The fun thing about writing a novel about an absolutely amateur sleuth is that my protagonist and I get to learn things at the exact same time.
- How do you find out how someone really died?
- How do you get access to a death certificate?
- What does a medical examiner do?
This is the same kind of journey that I had Ellen take during A COINCIDENCE OF DOORS (except her big question was “if I go into a portal universe, who will do my taxes and do I need to fake my own death”), so in many ways that trunked draft feels like practice for this one. Having a character go after information that is not easily retrievable—if only lawyers and family members can request death certificates, for example, my protagonist has to figure out how to convince a lawyer and/or family member to share the certificate with them—is really really really fun (yes, I know I already used “fun” as a descriptor, I don’t care).
Realizing that at some point I’m going to actually have to talk to a medical examiner to make sure I include a realistic representation of what a medical examiner does is… like… exactly what my protagonist has to do, so I get to put all of that emotion and confusion and “how do you tell someone you want to ask them about murders without them thinking oh great, another person interested in amateur sleuthing” stuff into the draft.
Also, Larkin Day is not me, despite the fact that I gave her the default name I’ve applied to every video game character since The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. When I was developing the characters for this “has series potential” project, I literally asked myself “what’s the connecting link that unifies all of the lovable-but-flawed-and-also-identifiable-with characters in my favorite smart-comfort book and television series,” and it took me about two seconds to come up with “humanized archetypes,” and then I was all “hey, I can do that.”
(More about that later, probably.)
Anyway, the current draft is 8942 words and I bet I’ll hit 10K this evening. ❤️