Tag Archives: plot

How Long? (archived)

Posted on August 17, 2011 by msflo

I honestly thought I’d be finished with my first draft at least by June. Well, it’s already August, and I’m at about 450 pages. I’ve been writing this novel for a year! Working on it, hacking out the words, nearly every day. But it’s been in my head, wanting to be written, for the last ten years. My editor told me I shouldn’t write anything over 300 pages max, but I think I’m only about half way finished telling the story, and I’m already over that by 150 pages. It may be that ‘cut cut cut’ is in my future, but I don’t want to think about that right now. For now, I just have to get everything on the page. Later, let the revisions begin, if they must.

The chapter I finished today felt like the famous “mid book slump”. Am I half way through? Well, I have all the main characters, dynamics, and plot threads painted in, and now just need to weave everything along to a thrilling climax. oooph. I want to be finished with the first draft so I can start showing it to people and getting feedback. I’m in love with my characters. They are more real to me now than most people I deal with.

I write every morning, walk my dogs, exercise (swim, bike, beach, kayak, hike), garden (play with my new baby chickens), and at night, I read. I’ve read a mountain of fiction since I started writing my novel. Mostly in the mystery/thriller genre. But lately, I’ve become Addicted to George Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire. OH! It’s Wonderful! Five volumes, each almost a thousand pages long. Ahhhh. Finding a great fantasy series like this is like discovering a gold mine. Unfortunately, I’m almost finished reading the latest in the series, Dance of Dragons. Soon, like the rest of his fans, I’ll be anxiously waiting, for years, while he finishes his next book. (But I haven’t even begun to explore the TV series, the interactive games, and all the other fun stuff generated by Martin’s fantasy world.)

Imagine writing six big novels, in a series. I’ll be so happy if/when I successfully finish one! A series?? Don’t even want to think about that yet…..

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The First Draft is Finished!

I’ve finished the first draft of The Death of the Gecko. The elation of finishing such a monumental task lasted only about an afternoon. Then the compulsion to revise and edit, polish and ready the manuscript for release set in! I’m back to rigorous daily work on the manuscript.

I started reading from the beginning several weeks ago, looking at words I wrote over two years ago. I am amazed at how tightly the whole story, with its multiple plot threads and points of view seems to hold together. I’m very eager for others to read it now, to see if it works.

If you’re interested in reading all or part of the story in draft and adding your response and critique, please please let me know! The more the story is vetted before release, the better it will be. Contact me!

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I Love My Cop

Well, the story is a thriller. So of course there is a cop. Detective Sargent Charlie Rosa of the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Department.

Charlie is so real to me that, these days, I look into every cop car I pass on the road to see if he’s there! So, far, I haven’t found him, but – I can just feel him, if you know what I mean. He’s a living presence in the world, somehow. And he’s a really, really good guy. Competent, nice, intelligent, thoughtful, courageous… I can tell you his backstory any time you want. I know all about him, even though not all is revealed in the novel. Goes without saying.

There’s also Kelly Cavanaugh, Ca Dept of Fish and Game. She’s amazing. Of course, I’ve read all of CJ Box’s novels, which probably influenced how Kelly developed. But I also had the honor of spending time with Captain Don Kelly, CA DFG North Coast Division, who helped me understand much about game wardens – the people, the job, what’s on their duty belt… I’m looking forward to the ride-along.

The retired SC police captain down the street has also been very helpful with police procedural and criminal plotting. As have several attorneys I’ve spoken with, as I’ve come to understand the juvenile justice system.

During this polishing phase, I think I need to extract the whole crime/thriller plot thread and ask for expert readers to critique just this bit. Do you have expertise in law enforcement? Would you like to help critique the thriller elements of The Death of the Gecko? I’d love to hear from you!

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