Another Novel-Drafting Update

So I gave myself the goal of writing 10,000 words in MYSTERY BOOK this week, and… well, so far I’ve written 3,729, which means that if I count Saturday and Sunday as part of “this week,” I only need to write 1567 words per day for the next four days.

Which is, theoretically, doable.

I don’t know if I’ll actually do it, but I’ll try.

The big reason I’m behind on my word count is because I wrote my characters into a corner—basically, I knew they needed to discover Plot Element X to proceed in their amateur detectiving, but the way I had them go after the plot element turned out to be unrealistic. (Because I am transparent about pretty much everything, I’ll admit that I got them into this corner because I didn’t realize attorney-client privilege extended after death. Whoops.)

So then I was like “I’ll figure this out later and jump ahead to the next scene,” but I couldn’t do it—every chapter in this book builds on the last one, and I didn’t know what I was building on. I wrote 651 bland words that had no specificity because they had no foundation, and then gave up.

That was yesterday.

But also, yesterday, I was re-reading Maggie Stiefvater’s The Scorpio Races because last year I was part of this book club that read The Scorpio Races over Scorpio season and I decided to do it again this year, and in the back of the book there’s this Author’s Note where Maggie Stiefvater explains that she tried to write this book several times before she actually wrote it, and she kept getting derailed because she was focusing on a specific technical detail that pushed her novel into a story she didn’t want to tell.

So she found a way to write the story without that detail, and it became the story she wanted to tell, and then she had her book.

Which meant I also spent part of yesterday scribbling down a bunch of notes, on paper, about how I could get my mystery novel back to THE STORY I WANT TO TELL instead of THE CORNER I HAD WRITTEN MYSELF INTO.

This is, ultimately, a story about a broke Millennial who, after years of foundering and wandering, moves back in with her mother and has to figure out how to be an adult. (More specifically, she has to figure out how to be an ordinary person, now that all of her childhood dreams of fame and fortune are crushed. I write to a theme.) There is a murder, of course, and there are some car chases and on-foot chases and costume parties, but the real mystery is the friends we made along the way.

Of course, this also means that I have to do a lot of rewriting, since I spent the past few chapters of this story leading my characters down the wrong path. (Also because writing down the notes, which I did not count towards my word count but maybe should, helped me to clarify a few themes and details that aren’t yet present in the story.)

Soooooooo… that’s where I am with this process right now.

And maybe I will get 10K words down this week. We’ll see. ❤️

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