I had some time off this week and while I was taking a run this morning, almost blinded by the sun and snow as I headed east, I was thinking about the new character I was going to have to add to my novel. I have been writing this murder mystery without the plot completely “plotted” through, though I had a good idea of where I was headed with the story. The hope was that I had the main character developed enough that she could lead me a bit through the story. I want her to tell me what she is going to do next without me putting her through machinations that don’t fit what she would actually do or say.
A murder mystery, though, needs clues and foreshadowing and red herrings. The only way to make this work is to do the first draft at a run to get the story’s bones down and the characters fleshed out, and then to spend twice as long writing the revision to make sure there is continuity and that the mystery gets solved in a believable fashion – and with enough clues that the reader doesn’t feel cheated. (There nothing worse than reading a mystery only to have it solved in the end due to a miraculous coincidence or a revelation that required no thought from the sleuth). And that leads me to the new character. Without him, it would be too obvious who the villain of this story is turning out to be. The revision is going to take lots of red ink and I’m not looking forward to it. Let’s finish this first draft, though, before worrying about the next step!
The second installment of the Christmas short story, “The Sweetest Gift”, has now been added. Just click on “The Sweetest Gift” page at the top and scroll down to the ***** line and you’ll see the second section. Enjoy. The final section will be added next Thursday.