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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.