As October came to an end I started to think about the story I wanted write over the next 30 days.
I knew I wanted to write a mystery, although I have watched more than I have read, I have a love for traditional mysteries from the likes of Agatha Christie. I like stories with character, not just in terms of people but also location. Programmes such as Murder, She Wrote, and Midsomer Murders are particular favourites of mine; although I would never want to live anywhere near Cabot Cove for fear of becoming either a victim or a suspect!
I have recently been re-watching the dazzling A&E remake of Nero Wolfe and binged on the first two seasons of The Phryne Fisher Mysteries both a mix of amazing acting, stunning staging and engaging stories.
All of the stories feature murder, however I haven’t found them to be gruesome, nor gratuitous, in their depictions, and though I am a lifelong true crime is fan even appropriate? I don’t really enjoy thrillers in film or print.
So, how does one write about murder without writing about murder?
Enter the cosy mystery.
Turns out there’s a whole world of sleuths, both amateur and professional, who draw on the old traditions. One thing I like about the newer mysteries is that they are themed. Be it cookies, books or coffee shops; knitting, dogs or dance, there’s a slew of mysteries to be solved.
But what do I know about those things? And what would be the point of writing something that has already been done, and very successfully at that?
Honestly, as October turned into November I started to question if this was a good idea, but a good friend had some sound words for my anxious brain:
it doesn’t matter if others like what you write, or if you think someone else has already written it. Write for yourself. The story that you want to tell, not the story you think other want.
One week in and I don’t have my grand outline, instead I have 11 A4 pages of scribbles, and two double-sided index cards.
I have a location, the basic framework for a slueth (or two) and at least 4 potential murders.
Truthfully, I won’t be hitting the 50,000 word goal. Last week that would have bothered me, it would have felt like a major failure but the reality is I have been more creative and dedicated more time to writing that I have in a very long time.
Would I like to be a Nanowrimo Winner this year? For sure. But if I can come out of these 30 days and feel like a writer then that’s also a win.
Even if I am now a Nano-Rebel I want to stay in the creative bubble that is Nanowrimo, so my plan for the next week is to turn those messy pages into a workable outline, to breathe life into my characters, and with any luck to have fun building a world that is familiar yet unknown…
How has your first week of Nanowrimo been?
Are you already thousands of words in, or like me do you pages look a little sparse?