Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Transcendental Detective Update

Yawn, you say. Another one of those "wordcount" posts. Sorry, but that's what I got and I do after all use this blog to track this kind of stuff.

Anyway, I did a lot of typing this weekend (as well as a lot of other, non-bookish stuff) and I've finally caught the Word(tm) document up to the handwritten manuscript so I can say with some authority (sorry) that I've got 46,735 words of detective novel written. I'm at the start of Chapter 8 now. The detective has just made a public accusation of murder. Very, very exciting stuff.

The plan was for Chapter 7 to end with "You are the murderer!" and for Chapter 8 to take up the scene in the following moment, with all the resultant action opening the new chapter. But I realized that I can actually skip the whole scene. Yes, I can, because for important reasons, the detective must discuss the scene again later with another character and why play it all through twice for the reader? So we only get the recap and a discussion of the (moral and ethical) consequences of the accusation, but not the action post-accusal. Which is a better way to handle this. It also allows me to put in a couple of jokes and to display some important things about character which otherwise wouldn't get in there. So well done, me.

There was a moment (a long moment that stretched for a couple of weeks, to be honest) where I had absolutely no idea how I was going to structure this part of the book and I thought that All Was Lost. But things are falling together pretty well and I'm nicely excited to get on with the last third of the novel. The plot is complicating itself and generating all sorts of misdirection under its own power. I call that success. I think I'll have a look at the Second Act during revisions and see if I can stir in even more misdirection, which is very ironic of me but I won't bother to say why, not just yet. Possibly when I've finished with the novel and sent if off to my agent I'll be willing to talk about the shell game that is a detective novel. But not yet.

Anyway, 46,735 words. Take that, Malasarn!

Also, courtesy of Mighty Reader, a Monetesque view of the flower beds:


  1. i'm glad all is not lost, since I am looking forward to reading this book in the far future.

  2. Tell Might Reader I love her picture! And congrats on that word count and figuring a few things out. It's a wonderful feeling to make such great headway!

  3. Tara Maya: Hopefully not the far future. I thought perhaps you'd like to see it earlier, if you have time to read a MS during the holidays.

    Michelle: I'll tell MR, thanks. Even though I'm approaching the final stretch, there still seems like an impossible amount of work to do on this book. Though last night I was reading through the first pages and I think it might be pretty good. Progress is always wonderful!

    Also--and I promise nothing--Mighty Reader and I were thinking of crashing your book release party in October. It is unlikely to happen, but we are looking sideways at the possibility.

  4. Looking sideways is better than not looking at all. But now you have my hopes up and my little heart beating fast! You might find Orem a wonderfully beautiful place (although a bit odd in culture). And you can visit Park City! Everyone loves Park City. I know the best pub ever, even though I don't drink anything besides soda and water there. :)

  5. Cyberlama is still stalled at 42K. We haven't been shaking our fists very much lately, but I shake my fist at you, Bailey! Congratulations on your fun and exciting progress, though. I can shake my fist and still be happy for you. And that is indeed a beautiful picture.

  6. Michelle: A pub might change the odds. Can visitors drink in Orem? I remember (years ago) I was in SLC and you had to be a member of a private club to go in and get a drink (or drink at the hotel bar). Not that my life revolves around the easy availability of cocktails. Can you fly into Orem?

    Domey: Post lunch, I'm now at about 47,300. I shake a fist right back at you! I had no real idea how to start the new chapter, so I took my advice and just wrote the next damned word down. It was the wrong word, but eventually I found the right one and have happily got on with the narrative.

    Mighty Reader takes fine photos. She can't do lovely portraiture like Michelle, but she gets surprising and cool and pretty stuff like this. You should see the calendar she made for us.

  7. I've spent a couple weeks just putting words down to try and get my story to go somewhere, but it's stuck. I think I'm going to need to focus on draft 2 and re-map some elements to make it run to the end. That takes a lot of concentration, and I haven't made time for it yet unfortunately. I must!

  8. Davin: I get it. It's completely different for me, because I know how my book ends and I just have to move all the threads in that general direction; I sort of start out making it run to the end. Where you are takes more work than where I am. I always have a hard time explaining to people how much sustained concentration is required to write.