Sunday, November 1, 2015

Finishing Your Fist Mystery by Mar Preston

Chances are if you’re reading this, you’ve  written a lot of words, some pages, some chapters, which are causing you a lot of pain. It feels like you’ve done a lot of thinking, a lot of typing, but it isn’t a book. You know that. And you’re about to give up.

I know that others reading this are pros. But all of us have an unfinished project somewhere.

In the beginning you couldn’t wait to sit down with it. You were in love with your hero and the rest of your characters. It was fun and the words tumbled along as if you were taking dictation.

Now you’ve found it was a lot harder than you thought. Writing a mystery which was once a lark, has turned sour. Your characters have gone flat; the plot has fizzled out; and you haven’t a thought in your head about how to finish it. Or whether it’s even worth it. Or whether you want to work this hard.

Please don’t give up. I want you to continue.Quoting one of my favorite writers, Neil Gaiman:

Creative work is often a slog and the only way you’ll really get good at it is to finish what you start even when it’s not going well. You’ll end up learning from that experience more than if you quit.

There’s a lot of wisdom in that. I am resentful of writers who say they have such fun with their characters. That’s not the way it is with me. It’s work. It’s a slog.

In fact I’ve just sent a 12,000 word eBook on the subject of finishing your first mystery to my editor. Stay tuned. I've also just sent off my 6th mystery to another editor.  Finishing it was like leveling Mount Everest with a bent plastic spoon. But it got done and I learned something in the process.

Stay tuned. In the meantime, please check out my recent book, A Very Private High School.  Skewed romance, embezzlement, & murder among the Santa Monica elite & dangerous. 4th in a well-reviewed whodunit series.


Morgan Mandel said...

How true this is! I have three fiction books and one non-fiction book yet to finish! Instead, I wrote new books, which I was more interested in, but the others must have their day!

Mar Preston said...

Sometimes you just run out of ideas, don't you think? And then wonder why in hell, etc?