This Thing Called Writing
A few days ago, I finished writing the 3rd book of the Alvarez Murder Mystery Series, Death Runs in the Family. I haven’t signed off on it yet, more’s the pity, but it left my keep temporarily to that of a reader’s. I’m beyond relieved.
I mean, you start a novel. You’re excited, filled with energy, hope, and love of the craft. You can’t wait to start the process, do the research, meet the characters, and create a spiffy plot, all that good stuff. If you’re a mystery writer like me, you pretty much know what the ending is going to be, but the ‘how’ of getting there! It’s elixir for the soul.
In the beginning, you’re open to all sorts of possibilities that spur you on during the countless, never-ending months. Writing a novel – at least at the start of it – is a wonderful adventure. Just you, your ideas, a computer, and buckets of strong coffee.
But I’m at the end of this wretched, back-breaking process. The current result is eighty-four thousand words of what I suspect is pure, unadulterated drivel. This drivel is dripping with my blood and sweat - virtual, of course - but very real and bad clichés. True, that suspicion comes only in my more insecure moments. Much of the time, I believe it to be my best work. Healthy ego, don’tchaknow.
Nonetheless, it’s been the same words and chapters over and over again, months on end. Reading, rereading, working, reworking, adding scenes, taking out scenes, and visiting my chiropractor when I could pry my creaking body out of the chair.
Enough already. I’m sick of this book. I’m sick of finding out I’ve used the same stupid phrase or adjective multiple times in one chapter, which means I have to haul out the thesaurus to find something else that means the same thing. I’m sick of reading a sentence with the sinking feeling it needs to be clarified if anybody else besides me is going to get it. I’m sick of dashing over to a site called Popular Baby Names because I discovered, rather late in the game, too many of the characters’ names began with the letter ‘N.’
And what’s with one of the characters taking off for Ipanema like that in the middle of my story, anyway? I don’t know anything about Ipanema. This poor slob of a writer had to do all kinds of fast research on the fancy schmancy, Brazilian vacation spot. I had to study dozens of photographs, maps, articles, learn the monetary exchange, how they say hello, goodbye, etc. in Portuguese, which is a foreign language, fer cryin’ out loud! Honestly, characters have a way of getting a life of their own when you least expect it and then dictating to you what they are going to do. It sucks.
So for one, glorious week, I am currently free of this book until the reader gets back to me with what, I am sure, are a bazillion things that need to be fixed. Then it’s more of the above, because as every writer knows, writing is rewriting. It’s not so much talent as sheer stamina.
And I have to get that rewriting done fast because I have this great idea for the 4th book of the Alvarez Family Mystery Series. I can’t wait to start it!
Heather Haven is the acclaimed writer of Murder is a Family Business; book one of the Alvarez Family Murder Mystery Series. ‘A fresh voice in a crowed genre. We will be hearing more from this talented newcomer.’ ‘The writing was clever and I couldn’t stop laughing. This is the perfect beach book.’ ‘Wonderful! Charming! Fun.’ ‘This is an exceptionally fun read for those who love strong female characters, a bit of mystery, and a bit of tongue-in-cheek humor.’
Book two of the Alvarez Series, A Wedding to Die For, debuts April 22nd. Both ebooks can be purchased at MuseItUp Publishing and elsewhere.
Follow Heather's blog at: http://tinyurl.com/4nensnp
Murder is a Family Business Youtube book trailer: http://tinyurl.com/3so8mmh