Monday, January 21, 2013

Pondering the Craft of Writing

Don't you love this new Kim Killion cover? With luck, this reissue ought to be hitting the stands this morning. I haven't had time to post it on Backlist E-books with all the sales links yet. I'll do that later. This morning, I was pondering craft and not promo.

In between writing the romance books for which I hope I'm known, I like to clear the cobwebs from my brain by playing with mysteries. It took me years to draft and organize and revise Evil Genius into a book that makes some degree of sense. Plotting is not precisely my strength!

The family in Evil Genius is just too delicious to forget about, so I've sketched out concepts for subsequent plots involving other members and an overall plot arc involving Ana and Graham, the main protagonists. I'm currently working on the second story and have had utterly no idea where my characters were going with this plot until today.

That's when I realized why books need lots of time to percolate and strengthen. I've been drafting this storyin my spare time for a year now, and I've just now realized the theme and discovered the villain. If I'd been writing on deadline, I'd be in a crazed frenzy by now because I couldn't end the blamed book until I knew Who Did It. But now I have time to go back to the beginning and weave in the strands that will tie the theme and plot and characters together so the ending won't just pop out of nowhere.

Maybe I'm just slow. Maybe other writers develop all these lovely bits in one big chunk. I know of at least one really good writer who has the whole story in place when she starts, but it takes her a long time to write the words. Whereas I fling the words all over the page and figure them out later. Either way, a good book takes far more than a keyboard and fast fingers.

You'd think after thirty years of writing, I'd know this already. But the process is ever mysterious. And now I've dallied long enough--I need to get back to plotting.


Phoebe Conn said...

Hi Pat,
I wrote an historical with a murder central to the plot and didn't know who the killer was until I was close to the end and realized a painter introduced on page 1 had motive and opportunity. I trust my mind to tie up all the loose ends, but that story was a bit too close to chaos for me.

Patricia Rice said...

But isn't it wonderful how our minds keep pulling these rabbits of a hat?