I think your character is getting old and senile.

That is what my oldest daughter, one of my beta readers, said to me while reading my latest draft of the next Gabriel Hawke book. I laughed and asked why. She mentioned two things that were not my character’s fault. They were mine. So it is the writer and creator of Gabriel Hawke who is getting senile! LOL

Actually, this last manuscript, I found myself having to reread the last two or three chapters every time I sat down to write because I would have days in between being able to write. I lost the flow of the story and the events. Even though I also write about three or four chapters and then go back and on a notepad write down all the significant events that have to do with the murder or investigation they are doing.

I also have a calendar white board that I put small sticky notes on each day with the significant information that is discovered that day. It helps me keep track of the length of time the book plays out over and what forensics information could be coming in.

With all of these “cover my backside” in place, I still repeated things and had my character saying things that he’d already said. Yikes!

Now I know why I didn’t pursue my writing career until my kids were older. Right now we have our oldest granddaughter living with us. We have been attending her volleyball games and I’ve been taking days to go trail riding with other grandkids. I’m spending time with family and my writing is suffering. But I would rather have that than my family suffering.

While the Hawke book is off with my beta readers, I started fleshing out the next Spotted Pony Casino Mystery book. I did something I have never done. I made a 5 page outline of sorts. I wrote five or less sentences for each chapter pushing the plot of the story along. I didn’t add in any emotional or sub plots, but I’m hoping those will come naturally as I write and the outline will keep my story flowing without repeating and backtracking. Because until this granddaughter graduates in May, I will be busy with her and her school functions as well as having fun with the grandkids down the road.

If you are a writer, do you plot or do an outline before you start a book? Have you ever discovered at the end that you had repeated information?

Readers, have you ever read a book that repeated information or made the main character seem lost?

5 thoughts on “I think your character is getting old and senile.

  1. I never know anything except the first chapter and roughly how I will end the story. How I get to the end is the fun for me. I, too, love my Beta readers, especially the ones who have been with me since nearly the beginning. And when they talk, I listen. I don’t think anyone is senile around your place. Your priorities have shifted. You are some wonderful grandchildren and are taking time out to experience them. Good for you!

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  2. Susan, Yes! My beta readers are awesome! Like what my daughter just caught. She also told her husband (state police lieutenant) that I had a fatal wreck in my book and he sent me the protocol for investigating.

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    1. Marilyn, I thought I had all the information written down everywhere. I guess not! Or I was sleep reading through the first time my character did what he repeated. Which is why, I now have the book all printed out and am going through with highlighters to mark all the clues for each suspect and marking things for a timeline, and looking for repeats. It appears I may have to triple check myself from now on…

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  3. Paty, I have the same problem. I do repeat myself with slight changes that reflect some of what has happened in a previous chapter that I “intend” to revise. When I come to such passages I sometimes can’t remember what change I had in mind and have to rewrite. I too make notes on what is discovered and when. I check them as I go along, but I still make mistakes. Sigh. That’s why I love my Beta readers.

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