By Sherry where winter is rattling at the door once again
I did it again. I do it every time. I hit 50,000 words and I feel like I’m done even though I know I’m not. This time it’s book four, A Good Day To Buy. Now, I know this book is an empty shell in some ways, there’s not much description and I haven’t grounded my characters in a place that the reader can see. I know there is still a lot of work ahead of me (at least 20,000 words!).
I knew I’d blogged about 50,000 words once before so I looked up that blog post and re-read it. There’s some excellent advice in the comments section. In that blog I mention another one I wrote called Making A Scene. There I found another whole great comment section full of advice. One bit I’d completely forgotten. Hallie Ephron had mentioned the book Story by Robert McKee. So I went to the library and checked it out. I’ll be reading it this week.
As I started revising I kept thinking about something Barbara Ross had said in another post. I searched past posts of the blog until I finally found it. Barb in a post called, I Write Therefore I Think, said this: Lately I’ve been wondering if I could approach a novel by asking, “What do I want my readers to feel?” and “What do they need to know (or suspect, or fear) in order to feel it?” I know I haven’t pulled that off yet and I’ll keep it in mind as I revise.
Then there are three things I try to include in each book. The first is incorporating the theme of garage sales and trying to make sure it’s part of the story not something that’s wedged in because it has to be there. Second is a bit of military life. I was astonished to see a figure the other day that said only one percent of people serve in the military. One percent. The third is to share a little bit of the history of Massachusetts that I love so much. It’s a delicate balance with all three to make them important to the story and a natural part of it at the same time. I feel like I’ve done a good job with the first one this time but not much with the second and third.
Another thing I still need to make sure to include is the story arc. When I turned in book three, All Murders Final!, last June I didn’t know if there would be any more books in the series. So there is some fancy footwork in that one to make sure things are tied up but to also leave the door open if the series continued.
Then there’s the end to A Good Day To Buy. Yes, Wickeds I know last time we talked I had two endings, well now I have three. I really think I’m going to have to write the beginning of book five, I Know What You Bid Last Summer, before I can figure out which ending to use. For better or worse, I’m sending it off to Barb Goffman this week. She’ll find the weak points and plot holes so come May, book four will be off to my Kensington editor.
Readers: What do you do when a project isn’t going quite the way you planned?