Monday, September 23, 2013

Building a Mystery

If you read my last post you know I haven't been writing. I've been making excuse after excuse and I'm sure I'll fall back on that every now and again. In fact, at this very moment I feel like I'm going to throw up, but I'm not going to use it as an excuse today.
No, today I want to talk about writing. I want to tell you that I've figured out what my problem is...or was.
I knew there was something wrong with my book, but I couldn't figure out what it was.
I'm writing what I would call a paranormal fantasy for YA, but it turns out it's not that simple.
The problem, the reason I've been neglecting it for so many weeks, is that I didn't realize it was also a mystery.
We all know how a mystery works, right!? There has to be a red herring, clues dropped like breadcrumbs so that the reader can decide what's going to happen. Or better yet, not know what's going to happen, but then in the end have that "Aha! moment" where it all makes sense.
None of this is revolutionary, but that is the very reason I had to blog about it. By simply changing the definition of what I've been writing, it suddenly seems to make more sense.  Why is that?
I'll tell you why. Because we have to know where we're going to know how to get there.
It's because our sneaky, perhaps out of shape, brains like order. Chaos does not generally build a novel. Our mind wants a map, or at least an arrow pointing out the right direction.
And the best news, and if you read my blog you won't be surprised by this, is that I've actually read a book on how to write a mystery:)
Now that I have defined the fact that I need to "lay out the breadcrumbs" so to speak, it's going to be so much easier to move past this hurdle.
No, this is not the king of all writing advice. And yes, it may seem very obvious to you (give me a break here, I think I have the bird flu), but it was news to me. And it's helped me see my novel with fresh eyes.
So, if you're stuck in your current novel maybe try looking at things differently. Maybe what you're writing isn't chiklit after all. Or if the drama you're writing is actually turning out to be kind of funny. Don't make yourself crazy trying to fit it into it's original packaging, change things up. Look at it in a new light. It might make all the difference!

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