"I like living. I have sometimes been wildly, despairingly, acutely miserable, racked with sorrow, but through it all I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing." ~ Dame Agatha Christie

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Plots that Simply Plod Along

"Don't Trust the Rain" did not start out to be a historical mystery--it began as historical fiction with a time-travel twist.  My characters are now in New Orleans in 1862 and they have survived the time warp that sent them there. They are scattered and need to be reunited.

On the surface, it sounds like I have made lots of progress--and I did with one group of characters.  The second group are being stubborn.  They simply want to plod along aimlessly and aimlessness is boring!  (And if you think it is boring to read, try writing it LOL).

So, I need to prod these folks into some action and add some excitement and period color into their journey.  That is sending me back into the realms of research.  I love researching history, and as an old geezer who learned to use printed encyclopedias and card catalogs, I'm loving the ability to research on the Internet in my pajamas at home ;-)

Speaking of research, I cannot write enough praise for Kathy Lynn Emerson's How To Write Killer Historical Mysteries.  She writes some of my favorite mystery series, and this book is an outstanding guide for all historical fiction writers (just skip the genre-specific parts).

So, when counting my 250 daily words for the next week or so, they may easily be hand-written words noting clothing and building structure and timelines and foodstuffs and communication and transportation--well, you get the drift.  Lots of notes with lots of diagrams linking those notes into some semblance of colourful plot.

Do I need to add a murder to excite my characters?  Or perhaps a theft?  I have no problem writing violent acts if necessary and some planned scenes exist in outline form between Confederates and Unionists (it is early in the Civil War after all), but I am not a reader who enjoys violence for the sake of violence or sexual assaults simply to advance the action in the book.  If I don't like to read it, I certainly refuse to write it.  Other means must be found to make my reader want to turn the page ;-)

Writing is fun.  Researching is even more fun.  Forcing characters into action can be work...


  1. I see you're up to 6 followers now, congrats on that, I'm glad to hear you're sticking to your principles. I know you'll come up with an exciting something. Keep steppin'.

  2. I read your comment on Ann's blog about constantly writing about characters with great hair, and just had to pay you a visit.

    When you find a way of getting your characters to behave, can you please share the secret? One of mind just had got a crew cut to get over a broken heart- she works in the HR function of a bank, so go figure how she's going to explain it away (I can side step the issue, but she'll have to deal with it).