The devil’s in the details
I hate plots. Why do I need a plot, anyway? I have 300 pages of all these great scenes with all these grand characters, and then I have to sit down and do a rewrite that makes sure it all makes sense.
Because a mystery novel kind of needs to make sense. Mainstream fiction can bumble around and follow the characters through their messy human days, and science fiction can always introduce an alternate reality, but crime fiction has to have a tidy sequence of events. And because people who read crime fiction are both bright and pay attention, they sort of notice when the author tries to arrange a nice brightly patterned carpet over a gap in the floor.
So for the past week I’ve been wrestling with plot, producing a blizzard of paper scraps with notes and problems and solutions, taking breaks to cook (weird meals get produced at this point) and swim (great way to allow ideas to drop into the mind) and when all else fails, to go out and stab weeds for a while. Which last may not help with the plot, but it both helps with the weeds and reminds me that writing is better than a lot of jobs out there.
And my general state of distraction is even greater than usual. My daughter talked me into taking a break to get coffee, and I spent half the time staring off into space (Now, if Mycroft did X and Sophie then could be there, but why didn’t Russell see…)
Please God of Crime Writers, if you help me out here and let my poor fevered brain see how this is supposed to work, I swear that next time I will be good and hammer out some kind of outline before I begin. I swear I will stick to a nice linear plot that can be described in two sentences. I swear I will never write a book with more than two points of view.
And then the other day I get the schedule for the Book Passage Mystery Writers conference, in two weeks, and what do they have me talking about? That’s right.