Sunday, September 03, 2006

Murder or Earthquake?

Hmmm ... should I continue with the murder mystery, Gino's Law, or go back to the first book, The Earthquake Doll?

The murder mystery isn't finished. I'm daunted by the infamous third act where everything has to come together, preferably in a way that thunders to the climax. I'm worried that I won't be able to pull it off, never having written a mystery before. Leaving clues pointing to several suspects, sustaining old or launching new red herrings, making everything plausible, entertaining, suspensful, and above all unpredictable - oh sure, I can do that. Not. I stopped writing.

I thought, rather than waste time worrying about this, why not turn to the other book, the YA novel that I've already finished. I was in the process of editing it - oh, about two-thirds of the way through - when I had my bervous nakedown last fall. Why not just return to that, finish off the edit, and start the query-go-round in search of an agent? Then, I could return to the mystery while waiting for the phone to start ringing. :)

But ... shouldn't I really get back to the mystery and stop looking for ways to get out of doing the work, and prove to myself that I can pull it off? If I switch to the other book now, aren't I just admitting defeat? Shouldn't I just march right up to the keyboard and pound that third act into the hard drive like the woman I know I am? Or, not ...

Then Grace, the artist, came over the other day to take a look at her old portfolio up in the studio (in the garage apt. out back) because she's joined a group of writers and illustrators of children's books. She decided that she needed more stuff in her portfolio, so I showed her some of my old children's stories to see if there was enough imagery in any of them for her to illustrate. She chose one called The Kirin, which is a story about loss (of friends, loved ones, etc.) for six to nine-year-olds. A kirin is a Japanese mythological beast (for which their beer is named.) I can hardly wait to see all the images she comes up with for the story!

Since the story was based on something Japanese, I was inspired to make a decision: go back to the first novel, which is set in Japan, and get that sucker edited and sent out into the world.

You'd think that would be all there was to it. I sure did, anyway.

But no. When I got out all my notes that went with the MS, it finally (finally, after two years, mind you) sunk in that I should do what Pooks and everyone else who's read the story recommended: rewrite the MS from Isoko's POV alone, instead of from hers and Susan's. I don't know why I didn't see this clearly before. Okay, maybe I do know why; I'm stubborn. It is obvious to me (now) that the story will be much stronger. Of course, this requires a lot of work to pull off because so many scenes occur without Isoko. Once again, I'm daunted.

So ... I'm going back to the murder mystery.

I think.