Sunday, January 17, 2016

Murder is My Game

Okay, you'll see that I've completely switched gears from the vampire-themed stories to my mystery series (I hope it will be a series, but we'll see how the first one goes). Yes, there is a big difference in HOW to write a mystery. It takes more thought on where the story has to go, plotting it and so forth, which is something I haven't really done in the past. I had some idea, of course, where I wanted my stories to go, but you need to really know what's going on in the background with your characters--especially the murderer--before you begin. In fact it wasn't until the other day I knew what the murder weapon would be. It wasn't a gun, but a very large, very elaborate hunting knife.

The other day I wrote chapter 5 from beginning to end in one day. Woohoo! In fact, I had my little hand recorder, with me when I woke and made some detailed notes on it before I got out of bed. I haven't had that happen in a while. And yesterday, had multiple ideas for clues and so forth swimming around, so had to jot them down while I was doing other things. Again, this hasn't happened in several months. Now, I guess you can say I've emmerced myself into the writing of this book. At least I hope I won't fall face-first into the mud of embarrassment because I screwed up something.

In doing a mystery I, of course, gathered information around the Internet. Many blogs where the theme is murder mysteries. One is very good, and gives a lot of tips, not just how to write mysteries, but writing tips as well this particular post was helpful: here
I often check what's happening over on MAKE MINE MYSTERY, not always there is a good piece on writing mysteries, but sometimes one makes me stop in and read.

There are multiple ones on police procedures and crime scenes. There are places where you can link to several things, depending upon what you need. Like HERE.

There are a lot of sites out there to help one get things right. Every once in a while I catch something that pops out at me. Like motive, at MMM (MAKE MINE MYSTERY) site.+

When you write a mystery, depending upon the modus operandi is, invariably, there may be a gun involved, and you need to know the ins and outs of guns, the various kinds and so on. Since I'm not a fan of dangerous weapons, and don't carry, I'm flat stupid about them. But I'm learning. Jungle Red Writers has a good forum at the site I've copied for this segment. You don't want to write about something you haven't a clue about, it's best to have something to fact check. I happen to have a nephew who works as a deputy with the county, and have access to him, whenever I need. He's been very helpful. For instance, did you know that police lock their weapons up every night (or when they are home) to insure that no family member has access to the gun so that there are no accidents with it? Anyone who doesn't lock up a gun where children might be able to access it are only asking for a horrible accident.

Anyway, where was I? Right. Handguns. Even though in the mystery I'm writing the weapon is not a handgun, it's good to read up on such things, just in case some issue of guns comes up in the writing. Here was one on MMM about carrying one, how it feels, etc. The editor of an author caught him writing about something he didn't know--GUNS.

Well, I've got a head of steam today, got lots to write, so I'll end this for now.
Happy Writing!

Monday, January 11, 2016

Back in the Writing Saddle

Yesterday, I got up-to-speed on the Lainey Quilholt mystery--read through the twenty-some pages I'd written last year, before I stopped. I took a long break from writing. I needed it. Not sure what this year will bring me, but I'm just going with the flow for now.

Yesterday I wrote over 1,800 words past what I'd had. I finally wrote the scene I simply wasn't able to do, as yet, last year. Not that it was hard, or anything, I just wasn't in the mood to write. Opening up all my notes on this I find I've made not only the manuscript, but notes for what I think will become a series for my YA mysteries, I created one just for the characters names (and all details on them I need at a glance), and the places which they go or which are in the story. And then there's what I want to call notes on writing the mystery--I find all that I can on writing them from other blogs, and I've pasted them down in this file.

I've never attempted writing a murder mystery--just a straight mystery--before. No vampires, no supernatural anything. I might give Lainey a touch of precognitive abilities, but nothing out of the ordinary. I say I've never written a mystery before, but that's not really accurate. In all my Sabrina Strong books, there is a mystery to solve. Working on a straight murder mystery is a bit of a challenge because I need to know who the murderer is, why he/she did it, and what makes them tick. And then, I have to somehow make it seem impossible this person did it, while throwing at the reader a couple of red herrings (no more than 5, is recommended). And also, somehow, I have to have my main character--Lainey--somehow privy to certain information. Thus, I have her living with her aunt (she lost her parents a few years prior to opening of the story), who is dating the small Iowa/River town police chief. This way, she would have some access to certain procedures, and to the police themselves. This is a cozy mystery, of course. And, since it's a YA, too, so much the better that I won't get into the grisly scenes of the murder--that happens off page. And since it's a YA, also, I won't be dealing with too many adult situations.

