In Brief

I've written a series of four lesbian detective novels, unimaginatively called, "The Detective Series." They are available for your purchasing pleasure on in paperback and Kindle versions and on for Nook. In addition, I like sunsets, single malt scotch, and some other thing that starts with the letter S. This blog gets updated once a week or so and usually has something to do with my experiences as a writer.

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Saving my darling

While I was writing book #3, I posted about a scene that was "supposed to be light and easy" but ended up being un-write-able. It was such a persnickety bitch that I ended up cutting it entirely from the book. I just couldn't make it work. Like far too many girls in my past, it was all, "Oh, you like what you see, do you? WELL FORGET ABOUT IT." Fine, I said. FINE. I WILL.

But I didn't. Yes, I cut it and removed any traces of it from book #3, but I didn't delete the words into the digital nether. It was only partially finished, but I saved what I had in my notes because I suspected it might slide smoothly and easily into...uh... Wait, where was I going with this thought? I seem to have become distracted. Oh! Book #4. It would fit into book #4. Right.

And indeed, it did fit into book #4. As it turns out, the scene just wasn't feeling it with book #3. The pheromones were off or something like that. But book #4? That was just the right spot. And you know how good it is in just the right spot.

Aside: What has gotten into me with the dirty double entendres?  

How about you? Have you ever removed a scene (or character) from one story because it wasn't working only to find the right place for it in another story down the road?



Writing is the best drug ever

Or maybe it's just this book, which I'd planned to be the fun one. I remember the lead up to book #3 and my trepidation, even during that highest of high points (you know, before you've actually written any of it). That book had a lot of work to do, character work, work that wasn't fun, and I wasn't sure I could pull it off (and maybe I didn't! Kristan?). But book #4! Book #4 benefits from the work of book #3, so it can go out there and just have a good time.

I just started writing three days ago, so obviously I'm not very far along, but I'm having a grand ole time. That part is excellent. The downside is that I'm already experiencing insomnia. That's usually something I reserve for the last third of a book when I'm coming down to the wire. To be unable to sleep already is concerning, although maybe it makes sense. This book is, after all, the last 25% of the series, so the whole thing is kind of like the end. However, not being able to sleep for the next two to three months will be...problematic, to say the least.

While writing book #3, I gave myself a free pass to eat a lot of crap and not exercise. I told myself that using discipline about my health would get in the way of my creative process which apparently hated my health with a passion. I promptly gained ten motherfucking pounds, and then just for kicks, I tagged on five more as the summer progressed. THIS DID NOT MAKE ME A HAPPY CAMPER. So none of that bullshit this time around. In the last two weeks, I've lost three pounds, and by golly (aren't I cute?), my weight is going to keep going down until it gets to where it was last spring. Huzzah!

Oh the glorious beginning! It's all so fantastic now. Sigh. Swoon. I love you, book #4. And I'd especially love it if later tonight, when I'm lying awake obsessively thinking about you, you'd spoon me.


Friday, Friday, Gotta get down on Friday

I am SO EXCITED about starting book #4 this Friday that I'm practically giddy, and I'm not a giddy sort of girl. I don't know how I'm going to do it. I've got a lot of stuff going on, and besides all of that, family obligations will only mount as the holidays approach, but I'm going full steam ahead. My partner is supportive of me, but I wouldn't say she's exactly happy. Is that stopping me? Nope. You don't want to be married to me! Because I don't care about your feelings! I'm a jerk!

My outline feels more solid and developed than any outline I've ever come up with before. I still wouldn't call it detailed, but I definitely have a path to follow. I've decided to "pay attention" to this pacing frame which I read about on Writer Unboxed over the summer (it's about halfway down that post). I say "pay attention" because I'm not going to hold myself to it rigidly, but I am going to reference it and think about it as I move through the book. It's sure to have an impact. (And by the way, should you read that Writer Unboxed post in its entirety, I'm not going to do what that author does for her first drafts. I'm just "paying attention" to the frame she writes about.)

As I've approached writing this final book in the series, my enthusiasm has gone up and down. Before I started book #3, I was already thinking about book #4, and a big part of me wanted to skip over book #3 and get right to #4. But I sucked it up and wrote #3, and then after I was done, I had the opposite experience. I was no longer excited at all about book #4. That worried me a bit, so I am quite relieved that it's come back around again, and I'm ready to go.

It's always good before the writing begins to remind oneself about what is about to happen. To wit, I'm bringing out the novel chart again:

So hey, I've got the greatest idea I've ever had, and I can't wait to get to it. This is it. THE LAST BOOK. The story will conclude this time, the whole shebang. I can't even imagine what that will feel like. And this time, I'm bound to skip over that "dark night of the soul" part, right?




As an aside, Tamara requested in the comments to my last post that she'd be interested in me posting my daily word count again. I had mixed feelings about the reaction to that the last time I did it. What do you think? For or against it?




I'm planning on starting the book #4 draft on November 4, and I'm beginning to feel that combined sense of excitement and panic that comes before I dive into writing a new book. You will all be very proud of me that I have a list of suspects. That's right, bitches. I showed me! There are five of them and they all have names, each and every one of them! I'm not sure why any of them want to commit the crime, but that's just a minor detail. It's minor, I said. Jesus Christ, get off my back already. I've still got nine days before I start writing this thing.

For the past month or so, I've been jotting down scene ideas and character ideas. It's kind of a hodgepodge at the moment so I need to organize these scenes. One might even go so far as to utter the word "outline." 

I'm happy that this book's timeline runs from the fall to the spring. That was the time period for book #2 as well. My story is set in present day America, and by starting in the fall, that means holidays and lots of 'em. The first thing I'll do now as I try to organize my scenes is list the holidays: Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's, and Valentine's Day. I know I'm going to touch on these holidays and incorporate them into my story, so now I'll take the other scenes I have and organize them around these days. Things shape up pretty quickly.

Book #3 of my series took place from spring to fall, and I have to say, I missed the anchors of the major holidays. In spring to fall, I was stuck with the second tier holidays of Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and Labor Day. That means I had to come up with compelling story ideas all on my own. Glad I'm dodging that bullet this time around!

I'm curious: how do you prep before you begin writing a novel? If you outline, how do you start building it (do you start with the character or the events of the plot or the holidays on the calendar or what)? If you don't outline, do you do something else?


Plausible deniability

November is only a couple of weeks away, and that's when I intend to start writing book #4. Per usual, I have most of the character arc stuff all lined up and very little of the big case figured out. That's how I roll, baby. 

In other words, I haven't managed to come up with my list of suspects yet. I've tried. I've really tried. But it's like looking at that optical illusion where its either two faces or a wine glass. I'm all, "See the two faces! See the two faces!" but my mind immediately starts thinking, "Mmmm, wine." Sigh. I suspect that this case is going to go like the others where I end up a hundred pages into the story, staring at my computer screen, muttering, "I should have taken the time to figure this out beforehand. Why don't you learn, woman!"

Oh, fuck you, future me.

My other source of anxiety about starting this book is that I don't know when I'm going to hear something from the publisher about the editing process for book #1 or what their expectations are for it. I could, of course, email them to ask these sorts of questions, but I've decided to take the turd's path should they contact me before the book #4 draft is done. "You want me to edit book #1? Really? I had no idea you were going to want me to do that now! Well, I'll be done with the book #4 draft by February at the latest, 'kay? Kisses! Love you!"

Who's with me on this? Are there any questions that you are purposefully not asking because you're afraid that the answers will get in your way?