Warning: Division by zero in /home/content/71/9719871/html/wp-content/plugins/elevated-comments/src/CommentIQ/Subscriber/AutomatedElevatedCommentSubscriber.php on line 116

Warning: Division by zero in /home/content/71/9719871/html/wp-content/plugins/elevated-comments/src/CommentIQ/Subscriber/AutomatedElevatedCommentSubscriber.php on line 117

Warning: Division by zero in /home/content/71/9719871/html/wp-content/plugins/elevated-comments/src/CommentIQ/Subscriber/AutomatedElevatedCommentSubscriber.php on line 116

Warning: Division by zero in /home/content/71/9719871/html/wp-content/plugins/elevated-comments/src/CommentIQ/Subscriber/AutomatedElevatedCommentSubscriber.php on line 117

Warning: Division by zero in /home/content/71/9719871/html/wp-content/plugins/elevated-comments/src/CommentIQ/Subscriber/AutomatedElevatedCommentSubscriber.php on line 116

Warning: Division by zero in /home/content/71/9719871/html/wp-content/plugins/elevated-comments/src/CommentIQ/Subscriber/AutomatedElevatedCommentSubscriber.php on line 117

Warning: Division by zero in /home/content/71/9719871/html/wp-content/plugins/elevated-comments/src/CommentIQ/Subscriber/AutomatedElevatedCommentSubscriber.php on line 116

Warning: Division by zero in /home/content/71/9719871/html/wp-content/plugins/elevated-comments/src/CommentIQ/Subscriber/AutomatedElevatedCommentSubscriber.php on line 117

It’s been a while since my last post. There’s a good reason–I’ve been exercising. No, unfortunately not my body, but my brain. I think it hurt just as much to stretch the old noggin as it did when I was in physical therapy for back pain. 

Last year my agent asked me to write a cozy, a murder mystery that has a lot of sweetness, and very little sex. First, I don’t like sweet stories. I don’t mind writing happy endings, playfulness, but I don’t do sweet. ICK. For starters, I had no idea what a cozy actually was when she mentioned it. A trip to my computer and a Google search told me that there was no way. Nope, couldn’t be done. Not by this girl. Give me a lot of hot sex, an action packed story line, and I’m good to go, but this? All I could envision were tea cakes and knitting needles–Miss Marple and Downton Abbey in one monstrous smash-up. I was told not to worry, there wasn’t a hurry. So, instead of working on the book, I put it off. That way I didn’t have to figure out how to do this thing that I wasn’t even sure I could pull off. Then a call came right before I left for Africa that I should have it done ASAP. Yikes. An editor wanted to look at it. I hadn’t written a word. Still, I put it off until the trip was over, a tangle with an African spider taken care of, and the resumption of family life back in the USA. See, a lot of good reasons to keep putting off writing the book. I drug my feet as long as I could, dreading the day I opened the computer to a blank page. I didn’t even have a title. I thought and thought, until the perfect image for the murder jumped into my mind. Now I could begin.

Figuring out a murder is harder than it looks on Murder She Wrote. Jessica Fletcher’s keen eye doesn’t miss a thing. I can’t see an elephant in the room. My husband suggested that I mind map the project using a mind mapping program. I looked over a couple and found one that I could use with some ease, X Mind. It was strange to work the story from the inside out. First I had to establish a victim, possible suspects, the killer, motives, and no, it wasn’t Colonel Mustard in the dining room with a candlestick. I went through several scenarios until I found one that I liked. This became the foundation that I built the story on. Then I added the ‘detectives’ and how they fit in and related to the story.

There were a couple of times I had to go back and redo things. It reminded me of my community theater days when I was directing Agatha Christie’s Ten Little Indians. You have no idea how proud I was to have my blocking diagrams done, all the actors lined up and ready to go. The cold reading went great, I was on a roll. Until we actually got on stage. It was then that I discovered, to my horror, that the killer was never anywhere near a victim. You can’t inject a hypodermic syringe into someone from ten feet away. A needle that long would be a dead giveaway. So, it was back to the drawing board. The next day, the actors and I got everything hammered out, but it left me with a lesson learned. That’s why, every so often, I’d go back and read from the beginning of the book, checking for any missteps along the way. I found one or two, but caught them early enough that hurt the storyline.

I found, to my surprise, that I could write a book with less sex, a touch of sweet, a lot of humor, and a killer plot. So this is the point where I have to thank my agent for making me put on the mental workout gear. Here’s hoping the book sells. If not, it turned out to be worth the effort.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This

Share This

Share this post with your friends!