The heart of the mystery.
Part 5 today. Just over 3,000 words, and I’m in the thick of it. I’ll let you in on a secret. I have no idea what I’m doing. No clue. I really don’t know how to write mysteries – and Secret Spice is supposed to be a cozy mystery! I think I write cozy adventures, actually, because I don’t think I’m really any good at literary deception.
What I mean is that right now this current WIP, my main character, Ma Tutt, is facing her big crisis and it’s been insinuated that she’s the culprit in the shenanigans occurring around town. (Sorry for the vague-booking, I don’t want to provide too many spoilers at this point!) Anyway, it’s no spoiler that Ma is not responsible for the ‘mystery-thing’ that happened.
Problem is, the real suspect that did the ‘mystery-thing’ is fairly obvious to the reader. I don’t have ten different suspicious characters (à la Agatha Christie) running around. Even Ma knows whodunit. So is what I’m writing really a mystery? Who knows?
What the characters and the reader don’t know is why the real perpetrator of the ‘mystery-thing’ did it. Does this make what I’m writing more a cozy suspense or cozy adventure? Haven’t a clue. Like I said, I’m not sure what I’m doing or if I’m writing a true mystery.
Up until this point in the story, I also had no clue as to what was going on or how it would all resolve. That’s the drawback (or advantage!) of writing into the dark. It’s always a surprise to see what the characters are up to!
My process is very similar to a writer friend of mine, Charles Gramlich (his blog is Razored Zen). He states that he usually lets his subconscious mind do the work when he writes a novel. Then: “As I work through a book, I'm constantly asking myself, what ‘could’ happen next? And how would that affect the character and the story? I always come up with many possibilities, most of which get rejected.”
Back to Wilhelm’s third option when it comes to ideas and story direction.
Here I am, then, at about 30,000 words (3/4 done as this will likely be a short novel at 40k) and I think I’ve discovered the heart of the mystery. The why! The wherefore! And I think I know how Ma will get to the bottom of it all and clear her name. Exciting.
So I made some notes, added some plot details, sketched out a potential ending or two…and can’t wait until tomorrow when I get to see what develops!
Back to Mr. Gramlich: “Typically with novels, since I’m always asking what’s next, about 2/3rds of a way through a book an idea for the potential ending comes to me. I make a line at the bottom of my manuscript and put NOTES there, and any potential endings I come up with I jot them down under notes. There’ll often be 2 or 3. That’s a kind of a very fluid outline. Eventually, only one ending wins out. Sometimes it isn’t any of the ones I originally thought of.”
Exactly. Very close to how my subconscious or creative brain works. Talk about an adventure. Kind of like a mystery. Heh, maybe I’m writing a mystery after all!
|Image by chenspec from Pixabay. Used by permission.|
Today’s Writing Tip…
Trust the creative side of your brain (you subconscious mind or whatever you want to call it) to come up with resolutions to the problems your characters got themselves into.