|cover design by Farah Evers|
I was asked, by someone I was chatting with on my trip East, if I work from an outline or how I know what goes where in the story.
I guess the idea of an actual outline is mostly in my head. I do have a file with general notes- scenes that I think might be good, interesting names, snippets of conversations, but what I actually write down in terms of organization is a list of chapters.
It's easy to divide the story into bite-sized pieces with generally what happens in each one. These are the central events in chapters. I put them in sequence and write them down. That doesn't mean they are set in stone. In Paddy Plays in Dead Mule Swamp, already, one chapter had to be broken in two, another potential chapter was shrunk to a few sentences and tacked on the end of another one.
Just last night, as I was getting ready to start Chapter 18, I got a brain wave for a small interesting development to add to the story, so that bumps all the original chapter ideas ahead one number. It's just a list to organize the sequential flow of the story, not a rigid plan.
As for Chapter 17, it's another emotional one, and when I finished writing I was really wrung out. For a "light" mystery, this one is having its heavy moments. Here's an excerpt (but I'm deep enough into the story by now that I don't want to give things away with the excerpts):
Paddy had been crouched at my feet, not barking, apparently trying to understand the angry human voices he was unaccustomed to hearing. I'd almost forgotten him. Now he stood up and nuzzled my hand. Suddenly my knees were weak, and I collapsed into an easy chair. The dog put his head in my lap.You can buy book 1, News from Dead Mule Swamp, for only 99¢ at Smashwords, or Amazon
"Now what, Paddy?" I asked, as I stroked his silky ears.