cj Sez: My favorite genre to write is thriller/suspense, and I have two releases in April for you. They both have a touch of romance to keep
give readers the warm fuzzies, but writing a romance novel this year has some challenges:
On today's writing front, I’m thinking up another challenge for
the protagonist/sleuth in my work in progress, and it is Work. Writing a mystery is
presenting a huge learning curve to me. Thriller and suspense genres I have
managed (see the news of my April releases below), but a mystery is a whole ’nother
story. Here’s what I know so far:
What is the same among the genres is that my protagonist detective/sleuth
must be likeable, have some personality quirks, and a bit of backstory baggage
to be dropped intermittently into the story (no info dumps, please). My sleuth
has a confidant, which is another recommended device.
My setting is rather
unique as non-cozy mysteries go in it’s not in a big city, and there’s a love
interest to add a little jazz. Each of the major characters, including the bad
guy, will have a piece of history or secret that affects how they react, and—I
hope—generate some degree of sympathy.
Jeffery Deaver: “I like the way words go together and I like
the gamesmanship of poetry. It is such a challenge.”
(cj Sez: Works the same way for
me with novels.)
Clues and red herrings are struggles for me. Where and how do I
place them so they invite the reader to try to solve the mystery but don’t
reveal so much that they can do that too soon. I am a pantser or, more
accurately, a pathfinder. I find my path through the story by throwing
roadblocks in the paths of my characters then figuring out how they escape. For
a mystery, I’m going to have to do a bit of ::gasp:: plotting. Before I can
hide the clues and weave in the red herrings, I have to figure out where they
need to be.
I recently heard of a program called Plottr that was said to
be good at telling the writer where a red herring or clue could/should be
inserted. If you’ve used it, what did you think?
It’s said that Hallie Ephron struggles with these same
problems, so that makes me feel better. I guess this struggle might be problem
for many mystery writers. I do know that, like all manuscripts, my characters,
clues, and red herrings will change and be rearranged with each future edit
Diablo Cody: “I don’t have a formal rewrite process. I just compulsively groom and
re-groom scenes like a cat with OCD.”
(cj Sez: My method exactly. I can groom the words right off the page.)
What I really like is that I’m learning new things. One of
my personal goals is to learn something new every day, and writing a mystery is
certainly helping me reach my goal. How about you? Do you have a personal goal?
Thriller/Suspense releases in April:
THE DAWGSTAR launched April 15, 2021. ebook pix
DEATH ON THE YAMPA, is currently available for the pre-order
price of 99 cents!
Death on the Yampa launches April 30, 2021
“Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much
as you please.” —Mark Twain
Something personal: Jeff
D. Johnston (my son) migratory bird photo.
Red-breasted Grosbeak. Taken on Dauphin Island, AL—a
rest-stop for birds as they migrate north.
That’s it for today’s post. You-all guys keep on keeping on,
and I’ll try to do the same.
The store has re-opened to limited hours (and they have an
awesome bookstore kitty, Mr. Bingley), so if you’re in the Mobile area, you can
stop and shop, too.
➜ Follow me . . .
➜ on Goodreads: under re-construction