Monday, 27 June 2011

Stepping out of the comfort zone

The amorphous 'they' tell us it is good to step out of our usual habits once in a while. I have been experimenting with this idea on two fronts in the recent past. Normally I have a very controlling method of writing in that I start at the beginning and go on to the end, only stopping off at about chapter 5 to write the last bit of the book so I know where I'm headed. Using the amazing Scrivener, though, I am now writing scenes that I know must appear in the book, but I'm not exactly sure where. The pudding still has to be eaten to see if this method works for me, but, so far, so good.

And the other experiment is writing a suspense/romance. Not my usual genre at all, as I usually prefer crime, either contemporary or historical. The working title for this new book is "The Croaking Raven", but I am not at all sure it fits the genre. Great for a crime thriller, but probably not a susp/rom. I have my plot. I have my characters AND their photographs - again all stored in the one Scrivener file. I need to see what my characters look like to read their personalities, if that makes sense. It's an extension of the Miss Marple device of certain people reminding her of someone in St Mary Mead. I used to be quite skeptical about this, but so many times I've seen someone who reminds me of someone else and find that they are exactly like that person.

The setting for the new book is the north of Wisconsin just above Green Bay in a small fictional town called Ballards Bay. My protagonist, Abbie Russell, is a computer expert in the local library. She has two flat-coated retrievers who are therapy dogs for those who cannot communicate with people because of some trauma, or who are lonely and cannot relate to anyone. All goes swimmingly until Abbie's boss is relocated and arrogant, stand-offish Ellis Carter takes charge.

So far, I've written about 12,000 words and I think I will be aiming for about 80-100k. It's a learning curve, one I am enjoying. I'll be keeping you posted on my progress, so watch this space.

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