When a new year comes around and I’m starting a new book, it just feels right. My desk is clean. Something I do the end of every year is make sure my desk is tidy and ready for the coming year. (I also do it between each book/project) It wipes away what I had been working on and makes a clean slate for the next project.
This first project of the year is book 9 in the Gabriel Hawke series. I enjoy writing these books. They are set, mostly, where I grew up and have a unique character who I feel I can tap into better than my female protagonists. I don’t know why, but Hawke flows from me without doubts or self recriminations that the character isn’t this or that.
This book will push me and my character. He and his significant other are going to be pushed to their limits trying to help a wounded person and survive a blizzard in the Wallowa Mountains. I have my research books stacked up and have started reading them. I have even ran some tests in our snow to see what blood looks like when it first drips onto the snow. I took photos and studied the spot for about four days, until our snow melted. I know what my character will see or be on the look out for when they follow the sparse drops of blood from the bleeding person who left a dead body behind.
Several of the scenes have played over in my mind since I came up with the premise of this book. I have sat down and discovered who the person they are following is and who the dead person was. I wrote out the chain of ideas for scenes. Once I do some more research on snow conditions and animals that would be accessible for food or to follow to stay warm, I’ll start writing the book this week.
While some people don’t like to have a “road map” or outline to follow when they write, I’ve found, after the last Spotted Pony Casino Mystery that I “mapped out” that it helped me to know my story better when I started and while I didn’t stick to the road or route I’d mapped, I felt I had a stronger book throughout because I knew a bit more about my characters and who I wanted to highlight as possible suspects.
As yet, I don’t have a title for book #9 in the Hawke books. I’m waiting to see what animal makes sense that is out in the winter and would work for the premise of the book. I’m a writer that either has the titles before I start the book or I come across it as I’m writing. It looks like it will be the latter this time.
If you have any thoughts on a winter animal put it in the comments and I’ll look up its habits to see if it might work.
At the moment I have Churlish Badger being made into an audiobook as well as the Shandra Higheagle Mystery book, Homicide Hideaway. But what you really need to know is through the month of January, if you like audiobooks, Book 1 in the Shandra Higheagle Mystery series, Double Duplicity is $1.99 at Authors Direct.
If you don’t have the app it’s easy to download and free. This audiobook resource gives me and the other authors using it more royalties than the other audiobook vendors. (and my books are priced lower here.)
8 thoughts on “Gathering my Thoughts”
Hi, check out the reality tv show, Dr. Oakley, Yukon Vet, lots of winter animals she attends to. Good luck, Marcia Rosen, author, Dying to Be Beautiful and The Senior Sleuths:)
Thank you! I’ll have to see if I get that program.
A really interesting post, Paty. Also so natural, it was as if you were talking to me. Studying drops of blood in the snow. Possibly only a fellow mystery writer could understand that. Others just might think we’re nuts. Which we could be. But I love every day of it. Thanks so much.
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Ha Ha! I agree, Heather. Most people would think we are nuts! Yes, I love every day of the research and the writing. Thanks for commenting!
Excellent post. For me things pop into my head and I need to write them down because if I don’t, they’ll pop right out again. (Blame it on my age.)
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Marilyn, I don’t think it’s age. I’ve written a book and then gone back through and can’t find a scene I’m sure I wrote, only to finally figure out it was only in my head and didn’t make the book. Then I have to add it in….
Thanks for describing your process. More and more I find it helpful to have a few sentences on what’s coming along in a story, just a few words that tell me what I’m aiming for. That often stimulates other ideas for parts of the plot, so I feel more grounded. Good post.
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Thanks, Susan. I only started actually writing down a skeleton of a story after having my days so chopped up with my granddaughter’s activities. But I have to say, I think it does help to keep me moving forward even if the story does shift away from the skeleton to take on its own life.
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