Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Ma Tutt’s Secret Spice – Day 7

Some hard fought words today.

Image by Willi Heidelbach from Pixabay. Used by permission.

Some days it flows, somedays it flows like molasses. About 2,500 words and I’m still in Part 5, “Time Reveals All.” As I mentioned earlier, I was starting to write Secret Spice as a series of interconnected short stories. Part 1 is titled “Yesterday” and works well, I think, as a 9k word self-contained story set in the world of Ma Tutt and Sugar Pine Station.

Gave up the idea of tying together a bunch of cat tales (tails?) with an overarching story arc when Part (story) 2, “Time for Tea,” didn’t wrap up the way I thought it would. So, Part 3, “Stuck in a Moment,” resolved that mini-crisis but introduced more plot elements that needed a different structure than the episodic structure I was using.

(By the way, Book 1, Ma Tutt’s Donut Hut, is an episodic novel of 4 or 5 stories tied together and I think it works quite well. I just couldn’t duplicate the process with Secret Spice.)

 Part 4, then, “The Worst of Times,” raised the stakes and introduced the big crisis and now Part 5, “Time Reveals All,” starts to solve it.

But I ran into a problem. I couldn’t show the reader how everything was going to get solved by sticking with Ma’s point-of-view. You see, so far (I think!) everything that the reader sees is what Ma sees and we also get inside Ma’s head a bit and listen to her thoughts. I found limiting my storytelling to only what happens when Ma is in the room wasn’t working for me.

So just like I abandoned the episodic structure of this story, I abandoned just one POV. I won’t tell you who’s POV I chose to advance the plot, but it’s an obvious character and will confirm for the reader that so-and-so is the one who really needs to “reveal all.”

What I think this means is that I’m finally figuring out how to write longer stories! You laugh, but my longest sustained story arc is only about 25,000 words. That’s a nice length for a novella but a short novel needs at least 40k and most cozy readers want at least 60k. (Or so I’m told.)

Anyway, I’m learning what it takes to write a novel, and one strategy is employing multiple POVs. We’ll see how it pans out.

Today’s Writing Tip…

Don’t be afraid to abandon certain devices or structures and employ new ones as you write. Who cares if you’re changing horses midstream? It’s all practice anyway.


Writing: Ma Tutt’s Secret Spice by Lyn Perry 
Introduction - Tackling a New Project
Day 1 - 450 words, story at 18,500 words
Day 2 - 500 words, story at 19,000 words
Day 3 - 3000 words, story at 22,000 words
Day 4 - 3100 words, story at 25,100 words
Day 5 - 3000 words, story at 28,100 words
* Day 6 - 3050 words, story at 31,150 words
* Day 7 - 2550 words, story at 33,700 words


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Hey, I'm Lyndon Perry, a speculative fiction writer living in Puerto Rico. I'm a former pastor and current husband, father, coffee drinker, and cat-wrangler. You can find me almost anywhere online, so check out my various Linktree Locations and say hello!

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