Thursday, June 07, 2012

Did I throw the baby out with the bath water?

My thoughts are on Kelly O'Connell Mysteries tonight, so here's a picture of another Craftsman house  from Kelly's Fairmount neighborhood. This one may figure in the fourth book in the series.

I've been struggling for some time to start the fourth Kelly O'Connell Mystery. I had ideas floating around in my head, finally wrote a synopsis on the basis of which Turquoise Morning Press issued a contract, and in the last couple of weeks got serious about writing. But I discarded start after start. Nothing seemed to work. I don't outline, but the general idea I had didn't seem to be going any place. And I thought the writing was wooden.
This morning, as I was doing my yoga, a great thought came to me: there was no mystery in what I was writing. A funny story, perhaps, maybe a short story or a subplot. But there was as far as I could tell no real threat to Kelly or her family, not much to call the police about. I suddenly decided I would have to shelve the whole thing--at one point, during all my revising and cutting and pasting, I had it slightly over 5,000 words. I think this morning, the main part was down to about 2,500 but all those other bits and pieces were saved in various files. What I needed was an entirely new plot.
So while I was bending and stretching and breathing deeply, I thought about possibilities--and I thought about current social issues. I came up with some ideas, so later in the morning I wrote the managing editor with an explanation of where I was, and she answered that they would not want me to keep at something that was not working but since they had contracted on the basis of one synopsis, I needed to come up with a new one. She urged me to take my time, which I fully intended to do.
But after lunch with a friend, I came back and batted out almost 600 words of a new synopsis.The words came quickly and easily, which encourages me to hope the story will too. I can see or hear the opening scene in my mind.
I'm too tired to work competently on the rest of the synopsis--or edit what I have--so that's tomorrow's chore after the grocery. Feeling really good about this too.
I did change the name of the file, Kelly #4, to Ghost in a Four-Square (the title I'd intended for the baby I threw out) and created a new Kelly #4 file, untitled as yet. Nothing is lost or irretrievable, but I feel I'm headed in the right direction.
Then tonight, after a nice dinner out with a friend, I had to answer a long bunch of questions from the reprint publisher about the two western historical romances (I use the latter word reluctantly) that are posted on the web. This writing life is exhausting. I'm going to read now.

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