well. Before drifting off to sleep each night, I think about what new information Erich needs, determine the main points to reveal, and go to sleep. The next day its a simple matter to translate the plot points imagined last night into today’s chapter.

So far, its been a joy ride.

So I’ve revised my plan. I’m planning to finish a complete first draft before Thanksgiving. It’s not quite up to NaNoWriMo, the National Novel Writing Month speed, but still quite a healthy pace for me.

Wish me luck.

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Long Hiatus, No Excuse

Built for Murder

Built for Murder

Been a long hot summer here and not a lot to show for it as far as writing is concerned.

Have done some work on editing and trying to complete some stories but have to admit my enthusiasm has been low. I started to think of my Archer and Hieronymus adventures as “my epic fantasy fail” simply because I seem unable to solve (to my satisfaction) the plotting issues that plague the first third of the novel. Thought I had a handle on it but now think I was just fooling myself.

The last couple of weeks have been better as I’ve turned to some new projects just to keep the writing pump flowing. Started another sci-fi short called Enigma Station and made some nice headway on it when I decided to go completely off-track and write that murder mystery that’s been kicking around in my head for years. So far, it is moving along well. Wrote almost 10,000 words in three days, enough to complete the first three chapters and make dents into the next three. Not sure how far I’ll get before I run out of stream, but my brain is buzzing, my fingers are aching, and I fall asleep working on upcoming scenes to write next.

Fall is nearly here. Rained a couple of nights ago and the temperature has fallen enough that I turned off the AC and can leave the doors and windows open for fresh air. The kids, Java and Misty of course, are loving the fact that dad has left the door open so they can run in and out without asking. Just have to make sure they don’t bring in any gecko or bird surprises.

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Not Quite on Plan – Yet

storms_opal_sea_smIn January I was really excited. It looked like the writing life was going well and that everything I was working on was on track. I had a plan to release a story a month and there was already a backlog of them awaiting their final edit before sending them out into the world.

How quickly that changed.

I got so bound up in completing my consulting work that I had no energy left over for my own projects. So much so, that I had to beg off submitting any new work to my critique groups as I was just not able to work on them. Instead, they got treated to some minor chapter revisions to the ongoing AEF slog, that while helpful to me, was probably not as fun for them. Fortunately, the software was released in late February and from forum comments it seems to be behaving itself well as people are asking for new features already. A good place to be in, from my perspective.

So, here it is April and I’ve yet to release anything. Sigh, best intentions and all that come to mind here…

But things are looking up, slightly. My consulting work ended at the end of March and since then I’ve been slowly working on my backlog and finishing the final edits. I hope, I and I say hope here as I haven’t demonstrated that it can happen yet, to release something by the end of the month.

It has yet to get easy as I’m getting solar panels installed on the house and experiencing the fun of multiple groups scheduling their time and getting things correct. This is to ensure the work passes inspection so they can turn the panels on to feed power into the electrical system. Right now, the panels are installed, the wiring connections made, but they need to update the outside utility box. Just this morning they were stopped because the electric box they needed to access to turn my power off is located in a neighbors yard behind a locked fence. Legally, they can not trespass to make it happen. So this morning I had 5 workmen outside talking on mobile phones with their supervisors about how to proceed (required a reschedule).

Today, I also completed my taxes. I owed. Ouch!

Next up, am working on the edits for Storms on an Opal Sea, to be followed by Cold Justice, RSN. Once they are done, then I’ll add SOA in the Three Realms book of short stories and release that as well.

So, plenty of things to do to stay busy.

Oh, a friend called last Thursday to say their technical trainer/writer just quit and would I be interested. Sure, I said, but you do realize it’s only been 4 working days since my last gig? I haven’t even had a chance to relax yet, sheesh!

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