Friday, October 15, 2010

WriMo SchmiMo

WriMo SchmiMo

noahs-dilemma Okay, I’m sitting on the horns of a dilemma.

Remember about 6 weeks ago I made an announcement that I would write a sequel to Steam Palace for NaNoWriMo? Problem is that I have this other idea that’s been festering in my head for a long time. It’s a detective story. Not Steampunk, not Sci-Fi, future, past, or anything. Just a contemporary mainstream murder Mystery in a local setting. (Okay, there will be high-techy stuff in there…come on).  Have I ever written a mystery? No. Not even a short, not even a flash. Do I read a lot of mysteries? No. I do watch them on TV…does that count?

So why this story? Why am I considering this crazy idea? I’m not going to talk about the specifics of the concept here, at least not until after NaNo. Suffice it to say that it’s a mother-son sleuthing duo, told from the son’s POV. Here is my reasoning:

  1. Steam Palace 2 (SP2), from everything I’ve worked on so far, is extremely complicated. Sophia meets her eviler twin. That’s going to take some doing. Not only that, but I want to do it “right”, meaning that I want to focus more on quality during the first draft, and hopefully reduce the editing load. More organized, planned, thought-through, etc.
  2. I want to build some more writing “chops” before I start SP2. I feel I am still missing some core writing skills, mostly in the area of characterization and POV.
  3. Why write SP2 before SP1 is sold/contracted? Yes, it may be easier to sign a contract with at least a first draft of SP2 completed, but maybe I’m carting before horsing. I think it’s of minimal benefit.
  4. I am intrigued the idea of crafting a short novel, 60K or so, and self-publishing it. If there’s success then maybe I follow with a full-length version I can try to go to publishers with. Or it might help sell SP1.
  5. I might be good at writing mysteries. I don’t know. But I feel the need to take a “break” from F/SF for a month. And absolutely no one in my critique groups writes them…so maybe there’s a need. (Or I’m just misguided). Whether it’s a success or not, I think exploring the mystery genre and tropes may help me in other genres.
  6. I really love the concept. I think I have some unique characters. The problem I have is creating a compelling crime with clues etc. But that’s what the next 2 weeks are for. I’ve defined all the main character-character conflicts, so now it’s more about the nitty-gritty details. I want to keep it simple and the word count low.

So maybe those reasons are wonky. I have some great thoughts for SP2, but I don’t think I’ll be ready to draft it quite so soon, it needs a lot more thought. And after NaNo, I’m also going to turn my attention to another neglected project, The Immortals, and try to figure out what to do with it. Meanwhile I am still working on marketing SP1, more about that in an upcoming post.

So as of now I am strongly leaning towards the mystery concept. This should be fun.


  1. It doesn't hurt to use something like NaNo for new and out of ordinary...I say go for it and see what happens.

  2. I think it's a great idea to use NaNo for a practice novel. You may be surprised and finish with something completely workable, or you might be able to recycle bits from it for something else.
    It's amazing what you can get out when you are so focused on writing that you don't have time to plot :-)

  3. @Summer: I always try doing something new for NaNo...whether it's a genre, a style, a technique, or just for fun.

    @Charmaine: That's true but from what I gather a mystery is really intricate and can't really be winged. But maybe it can. ;)

  4. I think this is an excellent idea. Then again, I have a mystery novel (potential series cause I struggle keeping things stand alone) that I have started and still plan to write. Have I read a mystery novel? No. Have I watched mystery tv shows? No. Why do it? I love the main character and think there is an interesting story. And writing a mystery is a big help for foreshadowing in other genres because you have to leave clues that don't always look like clues in a mystery, and that can be done in other genres too even if there isn't a "mystery" to solve.

  5. I think you should go for it! I heart mystery.

    FWIW, (and I think I've told you this before) I think How to Write a Damn Good Mystery is a good guide to get you started. And sometimes, the best clues spring up organically in the process. In one of my suspense MSs, I spent days trying to figure out what to task the hero with in the middle—some sort of Macguffin. And then I realized I had something directly related to the story that I'd already been setting up as a subplot that I could use!

    Have fun!

  6. this is a great idea. Whatever you do, as long as it best serves the WIP.
    thanks for commenting on m blog- that was some very good advice!

  7. I think idea is brilliant. You're right, SP2 is going to take a lot more thought and work than the 30 days you give it in NaNo. working on something unfamiliar, short and creative, I think is a great thing to do. Can't wait to see what you come up with.

  8. Gotta write what you're drawn to Andrew. And experimenting is a great way to stretch your writing comfort zone and learn those writing skills you feel are missing. Good luck.


  9. @Dawn: I just think it would be fun. It's a good way to put tension in any story.

    @Jordan: Actually been reading that book. I have no idea what I'm doing but it will be entertaining if nothing else.

    @ee: thanks! Hope it helps

    @Piedmont: It will be completely different, yet exactly like the stuff I usually write. There should be a Bad Girl or two in there.

    @Donna: It's a fun concept. We'll see how it does.

  10. Woot for new ideas! Go for it Andrew. If it doesn't work out you are only out of 1 months time. And if it comes out brilliant?

    I say go for it.

  11. Nothing wrong with letting a novel simmer for a while. I have a sci-fi epic that's been brewing since 2006. I got 100kw into it and stopped cold, said that won't do, and put it down, and haven't picked it back up since.

    But I will. Eventually. And I don't normally write sci-fi, so that's out of my element.

    You're right, though. You may be great at it. That punchy style of yours may sit right with Mystery editors and publishers. You never know. No sense limiting yourself, not until someone's paying you to limit yourself.

    - Eric

  12. @Charity: Of course it will be's me! :)

    @Eric: I try not to edit myself...meaning I go with what I feel most motivated to do at the time....and try not to pressure myself with stuff that isn't working.
    What I like about this one is that I think I can limit it to a small project. (FLW)


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