Sunday, December 2, 2012

Week in Review-Preview: It's Cozy Mystery Week!

This week on the blog...
... we saw a few extra posts, as I discovered an old, unpublished, intro to one of my books as I cleared up paperwork, and I did a new cover for a book I haven't written yet.

This coming week is Cozy Mystery Week!

Okay it's only a few of us who are declaring it so, but I think Cozy Mysteries deserve a week. I'll be devoting several posts to old time mysteries on the blog this week, including a new Miss Leech cartoon!

(For new readers, the current serial novel, Test of Freedom, is not a mystery.  More of an old time melodrama.  Everythign else this week will be cozy mystery oriented.)

Monday: Test of Freedom Episode 13 "Old Cooper"
Jack learns a curious fact about Rocken from an old prisoner.

Tuesday: Miss Leech and The Yard cozy mystery comic strip #4
Inspector Stride doesn't want a sweater for Christmas.

Wednesday: Writing the Cozy Mystery: Twisting Your Contrivances
Every coincidence is a red flag that tips off your audience, unless you play a game of misdirection. Or double misdirection. Or triple misdirection....

Thursday: Test of Freedom Episode 14 - "Lady Ashton's Admission"
Lady Ashton needs to confide.

Friday Favorites: What a Cozy Mystery Is To Me
Continuing the genre discussion: To me "cozy" means "murder all in good fun."

A Round of Words in 80 Days Update

Sunday Update: Progress, Schmogress!

What I did this week: mainly a lot of art.

*ToF artwork for several episodes
*Miss Leech Cartoon
*Concept cover for my standalone crime novellas
*Wrestled a troublesome episode to the ground and pinned it.
*Resolved a problem for Misplaced Baroness in a creative and fun way.
*Wrote small snippets for this and that.
*Blog posts.

And, of course, I spent a lot of time and effort working on getting my inbox to zero (see last Sunday's report). (Or perhaps I should say "moving my inbox toward zero" as it is far from empty.)
For other folks reporting progress today: ROW80 Linky.

Not Ready for Full-Time Diary

I mentioned last week that a big, fully integrated lifestyle isn't compatible with a writing dare.  It's too hard to condense down to a quantifiable summary.  (Also, unless you are a zen productivity fiend, it's pretty boring stuff.  If you ARE a zen productivity fiend, you might try a blog like Zen Habits, or just search on "GTD blogs." You'll find lots.)

But, in the time since last week, I have tamed a few tigers and I'm not so utterly absorbed in my GTD Implementation or setting up new patterns in my life...

...and I'm ready to deal with my writing the old-fashioned way again.

So as of today (which is Saturday, December 1, as of this writing) I am going back to word counts. I'm not setting a goal, and I'm not going to set a particular project. I'm just going to see how far I can go.

One thing I am doing differently: I'm going to include blogging.  If it's for publication, it counts.  (Outlines, and notes and brainstorming don't.)


The biggest problems I've had in the past year is that I've been working on existing projects for which word counts don't work -- old drafts, partially written things. I've discovered that in most dares, quantifiers other than word counts have mixed results.  Sometimes minutes work, and sometimes they don't.

It's a problem when my major, most important projects don't really fit into the dare format.

Well, since I'm not battling a day job for time just now, I think I'll just leave those projects uncounted. They may be my main projects, but may not show up on the progress reports.  

Instead, I'm just going to do some new writing every day, even if it's just a session off to the side during a break, and I'll count that.  Some of those words will be on my main work-in-progress, and some won't.

Among the things I'll be working on:

*Micro-fiction.  Now that I have a cool short story cover template, I feel like doing more shorts.  I have a collection concept: "stories for when you're standing in line."  I've got a few, but they are so short, I definitely need more. I also might want to submit a few of them to EQMM, so I'll need extras.

*Devil In a Blue Bustle.  Mick and Casey's next story needed something.  Another layer of depth.  I think I have a handle on that, but I'm so far out of the story, it will take a while to layer it in right.  This probably won't be out as soon as I'd like (uh, I was hoping for next week) but it is high on my priority list. (Actually, it's the official work-in-progress.)

*Other Mick and Casey stories.  I've got lots of them. Sometimes when one is stuck, I can work on another to get back into the mindset of the series.  I kinda want to make the short story A Fistful of Divas into an interim serial in March/April. And there's the novelette Stone Cold Dead at the Trading Post.  Not to mention Six-Gun Santa, which has a fab opening, but not a good story to go with it.

*The Man Who Stepped Up.  The second Starling and Marquette is in the exploratory stage. I know the front story.  I know the first murder... but I have too many options for whodunnit and why.  That needs some brainstorming sessions as well as exploratory writing.  Character development for the suspects, witnesses and guest characters.  But I do know one thing, a funny scene involving a towel and a visiting meddler (which I had in mind for book three or four) is going to happen here.

*The Scenic Route novelization.  Now that I have a draft of a cover, I kinda want to get on with doing a novella version of my screenplay.  I'm going to do this a little at a time, unless it catches fire. 

*The Case of the Misplaced Baroness.  (AKA The Perils of Lady Pauline.) While I enjoyed writing a lot of last summer's serial off the cuff, I do want to have at least some of next summer's story nailed down before I write it.  Last summer's story was relatively simple -- Alex had to find Thorny and get him home.  Next summer begins a complicated set of mysteries and adventures which I need to sort out and figure out where the pieces fit.  By the time I get to this, though, I expect to have the complications narrowed down to relatively simple individual stories.

*Test of Freedom.  While the story itself is completely written, it needs a wrap up episode, and a credit cookie which will lead to the next story. I hope to do that soon, because I mean to publish this next week. You know, as a whole book.

*Blog posts.  I mention this only because they will count in the word count.  I'm not going to count noodling with ideas and outlining.  Only focused efforts with a specific post in mind. (You would be surprised at how much fiddling and twiddling I can write that you never see.)

With all that, I should be able to hit 2000 words a day easily, except that I'll probably devote a lot of time to editing (especially of ToF and Devil in a Blue Bustle) and art and brainstorming, and all the other tasks in my life.

We'll see.

In the meantime, I'm not done with Saturday yet, so that will be reported at the bottom of Wednesday's post.

See you in the funny papers.


Laurel-Rain Snow said...

Yes, sometimes it is almost impossible to "quantify" what we accomplish during a week.

I like the way you've set up your post, with the various topics.

Thanks for visiting my blog.

Anonymous said...

Cute pic you posted on twitter with Max on your neck. Does he do that often? It's always a good thing to be writing something new, even when you're working on other things. I find it keeps the creativity fresh.

The Daring Novelist said...

Thanks, Laurel. I have to make my Sundays work for several purposes. And I've had people say like the review-preview.

Ryan: Max is Mr. Sociability. He believes in taking part in whatever you're doing.

He climbs people like kittens do. If he's on a shelf, he'll casually step down on your shoulder -- or even your head -- like you're a stepping stone. (But he does wait until you are in a position for him to do it easily. He doesn't like to scratch or make people yell.)