Friday, January 20, 2006

Mystery Solved

Okay, so I was up to Chapter 5 of Paradise Parkway. The body was discovered and the police came to question Gino Gibaldi in their initial canvass of the neighborhood. Then what? I had no idea.

What was I thinking? I'd never written a mystery! So yesterday it was off to the bookstore. I returned with "Writing and Selling Your Mystery Novel (how to knock 'em DEAD with style)" by Hallie Ephron. I got halfway through it and now I know what I'm doing and why. This book is an amazing guide.

First, you decide what kind of mystery you want to do. Did you know there are at least ten subgenres in mystery fiction? I didn't! This one's going to be a "cozy" or "cosy" because it's humorous, the setting is a small community, the protagonist is an amateur sleuth, and the violence is off stage.

Then, it has worksheets to help you build your characters, their world, define the killer's motive(s), set up the innocent suspects and their secrets and lies, and plot your story. By the end of the book, if you've done all the worksheets, you'll be ready to start writing.

Of course, it leaves room for those wonderful creative moments when characters have better ideas than you did when you started out. That happened while I was doing the worksheets, and the identity of the killer changed. I'm keeping it a secret, so don't ask!


Remember, everyone: Book of Daniel is on tonight!