Tuesday, January 14, 2014

"This isn't a day for 'um'."

Tomorrow is the big Fly Away Home cover reveal day! I have many fellow writing-blogs set up to help celebrate the occasion and there will be a giveaway starting tomorrow morning. Stay tuned--it's a rather jolly prize you could be winning. I can't wait for all of you to see the cover and finally let that cat out of its bag.
And after introducing a certain character, I want a bloodhound.

Since finishing formatting FAH, I have been steadily picking away at Anon, Sir, Anon. I am giving myself license this time to write the first draft without fretting too much as to whether the action arrives quickly enough or whether conversations ought to be shorter or anything. I have never written a mystery so I am not expecting over-much out of this first draft except a good first telling of the story. That being said, I am rather fond of what I've come up with so far. I have said before that I am a "pantser" when it comes to writing novels, but of course a mystery requires the author to know what she is about before starting the process. Much thought has gone into this mystery but there are details upon which I am negotiable. As I sat down to write today, one of the issues resolved itself in a lovely way and I am thankful for an early scene that can be used later on if need be. There's this scene in National Treasure where the bad guy (Ian - love him) says to the main character:
"Here's the thing about playing poker, Ben: sometimes you've got to be holding all the cards."
(Then the camera flashes to Abigail, Riley, and Ben's dad who are all being held hostage by Ian). When you're writing a mystery, you have this lovely sense of superiority because you get to hold all the cards. You start the novel knowing all those vital questions (Who/What/When/Where/Why), and the mystery-writer's job is to disperse the cards all through the novel. It is up to each writer's taste as to how those cards are played; some writers like to make the mystery solvable so that the reader will be able to figure it out. Others like to mystify everyone until the very last scene when they lay it all out and the reader backs away blinking and a little stunned. I won't tell you which version I am going for. Getting to hold the cards is a responsibility, though. It means that if I play my cards wrong, I could spill the answer to the riddle in a way that ruins the story. It means that every line counts because every line could be a clue to the final solution. Which kinda makes it a really fun read. :)

I'm having a jolly time and I hope the book continues to go as well as it currently is. 13,371 words in and we've only just seen the body. (Aren't I charmingly chirpy and optimistic so early on?)  I've also got the added interest of introducing the two detectives to each other and building up that relationship. Fun fun!

How do you like your mysteries? "Deductable" or "Entirely Stumping"?


Esther Brooksmith (wisdomcreates) said...

Both. I like to be able to figure it out myself, but it is also fun to have the writer surprise you every now and again.

Livia Rachelle said...

Well, I don't get anything in stories, mystery or not until they slap me in the face or the hand is being raised for the slap (or a review informs me, oh, that I had never read that Villette review!)...I prefer that my mysteries be deducible by Mr. Homes and not absurdly preposterous aka Poirot (whom I am convinced was supposed to be a parody of my beloved Mr. Holmes...for which I will never forgive Agatha Christie...don't mock my man, he isn't ridiculous as is your ugly stuck up little Belgium prig! Ahem). Or in less bookish language, deducible by intelligent people-who-are-not-me as opposed to fantastic merely for the sake of being "entirely stumping."