Saturday, March 22, 2014

7 Reasons Why Current Novel Was Hardest to Write

The second novel in my Black Belt Mystery series is coming out this June, yay!  It will be called Murder with Altitude, by Sue Star.  It's the hardest book I've ever written so far.  Why?  

1.  It's a mystery.  

Mysteries are extra hard (at least, for me) to write.  My long-time friend Tom Schantz of The Rue Morgue once told me that mysteries are solved because of a mistake that the villain makes.  (These are my words.  He said it originally much better.)  So, that means as author I have to know what that mistake is and how it will lead to capture of the villain, which also means I have to know who are the suspects and the informants and how the trail of clues will lead the sleuth to discovery of the villain.  It's like a puzzle, and all the pieces have to work together.  Too many pieces, or the wrong pieces, make a mess.  

2.  That rascal Villain changed on me.  

Being a pantser, or writing by the seat of my pants, or writing into the dark, I write the story to discover what the story is.  Just when I thought I had it figured out, the plot and characters took off in a different direction, giving me a different villain, which meant I had to adjust the clues, and then all the threads started unraveling, which meant I had to…  

3.  Redraft.  

I redrafted 12 times.  Ugh.  This book came close to being stillborn, but I couldn't let it go.  

4.  Life Happens.  

We wouldn't have anything to write about if life didn't happen!  After 3 trips to Europe, a new granddaughter, and time being Nana, I now have at least a dozen more projects in the queue to write about, projects that have distracted me with tempting research into English history, canal boats, and Brazilian crime.  

5.  Starting and Stopping.

This is similar to being a painter and getting knocked off your ladder with a tray of paints.  You have to pick yourself up, clean up the spilled paints, and climb back on the ladder.  Now, where was I?  

6.  Other writing projects.  

While writing my 12 drafts, two other novels came out under my pen names:  The Jigsaw Window, by Cameron Kennedy, a novel that shows a family healing after Alzheimer's tears them apart; and The Mound Dwellers, by Minta Monroe, a novel about ghosts and a young woman's return to the family homestead.  I also kept up writing short stories and sold two of them.  More about those later.  

7.  Technology upgrades, learning curves, and computer crashes, dontcha love 'em??