Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A Mystery Progresses

Part One - The Idea

About three years ago I attended RushCon, an annual gathering of Rush fans in Toronto. Every year brings a different theme, different activities, and about 48 straight hours of drinking. The year I attended marked the 25th anniversary of the release of their 2112 album, and much of the Saturday revolved around a small "film festival" featuring just about every instance of Rush referenced in TV and film. Great time spent with people I normally communicate with online.

Each year there is also an auction to benefit a local charity supported by the band. That year I donated a collection of signed novels and an offer to create a character for my next book based on the winning bidder. My auction brought in an impressive sum, and that evening I actually conceived an idea for the book.

As John Lennon sang, however, life gets in the way of other plans. Not long after returning from this trip did I become publisher of Phaze Books, and my priorities shifted from writing to editing/publishing. My mystery writing goals were put on hold until such a time I could manage to write and run a house without disrupting the balance.

It took a few years, but I think I am about there. Now comes the task of breaking writer's block and getting an actual story in motion. Three times since the auction I have started and stalled a story. The protagonist changed genders, and the POV shifted from third to first. Setting moved from north to south, and right now it appears I will move from a "pantsing" method of writing to plotting. It's almost necessary in mystery writing - the goal is to present a plausible conclusion to the crime, and in my brief mystery career I've found the only way I can do that well is if I plan ahead.

As of now, Dead Barchetta is 14K long with eight chapters. I've set a minimum completed count of 60K words, so we'll see how well we do. The goal is to contract through NYC, but I may change my mind again. We'll solve that mystery when we get to it.

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