Tag Archives: mysteries

Lists, Usage thereof

There should be a List Anonymous. Like for alcoholics, it’s an addiction. To make a list is to be able to organize what usually is a bit of chaos. At least for me, it felt like I was bringing some certainly into an uncertain world. Not that my world was ever difficult. It was pretty ordinary. Even an ordinary life can be chancy or even a bit miffing. I was thinking about this while writing my latest book.

The MC thinks of her life as ordinary. She lives with her Grandmother. Her father is there, but he defaulted parenting to his mother after his wife died. He is on the edge of her life and then her grandmother dies. Her father is accused of murdering her. While she’s not close to Dad, it still seems strange and unreal that her father world kill his own mother.

Why am I talking about lists if it’s a murder? Because the main character is trying to figure out what is going on in her life. She has questions. To me, questions means lists.  A way to come to terms with the reality around you. A way to sort through the red herrings and to figure out what clues count. A way to show which clues are important and which clues are not.

While I love all my electronics, and always have, there is something startlingly real and comfortable about being able to see a list on paper. I am a huge proponent of computers, tablets, smart phones. But I am a collector of journals, logs, notebooks, pads of paper. I believe there is a connection between the hand and the eye and the brain.

A handwritten list is private, personal, for only so many eyes only. It can be limiting. Limits are not bad. Limits can be mind expanding. By not being able to venture out,  to be not be bombarded with sounds, smells or electronically, not be enticed by social media, encapsulated information, you have opportunity to stop, reflect and think.

Lists can do all of that!

Problems with Outlining

I’ve recently attended several programs that include the writing issue of plotting and structure. Yea! I like that, because I am basically a plot kinda person.  Almost more than the character, although the characters have always mattered, because, after all who is it that gets you into the story?old clock

The quintessential book of my childhood was Nancy Drew. There she was, with her own car! and friends, a parent who was indulgent and just enough older than me to be fascinating. So, THE SECRET OF THE OLD CLOCK, right? It think I still have my copy. I meanold clock, no I was never really interested in old clocks, but I will always be interested in mysteries. And, while the picture of Nancy, in the middle of a rather eerie looking forest, was somewhat intriguing, what I really wanted to know was why. Not the who. I knew the main character would solve the puzzle, and I wanted to know how she’d do that. So, plot. The action that moves the story along.

And, that’s where I am now. I definitely know who, I’ve got my main character. I’ve done the profiling thing, what she eats for breakfast, how she mows the lawn. I know how this thing ends, I’ve got the voice, at least my critique groups thinks I do. And I know the major steps. It’s the middle.Sheeze, isn’t it always the middle.

In doubles tennis we say, down the middle solves the riddle. That means you’re putting the shot where the other team can’t reach it. But this middle is different. Not tennis.  I’m at that part where I’ve chased my character up a tree, and I know how she’s going to get down, I just have to work on what happens to her as she climbs up higher. And what rocks I’m going to throw at her while she climbs.

Ha! Off to make rocks.