Monday, October 25, 2010

NaNoWriMo ‘10 Starts in 1 Week!

NaNoWriMo ‘10 Starts in 1 Week!

creative-murder-demotivational-posterAnd I got nothing. Well, I do have something. But I don’t yet have a plot. I have a bunch of characters, I have a crime or two, I have a couple scene ideas. But beyond that…nothing. Last year at this time I was sitting around just trying to think of anything I was missing. This time around I’m grasping for straws.

Okay, enough of the weak metaphors. There’s no reason to panic. At heart I’m a pantser, so no big deal. Sure, I’ve never written a Mystery before. And now that I’m doing it, I’m finding it incredibly complicated. Clues, evidence, leads, motives, means, it all has to be non-obvious and obvious at the same time. Every line of the story has to be about the Mystery. But I have all these great ideas about scenes that have nothing to do with solving the crime(s). And not many about pursuing the bad guys.

I’ve been reading James Frey’s How to Write a Damn Good Mystery. It’s helpful and daunting at the same time. Frey is a proponent of a “Five Act” structure dealing with the phases of solving crimes. Here it is for those who are interested:

  1. Accepting the Mission. The Hero/Detective is made aware of the crime and thinks about working it.
  2. Tests up to Ordeal. The Hero/Detective starts investigating, finding allies and enemies, and eventually is faces with a Crisis.
  3. Solves the Crime. After passing the Ordeal, the Hero/Detective figures out “whodunit” and goes after them, trying to prove it.
  4. Trapping the Criminal. The Hero/Detective faces the Criminal and finds a way to expose and/or defeat him.
  5. Standard Dénouement. The Hero/Detective lives happily ever after and the Criminal doesn’t.

Well, I kinda have a little bit of Acts I and II laid out. The rest is completely up in the air. I have ~6 days 12 hours to figure it out. Also, according to Frey, there this kind of “Act 0” which is the story of the villain, the crime, the victim, and everything that happens outside of the scope of the book. “The plot behind the plot” is what I think he calls it. What I have so far is 4 actual murders, 2 attempted murders, and some other crimes as well. Woot!

So, how is your NaNoWriMo planning going?


  1. My goal last week was to get to 50k words in my "real" novel so that I could feel I'd accomplished something there. My goal this week is to do any prep for NaNoWriMo, which is scary especially considering I'm getting on a plane Friday. All I have done is a small bit of world building. No characters, no plot, nothing! By now I should at least have a character in mind...

  2. My outline is ready and character sheets prepared.
    Glad I don't write mystery - sounds difficult!

  3. I think I'm done! I went to The Plotwhisperer's YouTube channel and soaked it all in. Good stuff:D

  4. @Luna: Something is better than nothing!

    @Alex: *jealous*

    @Tina: *envious*

  5. Thanks for the book suggestion. I totally just ordered it. Hope you get what you need done for'll be fine.

    Your characters are real, well...characters. They'll tell you where they're going. =)

  6. I have 3 different books that could happen in November.
    1. My third Elizabethan Historical romance, in the 'Courtly' theme
    2. A contemporary Paranormal romance
    3. A pseudo-autobiographical ya paranormal (no vampires)
    I am hosting a class with my students, so that made me start thinking YA. Too many choices.

    But none of that will happen if I don't finish my w.i.p. in the next three days. 3 days, 3 chapters and an epilogue. Could happen.

  7. A little over 24 hours to go now and I am still planning my novel. I have a lot of it in my head, but want to get most of the plan on paper so I have something to look at.

    This is going to be an interesting month.


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