Monday, February 22, 2010

From Warp Speed to Full Stop in only seconds

Star_trek_2009-enterprise_warp1 I was going along at warp speed with my work in progress (Booktown #5) until my copy edit for Chapter & Hearse showed up.  Then work came to a screeching halt.  (And it will again this weekend, when I have to put it back on the shelf to get the synopsis written for Victoria Square #2.)

For the past two weeks, I've been tippy-toeing around the manuscript.  I'd add a sentence here, rearrange a paragraph there . . . but no real progress was made.  It was time to sit down and read what I had, and I feared that what I had was one HUGE mess.

The problem turned out to be that I didn't know what day of the week the story started on.  I had over 100 pages (about a third) of the book written, and I still wasn't sure where it began. 
Ferris wheel I first thought the story started on Saturday, but then that would mean Tricia needed to go to the bank on Sunday.  Can't have that--the bank isn't open on Sunday.  So I backed it up to Friday.  Still didn't work, because something else had to happen on Sunday, and Ginny doesn't work at Haven't Got a Clue on Sundays.  Is it logical to start the Founders Day Weekend on Thursday?  Well, it might be, if the Ferris wheel and puke-a-whirl have to be somewhere else by Saturday.

You see my problem?

Yesterday, I spent two hours tweaking the timeline, moving scenes around, and writing transitions.  When I started, I had only six chapters in place.  By rearranging scenes, and putting things in order (a lot of times I'll write random scenes as I think of them, and then put them together later, rather like a big jigsaw puzzle), I now have eleven chapters.  Whew!  that feels more orderly.

I guess that's what I hate most about starting a book.  There's no real sense of order. And when things finally start clicking in place, that's when the fun starts to happen.  Usually about 40,000 words.  Not quite there yet, but I won't be approaching the day's work with quite so much apprehension.

What makes it doubly frustrating, is I can only talk about it in general terms.  I wouldn't want to spoil it for my readers. 

REMINDER:  the contest to NAME THAT BOOKTOWN MYSTERY will close on Sunday.  So if you have any ideas on what you think the title should be, I'd be very glad to hear them.  To refresh your memory bout the contest, CLICK HERE.