Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Murder and Mayhem

I've decided to write a mystery. That is going to be my NaNo this year. I've never written a mystery before, but after the large amount of Sherlock Holmes stories and multi media I've been consuming, I have diabolical scenarios on the brain. Also, the other night I was creeping around the campus and I realized that a college campus is a perfect setting for a murder mystery. Thus and idea was born.
Most of my stories aren't exactly plot driven- they're usually more like character meditations where stuff happens and there's the occasional metaphor. I think that style works pretty well in the short form, but last year during my NaNo I ran out of plot at about 30,000 words and that was a problem. I had interesting characters, theme and concept, but not enough stuff happening. The perfect way to break out of my habit of writing ~concepts~ instead of ~stories~ is to write in a genre that is especially plot driven. At least that's what I'm hoping.
This may be too optimistic, but I think that if I break through this issue in my writing I could be highly publishable eventually. A lot of modern fiction I read has a lot of stuff happening, but not enough character or theme, I seem to have the opposite problem.
Strangely, though I reveled in the joys of short fiction a lot over the past year, I've returned to poetry lately. At a very young age I fancied myself a poet, but stopped abruptly when I was in high school for several reasons. After that, the more I read poetry, the less I felt I could ever write it and aside from the occasional sonnet, I didn't touch the genre until a few months ago. Now I've been having phrases come to me while driving or taking walks, even sometimes when sitting in class.
In my typical fashion, many are bit gloomy, but some are kind of... nice. I think I'm funnier in person than on the page. I often go a bit dark in morbid in my writing, but in real life I'm the person bantering with anyone willing to spar. One of my professors has suggested I write a series of literary parodies. Perhaps.


  1. If you're going for a murder mystery, at least then you have a plot to follow! :) Just need to make sure you have enough plot elements and subplots to make it past the 50k mark and be absolutely riveting. Good luck! Murder mysteries are ever popular. In fact, the biggest UK TV import in Sweden is all the good detective shows, and they get consistently good ratings - inspectors Morse, Frost, Barnaby, Wycliffe, Lewis, Lynley (and so on) are all doing very well! And then there's Miss Marple and Monsieur Poirot as well, of course. :)

    My first serious NaNo attempt turned out to be ~53k words and no story. Things happen every now and again, sure, but there is no real plot, just a group of people who end up in a place and walk around for a bit and learn a few things in a very short space of time and it's just ... meh. Then again, a book about "nothing" worked rather well for Stephanie Meyer, but at least she had teenage angst and chesticle ogling to draw people's attention. Mine's just ... meh. Plus, I also adopted practices for the sake of word count such as writing "you are" instead of "you're" and such, and it was more "pile on the needless words" rather than omitting them. If that so-called novel is going to go anywhere, it needs a major re-write and needs to be injected with a plot. Ahh maybe at some point.

  2. Yeah, that's basically how my novel turned out- to be about nothing (I would never compare myself to Stephanie Meyer, but that's my own prejudice there!)
    The idea of a story that is extremely plot driven is what I hope pulls me out of my funk and helps me harness stronger plots for all my lengthier writing projects.

  3. Hahaha, no, I wouldn't want to compare myself to Stephanie Meyer either. Have just finished book one, and felt a decided urge to re-read the last Harry Potter book as opposed to begin book two. (Reading about Sparkles and Personality Void for study purposes. Y'know, to see how bad those books actually are. ;))

  4. I will actually admit to having read some of Meyer's ramblings. As an English major I feel it is my duty to understand the literary trends and also be able to rant about the terrible stuff knowledgably.
    I never want to be one of those jerks that disses everything without having a legitimate and informed reason to. In the case of Stephanie Meyer, I have that reason to. That is my educated opinion.