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!

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Character is Your Plot

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The world is ending outside the door to my apartment. Or they’re laying new carpet in the hall. Regardless, I’m going to try to eke out this blog post, either to be greeted by lush newness underfoot or the four horsemen. Although how they’ll get those horses in the elevator is quite a puzzle.

Anyway, character. It’s one of those things your story must have, or no one will want to read it. People have to be able to latch onto someone in the story, to have someone to root for or against.

“Yeah, yeah yeah,” you say, “I know that.” Well, great.

Because it is that essence of character that drives your story. In fiction, like in life, the way people react to and interact with the world around them depends on who they are. If your character is an apathetic slacker, that will shape what happens next. An apathetic slacker with a leak in the kitchen isn’t going to call the plumber; she’s going to wait until there’s a flood.

A go-getter, though, will call at the sight of the tiniest drop.

Who becomes involved and how the story progresses then diverges. The slacker might, because of the leak, have an interaction with an irate neighbor and realize she’s seen him somewhere before: a “Wanted” poster at the Post Office. The go-getter’s plumber might also be a fugitive, but now there’s an entirely different set of circumstances surrounding their meeting.

If you are stuck while writing, always go back to character. Who are your characters? What do they want? And what will they do get it?

All right, that’s it for now. I hear neighing from outside my door.

Need something to read? Check out  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) .

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