It is nearly the end of the month, so you know what means…another writing project finished. Well, a first draft, but that means the hardest part is over. At least, I consider that the hard part. It’s easy for me to work with a sketch/blueprint of a story. I’ve never been a crazy reviser. Some writers make whole outlines and travel to distant lands to receive wise words from a sorcerer when they start revising…okay, maybe not that last one. In my case, with my finished story, I wrote along the way. At some point I changed the plot so I started over, using some of the pages that I could from the old version and just wrote. Along the way, I’d see if it made sense, but I knew where I wanted to go. The only rewriting that needed to be done after that was the phrasing of words, making sure it’s not too wordy and other syntax related changes. I suppose it’s good to know that I don’t write in such a way that I have to change scenes here and there and really cut it up and paste it again. Usually when I know the direction I want to go in, I can write it like I’d read it.
Having said that, now that I’ve finished another project, it’s time to revise the first one. The cosy mystery. TUM TUM TUM TUM. In this case, I feel like I really just wrote it to be quick and get the basic idea down, so I do feel like I will need to work hard to get the characterisation right and the plot, the atmosphere. The Writing Guidelines are different for cosy mysteries than for the other stories I’ve been writing so perhaps that is why I need to reread it with fresh eyes. I felt like something was missing. That is also why I ordered a cosy mystery and started reading it to get in the right mind set. I think what I’m missing has something to do with the characters. Cosy mysteries usually have a lot of minor characters, but I don’t like too many minor characters, I need to give them something special to set them apart and in this case, I didn’t feel the need for certain characters. Or scenes for that matter. But with cosy mysteries, cosy is very important. Characters need to be there to provide comic relief even though they don’t contribute (much) to the plot and the same with certain scenes. They need to add to the cosy vibe. So instead of asking myself: Does this character contribute to the plot? Or does this scene contribute to the story? I need to ask myself: Does this character make the story more cosy? Does this scene make it cosy? Which is why I’m soaking up the cosy vibe with other books.
This is also why they say writers should read. It really helps to take away what not to do and what to do from an already written story in your genre. So get your read on…and then your write on!
In the meantime here is the final sentence of the story about the girl with multiple personalities:
After all, most of the time, the only person who can lighten up a dark room, is you.
I’m officially a (self-declared) cosy mystery writer so naturally my plan was to plot this whole son of a b*tch since mysteries involve carefully planted clues. I scribbled and scribbled and brainstormed until my brain hurt and eventually just started writing. That’s when things started flowing and I realised that maybe I shouldn’t try so hard to be something that I’m not. I always dive into my stories and see what happens. When I finished my first story, things came together in a way that my conscious hadn’t even realised yet. I always believed that the subconscious knew more and made connections even before I saw them, but the doubtful voice in my head said that such a thing was too easy and that I should plot like a ‘real’ writer. But lots of (famous) writers don’t plot. The writing process is a personal one. You have to decide what works for you.
That is why I’m declaring myself a loud and proud winger. Winger sounds weird. Non-plotter? Notter? No. Anyway, the only plotting I’ll be doing is during the formation of my world domination plans.
Right now the writing is going well and I’ve added a word count at the right top side of my shiny blog in case you are interested to follow the process of my latest cosy mystery. Before I tried to write one page a day, but in the last five days I’ve written six chapters! So now a chapter a day is my goal.
I’m just going to see where it goes. The subplot might need some fleshing out, but that is what second drafts are for! We go onwards! To the lair!
When stories come to me, they can be of any genre. How open-minded of them. And I never minded, a story is a story, should it check to see what genre I write before it knocks on my door? I never thought so. But as I’m lately thinking about what kind of writer I want to be, I came across this article that recommended sticking to one genre. This got me thinking. Part of me objected and was like; what about the story? Should I just leave it out in the cold? And the other part of me thought; at least I won’t be all over the place and I can focus on one story.
So this is what I’ve decided to do for now. Sorry, other stories, but you are being shoved into the back of the drawer. Don’t worry, I’ll leave you some candy. But for now, only one WIP at a time.
So what genre am I focussing on?
There is really only one genre that always makes me feel warm and fuzzy on the inside. Cosy mysteries. So right now, that is what I’m working on. I’ve already reached chapter seven, but am trying to outline more than ever before. It’s a mystery after all and I need to know how to scatter the clues and where to drop the red herrings. It’s hard though. I can tell I’m more of a wing-it person. It becomes too clinical for me when I have to analyse what I’m about to write and why. With me it has to flow. But I’m not giving up yet, even if I only have a few scenes to work towards, that will help. So all that evil chuckling you hear coming from the writing lair, is me trying to plot the hell out of my WIP. Wish me luck and if I don’t make it out alive…avenge my death!