Before I get into giving a report on my current Work-in-Progress, I want to say that I love spring. It’s my favorite season. A neighbor’s blooming magnolia butterflies tree is just one reason why. (A Facebook friend called this image “sunshine on a stick.”)
WiP Report: “I feel like you have been working on Death in Shining Armor almost since I’ve known you,” my good friend Gail F said recently. This sounds about right. I first met her in a creative writing class I taught in the fall of 1991 and I had a draft of this book in an earlier version to take to Bouchercon in October 1993. (I’ve even blogged about this project before in a newsletter called “My Once and Future Novel.”)
I love spring for its surprises. One recent morning I looked out my kitchen window and saw that the crab apple tree behind the house had burst into bloom overnight.
WiP Report: I’m really happy with my take on the book this time. You see, this time I took some of the advice I give in Novel Basics: An Illustrated Guide to Writing a Novel and asked the question, “What if?”
Not all of spring’s surprises are pleasant though, like the pea-sized hail we had recently. (The flecks of color that look like pink snowflakes mixed with the hail came from the crab apple tree.)
WiP Report: Specifically, I asked myself the question what if my protagonist Vanessa Mathison, aka Van the Potter at a Renaissance Festival sort of thing, speaks directly to the reader in first person (“Startled, I dropped my basket filled with new cups”) instead of third (Startled, Van dropped her basket . . .”)? When I did that, Van came alive in ways she hadn’t before and she started talking to me.
I love spring because my favorites return. For instance, the other day when I saw the flailing and flaring of chestnut wings and tail feathers on the feeder in the back year, I realized the Brown Thrasher had come back. And oh, I see two of them now browsing around the bird food fallen from the feeders over the patio. You know what that means . . .
WiP Report: I also changed Van’s age from mid-twenties to thirty-nine and gave her a kid, an ex-husband, and the goal that drove a big part of my life: to have a career as a college professor. I was thirty-nine the year I began teaching at the college where I taught for twenty-five years. This helped me identify with the protagonist of this novel.
Another delight of spring is the Pink Moon. I’m considering using part of this image on the cover of Death in Shining Armor. It’s really pretty blurry though. What do you think?
WiP Report: Along with those changes came some realizations. 1) I should now call the book an academic murder mystery since Van works in a registrar’s office as did I before I went back to school to become a college professor. 2) And since that might take Van quite a while due to life’s little interruptions as it did me, Death in Shining Armor might be Book 1 of a series instead of a standalone. But we’ll see.
<> <> <>
I am very happy to announce that most of my novels, collections, and short stories in both the Calendar Mystery series and Cinderella, P. I. series plus the expanded version of Novel Basics: An Illustrated Guide to Writing a Novel currently are available from several different retailers and services including the following:
Apple Books: https://tinyurl.com/57k5d6dj
Barnes and Noble: https://tinyurl.com/43x5fa7n
My books including the expanded edition of Novel Basics are available in paperback from Amazon.com.