I'm starting a new book today, #2 in my League of Literary Ladies mystery series, "A Tale of Two Biddies."
But just because I start writing today doesn't mean I haven't been working. Hard.
I've spent a lot of time thinking about this book and last fall when I met with my brainstorming group, it was one of the plots we played with. We came up with some good ideas and I was able to take those, juggle them, slap them around. A couple weeks ago when I finished book #4 in my Button Box mystery series, the real work began because I couple weeks ago, I started outlining.
Are you a plotter? Or a panster?
Oh, I plot, all right. Can't imagine not doing it, especially when I'm working on a mystery. To me, mysteries need to fit together like one of those amazing Lego buildings you see at exhibits. Mysteries need to make sense. They need to be logical. Each incident needs to lead to the next, and the next, and . . . and the ending. And that ending better explain all the clues as well as whodunnit.
So I outline. And I plot. And I think. And I made notes. I do page after bulleted page of stream-of-consciousness kinds of thoughts. "If Bea talks to Mike, that won't make any sense in this chapter. She needs to do that earlier." And I go back to the beginning and I read it over and over. And I add, and I get rid of things like, "If Bea talks to Mike . . ." and put each incident where (I hope) it belongs.
Will the book adhere completely to the outline? Absolutely not, there's always room for new ideas, new characters, fun dialogue. What I have is a roadmap, and before I begin the journey, a roadmap is exactly what I need, especially when the book is due in a little less than three months and I know it will be published next February. Oh yes, I need to write and I need to write fast.
I've got a good place to start, 23 pages of bulleted points, all broken down in chapters. And once again, I'm amazed at the way our minds work. For me, plotting is a very different skill from writing, just as writing is very different from editing. Once again, the ol' brain has come through, and I'm grateful.
Now, I need to get to work!