Mondays are very very long days for me. I get up early, I get home late.
I have some obligations to meet too - critiques and a guest post that is scheduled for Wednesday. I have not been in the mood to write anything for it for two weeks but I finally sat down and just wrote it.
I've made a few breakthroughs on how I want to handle the gaps in the story, and also some big breakthroughs on how I want to handle elements of the larger story arc between the characters. (I actually wrote a few scenes from the next book.)
One thing I've been thinking about is restoring a scene I cut. There is a moment when personal life issues get to be a bit too much for George and he cracks. He's very good at dissociating, so what he does is interesting and fun. But it comes at the end of a long sequence of "character development" stuff. Personal story arcs dominate the plot more than the mystery does. And the way I had it written, it happens just as they get back on track with the mystery. So it felt like the pacing was wrong and I cut it.
The character development and personal arc stuff is important to the mystery, of course. It's a section where there are hidden clues and we learn a lot of context. In some ways, it's kind of an act unto itself. If I could only get it to weave together with the main story a little more overtly....
Two things happened to make me decide to restore the scene. One was a blog posting at Mystery Writing is Murder, about "Pushing our Characters to the Edge." I think George's story NEEDS this moment to happen. I can't cut it. It's got to be there.
The other thing was just one of those head-slapping "D'oh!" moments. I realized I didn't have to force the mystery into this character development bit. I didn't need to have bad guys lurking or actual adventure elements enter (because those can take a lot of setting up) - all I needed was to dig a little more deeply into the motivations of other characters. And it didn't have to be important characters. All I had to do was think, given what the thugs were after when they trashed Karla's house, what would they have done that Karla would notice was different from what she expected.
So the characters need to investigate why Karla's paperbacks are "poofy." Which brings us entirely back into the mystery.