Shenanigans of a Wrimo

OK! Building on from yesterday.

First question spotted on the Twitter:

How to get through that one scene that’s not long so much as boring, but still needs to be written or the story is no good.

I liked this question. I had at least one. Alright, at the shot of a spoiler: My novel is a murder mystery. I like the “clean” mysteries: no blood, no sex… basically it’s PG-13, I suppose. I’m not a rank-by-age person, but that’s the one I would subscribe. So my one scene that’s boring is the scene where the victim dies and is subsequently discovered.

See, the issue was this: Lay it out in such a way that there’s the circumstance leading up to the death, and then the discovery. I had my circumstances all lined up, my before-and-after. I knew who I wanted to discover it, and the build-up was what got me. I trundled along through that wishing I knew how to accelerate over it, even.

My resolution for it: Work out what functions the characters serve in the other stories. The shrill woman became an ally to my protagonist. Pause the scene, it’s not going anywhere. Find a way to hint at who the villain is. Throw them under a bus – okay, just a car. In a scene like this, I wanted to nail three things: a death, a discovery and a bait-and-switch. My bait-and-switch was what tempted me to forge on ahead. I wanted to drop the one little thing and then yank the rug out from under you.

Once I’d got that piece, the bait-and-switch, down, the scene was mostly finished. So to answer this: Find something in your scene you want to see in it. I wanted a B&S; shove it in there, and I found that was motivation to carry on from there. Kind of a tabula rasa within a tabula rasa.

How did you find the energy to finish so fast?

LOL, I didn’t. It wasn’t exactly about energy, per se. Part of it was the challenge I set out at the beginning of October. Finish your NaNoWriMo, be awesome, then go and do That Other Writing Thing. Part of it was about the enthusiasm I had for my story. I’d pulled the outline from my phone months ago so I already knew my story. I just had to write it.

I made a lot of time for it too. Cut out the gym, for instance: raced home after work, threw self in front of computer. I tend to have tunnel vision and a habit of high-goals, as well as actively challenging the goals. So in the 30 minutes between coming home and dinner, for instance, I would do 500 words. After dinner, come back and sprint some more. I’m competitive, if someone told me the sprint was 1000 words, then I’d try for 1200. Do this four, five hours in a day and that builds up.

I set out small goals over the weekend. Starting at 17,500. “Get 20,000,” I told myself. Check. Get 25,000. Check. Reach 30,000 by dinner. Check. Do 17,500 in one day. Check.

That sort of thing.

What’s the story about?

It’s a murder mystery. It’s also in the sub-genre cozy mystery, which tends to trend along the lines of a main protagonist (99% of the ones I’ve read have a woman) who through whichever circumstance, falls into a murder mystery. This go around, my MC is getting back on her feet after a first set of shenanigans when the proverbial hits the fan. She’s a little smarter this time – she doesn’t think, “Oh shit. Well I’m involved now, best solve this.” She runs along with it because she genuinely wants to solve it, because she hates this ending for the victim. There’s still space for her to be smarter, but that’s what Book 3 will be for.

As a character she’s grown up a bit over the last six months of her life.

Is it finished or are you still writing it?

Erm… both. I slapped on the Epilogue and this book’s plot is finished, but there’s an overarching storyline that will take more books. Don’t ask me what the storyline is, I don’t know it yet. I’d say come and ask me in a year, but actually I have another few in the series mapped out.

Of course the next steps are to edit, to unravel the part that got delineated, and clear up my Word document. At some point yesterday Word popped up a dialogue box. “Word cannot handle the number of errors you have made, human.” Something to that effect, I held my breath and hoped for it not to crash. Happily, it did not. The story lives happily ever after.  I like the three-draft policy where I add and slash whatever I feel like, and eventually there will be a viable product.

That’s all the questions Twitter gave me. Anything else you want to know?

Ask away!

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