Cracking Characters to Push Plot

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By Brocken Inaglory (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

It’s so humid here today, it’s like sitting in a sponge. I have to run the air even though it’s not that warm.

Sorry, planet Earth.

As you know, I’ve been having my writing struggles this week. I’ve gotten some fantastic tricks and hints from everyone, though (thank you!) and amazing support from others who know what it’s like to try to chip your way through a writing wall.

And I think I know where the problem is. It’s my characters.

I’ve written before about how plotting nearly always comes back to character. What do your characters want? What will they do to get it? Who are they? How do they see the world? What are their secrets?

My WIP is wall-to-wall with characters, but I haven’t taken the time to get to know them. Bad writer.

In a cozy mystery, someone has to want something or not want something or want to hide something enough to kill over it. How can I get to the heart of it if I don’t know my characters well enough to see what motivates them?

I repeat my self-scolding: Bad writer.

So I’m going back through my cast of characters to get to know them a little better. And for anyone who finds themselves in a similar situation, with a plot that won’t resolve, it’s never a bad idea to go back to the source of all plot points.

Your characters.

Check out  my full-length novels,  Her Cousin Much Removed,  The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management and Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only), and the sequel, Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) which is now available!

And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

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Endings Shmedings

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Monkey-typingSo I’ve decided that you can absolutely, totally, 100% write a cozy mystery without actually solving the mystery. I mean, who’s going to notice, right? You just stick a good wrap-up at the end about the fragility of life, let the characters contemplate the meaning of death, and BOOM!

Finished book.

What’s that, hypothetical reader? No, you can’t? Well, you don’t have to be so emphatic about it.

I am, what we call in the writing game, “stuck.” I was stuck with this manuscript before, which is why I put it aside in the first place. Here I am, almost to the end of my words, and I can see how I found myself in this spot.

But I’m still not sure how to fix it.

I’m missing something. There are usually clues my subconscious leaves for me in the first-draft process. And I’m short a breadcrumb. Or twelve.

I’m not delusional (mostly). I don’t expect a lot out of a first draft. But it’s got to have a mostly-finished plot.

Unless I want to create some kind of deconstructed literature, though that might be a tough sell as a sequel to a cozy. Any takers?

What’s that hypothetical reader? Sheesh, you’re really in a mood today.

Maybe what I need is one of those transparent boards they work on during montages in television shows, so I can draw a lot of lines and squiggles and arrows, until, eureka! I have it.

Maybe if I shake the manuscript, the end will fall out.

Check out  my full-length novels,  Her Cousin Much Removed,  The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management and Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only), and the sequel, Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) which is now available!

And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

 Sign up for my spamless newsletter!

 

H is for Her (Cousin, Much Removed)

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Sorry folks. It had to be done. I know, I know, it’s all kinds of self-promotion-y, but sometimes you just have to do a little horn tooting, break out the old soapbox and wave your carnival cane. A carnival cane is a thing, right?

Anyway, with H we are talking about my cozy mystery, Her Cousin, Much Removedwhich is available for Kindle, and free to read with Kindle Unlimited or Amazon Prime.

What’s that you say, hypothetical reader? I seem to be doing the bulk of the talking? Point taken. Now please let me get on with flogging my wares.

Venetia Shipman only wanted her platter back, the one she lent her sorta cousin, Delenda. But now Delenda’s been murdered, and that’s only the beginning of Venetia’s problems. Yep, Delenda was up to some not-so-great stuff, and Venetia’s the one who’s paying for it.

See? Was that so terrible? What’s that, hypothetical reader? You can’t wait to read Her Cousin, Much Removed? It sounds like a fun, mysterious romp with twists, humor and, of course, platters? Oh, stop, hypothetical reader. You flatter me.

Check out  my full-length novels,  Her Cousin Much Removed,  The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management and Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only), and the sequel, Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) which is now available!

Sign up for my spamless newsletter. And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

 

Covering Covers, or the Eternal Struggle

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Just a reminder, my cozy mystery, Her Cousin, Much Removed is a bargain-priced $0.99 on a Kindle Countdown Deal, so get it before the hours tick away. Too late for Delenda, but for that you’ll have to read the book.

So one of the eternal issues in being an indie writer is your book’s face, and by that, of course, I mean the cover. One of my books got a face lift, which when you think about it, is a very strange combination of words, but that’s not the point. I’ll be sharing the new cover with you tomorrow.

It’s difficult to find the right balance, one that fits your idea of the book, and one that will attract eyeballs, all while on a budget. Because we are all on a budget, aren’t we? And if you’re not, please contact me to let me know your secrets, because that’s good too.

I’ve spent a lot of time with covers, I’ve had various forms and versions, and a ton of trial and even more error. Will the new cover do it? We’ll have to see.

While I’ve worked with artists before, mostly with design and stock art, this time, the artist did everything. He even created the concept, as I could not figure out a way to convey the feeling of the book. I think he did an amazing job, but you’ll just have to come back tomorrow and see what you think.

For the other indie authors out there, have you worked with cover artists? What has been your experience? Have you cultivated a relationship with an artist? Do you do your own art?

Check out   The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management and Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only).

 Sign up for my spamless newsletter. And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

 

 

It’s Read Tuesday!

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Today is Read Tuesday, and that’s a great thing for readers, because you can get a bunch of discounted books. And in honor of Read Tuesday, my cozy mystery, Her Cousin, Much Removed is only 99 cents. That’s 67% off!

But my book isn’t the only book on sale. There are other Kindle books, paperbacks, and books from Smashwords. There are even some free-Kindle-book-with-paperback-purchase Matchbooks.

Pick up something to read, give books to friends, and support indie authors all at the same time. You really can do three things at once.

Check out   The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management and Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only).

 Sign up for my spamless newsletter. And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

Get Cozy with Her Cousin, Much Removed

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I haven’t plugged one of my books in a while, so today’s as good a day as any. I love the term “cozy mystery,” it makes murder sound so warm and fuzzy. I’m pretty sure Venetia Shipman doesn’t feel that way, though she may not be all that sorry her cousin, Delenda O’Brien is dead…

Her Cousin, Much Removed by I. L, Wolf. Amazon for $2.99. When Venetia Shipman quit practicing law and took up urban gardening, she thought she had nothing ahead but calm days watering plants. Then someone murdered her cousin(ish), Delenda O’Brien.

So much for that.

Turns out Delenda had some plans of her own for Venetia, none of them good. Now Venetia’s in it up to her eyeballs thanks to her, and, to make it all worse, Delenda died without even returning Venetia’s platter. Now she may never get it back.

Detective Cadby James is on the case, and while he may not be too bad looking, Venetia isn’t so sure he can solve the murder without her help. Whether he wants it or not.

Murder Makes the Front Page

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More mystery of the cozy variety this afternoon. Yes, there are many other forms of mystery, but none other makes murder sound so snugly. And besides, the shoes on this cover are killer. See what I did there?


Front Page Fatality (A Headlines in High Heels Mystery) by LynDee Walker. Amazon for $2.99. Crime reporter Nichelle Clarke’s days can flip from macabre to comical with a beep of her police scanner. Then an ordinary accident story turns extraordinary when evidence goes missing, a prosecutor vanishes, and a sexy Mafia boss shows up with the headline tip of a lifetime.

As Nichelle gets closer to the truth, her story gets more dangerous. Armed with a notebook, a hunch, and her favorite stilettos, Nichelle races to splash these shady dealings across the front page before this deadline becomes her last.

More cozy mystery? Try Her Cousin Much Removed, and sign up for my cozily mysterious newsletter.