Starting to struggle here.
Today the novel hit 20k words. Only one chapter done. That’s not bad, of course, but I get the feeling that the story is about half way finished. Which kinda disappoints as I was hoping this novel would go 60k. The four previous books I’ve written are all around 40k, so maybe that’s all my current creative brain can handle.
I sort of had this vision that my cozies would fall into three distinct categories. First, my Mister the Magical Cat adventures would all be novellas at 20k each. Then my Ma Tutt and Mack books (supernatural cozies) would be 40k each. And then this new series – true cozy mysteries without any magic (but with a hint of supernatural mystery) would run 60k words.
The best laid plans of mice and men, I suppose.
And maybe I’ll reach my target yet, but the story has hit a bit of a wall. For sure, my disjointed schedule is taking its toll. We just closed on our condo, but we have to transfer the utilities before we can inhabit the place – I don’t want try to survive in mid-80 degrees without electricity or water!
Then we have to clean out the condo. They are called apartamentos here in Puerto Rico and evidently when we signed the contract to buy it “as is” that mean as is! As in, the previous owner left without really cleaning the place up! We took out 9 large bags of trash that the last owner should have thrown out on their own. Stuff that needed to be tossed.
Ah well. The apartment comes fully furnished (although a couple of the ACs aren’t working), and there’s a great ocean view. So it’s a trade-off. The problem is that I’m also trading off my writing time so that I can get the condo ready to occupy.
Thus, I’m losing focus on the story.
I feat the story is going to bog down as well. If I’m truly at hal-way, then I'm hitting that middle section of the novel that often starts to drag. You know what I’m talking about. That 40% to 70% range where we start to skim as readers.
Don’t know about you, but when I read books, a lot of stories slooowww way down in the middle. I can see why. The exciting part is front-loaded to get readers interested and hooked. That’s what I’ve done with Secrets & Scents. These first 12 or 13 chapter are pretty action packed and filled with excitement (at least I think so! lol).
Plus, I now know the ending I’m working toward. I’ve plotted this novel out for the most part, but wasn’t sure about the exact ending. Still not 100% clear on how it all wraps up, but I do know ‘whodunnit’ and I’m moving toward that final reveal. The challenge for the next few chapters is to make the journey from set-up to resolution interesting.
So…any advice? (grin) Should I blow something up? Don't laugh, that's actually a plot strategy. When the action slows down and the pace of the story begins to stagnate, one way to get the audience (if in a movie) or readers (if in a book) to re-engage is to throw in a huge catastrophe and then watch the characters pick up the pieces.
Maybe that’s what I need to do next! I have to expand this middle section so that we don’t end the story too early or too abruptly. We need more tension or red herrings or a few more subplots and surprising elements. Sounds easy once I put it down in writing.
Harder to do when I start writing the story! I’ll let you know what strategy I chose in the next few journal entries.
Avoid the middle of the novel bog down. Keep things interesting and the story moving forward. Easier said than done!
Progress: Writing Secrets & Scents...
Introduction – Part 2: The Missing Novel
Day 1 - 3100 (Chps 1 & 2) - Total: 3,100 words
Day 2 - 3300 (Chps 3 & 4) - Total: 6,400 words
Here's a placeholder image for Secrets & Scents - A Kelli & Jo Candle Shop Mystery by yours truly. I'll be launching a Kickstarter Campaign in September, 2022, for cozy mystery fans to acquire their exclusive pre-release edition of my latest novel with a brand new, professionally designed cover. Watch for details.
In the meantime, if you become a Patreon Subscriber, you'll be able to read Secrets & Scents as I write it! New chapters of my WIP every week, plus a backlist novel a month and bonus short stories exclusive to patrons.