That's all I have time for today. Hope your writing is going well. Or, if you need a break, it might be the best medicine. I know it was for me. Talk soon!

Saturday, January 2, 2016

The New Year Begins...

Last year was a year of working out the kinks. In my back, in my thoughts, in everything, really.

I took the year off from writing. Well, a portion of the year, since I felt I needed it. Some writers have referred to it as writer's block--any time you can't write. I tend to think of writer's block when you can't continue writing, or even start. And this shouldn't last very long, if you know how to stimulate the writing muscle.

No. Having been writing for four decades, I know that I've gone long periods where I simply needed time away from writing. A break from it. This is what it is. I've no idea if I can get back to it this year. I may not. Not that I don't have ideas. I do. I would like to, but there may be a number of reasons why I won't.

For one thing, during those decades of writing, I did a lot of it. And, for those who have only just begun writing, you've always had it easy. A computer, instead of pen/pencil & paper, or typewriter. I wrote every day, even when I was in school. In fact I probably wrote my stories instead of studied. (I hated school, including college--until I got to take writing courses, of course.) It was all practice. I didn't see much published before the age of 40, and after that, it looked like none of my books would be published, until I self-published "Spell of the Black Unicorn". And had a great book signing in a local Borders.

Anyway, the point is I never gave up. I didn't stop writing like a possessed woman. I worked at a job and wrote when I was home, whenever I could. I didn't stop to watch too much TV, I feel like I missed out on a lot. I quit writing a few times, as I've mentioned. Once, when I worked in a craft store, I concentrated on crafting for 3 or 4 years. I made money at it, but not enough to live on. But it was nice to make money at something I liked doing. Then, I went back to writing and didn't stop writing, until now.

This isn't to say that I'm not doing anything writing-wise. I've finished edits (to the best of my ability) on the fifth book in the Sabrina Strong series. I have three more written (the 8th one still needs some work), and all I plan on doing is the last go-through on #6 & #7.

In the meantime, I've gone back to crafts and crocheting. I've made a number of afghans over the last 3 years. One I gave away to a friend, and one as a baby shower gift, and I may make one for a friend who is getting married. I've returned to crafting, merely because I think there's a market for it, but need to find somewhere to sell them. I was known as the "Coke Bottle Lady". I usually painted Christmas scenes, Santa's, snowmen, and other things on them. I took orders all the time. I charged $6 for the small bottles, and $12 for the large, antique ones I painted, and they flew off the shelves.

Also, last year I re-discovered yoga, and I'm keeping up with it, although, I got lazy and have been doing it sporadically, but I'm going to step it up again. Walking in the winter is not my cup of tea. I used to go cross-country skiing, but I don't have a pair of boots any more. And I'm afraid of falling or twisting an ankle. I still have to work for a living.

Speaking of which I dream of the day I can quit the bus company I work for. I won't go into why, but any job has its annoying qualities, including bosses and supervisors, and people you simply can't stand to be around. Oh. And the job itself.

And in August--a long way off, but the way the calendar seems to turn pages at the speed of sound (yes, time seems to fly, but it really isn't going any faster or slower than it should--it just seems like it), I turn 62 and I will be taking social security. My husband is 4 years younger, but he has to wait until 65 to take his. We are looking into our later years hoping we can hold on and be able to buy the trailer and eventually live in it. Where? Wherever the hell we want. His parents lived and worked in RV parks, so we know the in's and out's of it.

At any rate, the new year has begun, and I'm just going to go day-by-day, and see what tomorrow brings. If I write a little here or there, then so be it. If I don't, no big deal. It's there when I feel like going back to it. I only know that I'll feel refreshed when I do.

Thanks for joining me today. Hope your year brings the things you want, but, if not, maybe there's something else there waiting for you to discover.