And of course there will be many along the way.
In a rather ironic twist of fate, as I sit down to write this entry, I am suddenly puzzled by how I can write it without creating a spoiler. Hmmm. I suspect that I am either about to get really creative or talk quite obliquely about the problem Either way, should be entertaining.
So the problem is that, . . . wow this is really tough to do without just giving away the plot. I don’t always personally mind spoilers since I think half the fun is how you get there, but I hate to be the one providing a spoiler for my own novel. That just seems wrong. The problem is right around the central plot twist. But I guess this is what happens when you begin to work out a new plot and the plot for this one is starting out a little more complicated than the last book.
Let’s try this again. <oblique> There has been a murder, makes sense since I’m writing a series of murder mysteries. The murder is supposed to implicate someone, but as I sat down to start I actually didn’t have a link between the murder and the someone. </oblique> There that’s better.
Part of the reason I’m writing about this is simply to note that I didn’t expect such a large problem right at the beginning (this actually showed up on Day 1 of the outlining process. Obviously I’ve pushed past it at this point). The other reason is to note that what I find particularly tough is the trail of clues. I can create decent characters, with a full rich backstory, and I think that I’ve got a pretty interesting world going. I also have a good main character with a rich set of helpers. I absolutely understand how the crime was done and why. So I’ve got all of the right elements.
But for me figuring out the trail of clues that my main character follows to find the bad guy is difficult. I think it may be the toughest part for me in writing a murder mystery. In the earlier drafts of AH1, I had some really lame clues, which I entirely blame on my own lack of creativity. With AH2, I think I’ve been a little better at developing nonlame clues, but at the same time I have struggled on and off with how to progress the investigation from A–>B–>C and having some misdirection actually makes it worse!
As always with the process, I have had some slow difficult days working on the outline and I have had some days where how to progress the story has just clicked. Sometimes those just clicking parts were the most creative and fun. I guess that’s the final irony — at times I’m just staring at how to move from one step to the next and I say, “I don’t know, just pick something so that you can move on.” And that works.