Hooray for Writing Breakthroughs

A new writing vision popped into my head while my husband and I were visiting my in laws at Christmas. They live in New England; the picture perfect place to be that time of year.

I was just lazily hanging out, sipping hot mulled wine in front of the fire. Watching through the sliding glass door as the fat snow flakes fell, a cozy mystery story came to me.

I rolled the ideas around in my head over the next few days. On our nine drive back home, I had characters, plots, and mysteries outlined for three cozy mystery stories. I ended up setting them in the Lehigh Valley of Pennsylvania rather than New England, because that’s closer to home.

Starting last week, I dove in and started fleshing out the stories. I was excited to learn more about my main character, Andie Schubert, and her life. I settled on what the mystery would be, and sort of how it would be solved.

But, something was missing and I couldn’t figure out what it was. I wasn’t excited to write this story on Monday, because as I reread it, the characters felt flat, and the mystery felt lame. I was frustrated when I still hadn’t been able to fix the issues by the time I went to bed Monday night.

The Aha Moment!

As I was waking up Tuesday morning, I let my mind wander over the story. I kept asking why. Why was Andie doing this, and not that? Why would someone want to steal that piece of art? Why would a secret be kept for so long without being told?

As I dove into individual people and events, asking why, it all became so clear. I literally jumped out of bed (I’m normally a slow crawler out of bed person), and grabbed the notebook on my nightstand. I wrote all of the thoughts that came to me. When I stopped writing, I had two notebook pages of plots, subplots, and better formed characters.

I’ve been so excited to write the book that in the last two days I’ve written just over 5,000 words.

Thinking Differently

I was ready to give up, because I honestly didn’t feel like the right ideas were going to come to me for this mystery and the solution to make sense. I didn’t want to just put some lame mystery out there to be solved by wooden characters. Letting my mind wander in free form, and asking questions saved my story!

Whenever I go through this again – and I’m sure I will – I’ll reread this and my “digging beneath the surface” post to give me new energy and write the stories I want to tell.

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