The interesting thing about writing mystery stories is that you start with the trick. Or at least I do. Once you have the trick (It was the butler all along!), you work backwards from there, filling in the frame of the story, dropping in the false blinds and red herrings, until you have a basic chassis on which you can hang the actual novel. The next question is: Who gets it?
I’ve just put together the chassis for a new murder mystery, one I’m quite excited about, and have gone through the process of choosing which detective(s) will get to solve it. Are the mechanics of this trick more suited to the 1940s? Is it a Roy Doyle story? Or is this something that would better suit Murray & Campanella? Or, better yet, is this a place to start a new character?
I was tempted to go with a new character because that’s fun and you’re just wide open creatively the whole time instead of being hemmed in by the character traits you previously established in other books. But, in the end, I think the story belongs to Murray & Campanella. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that they’re my two favorite characters to write dialog for.
I’ve given myself two weeks to write as much as I can before Christmas break at which time I will switch back to the second Battalion Black novel in an effort to finish it out in a blaze of glory. At the same time, the first book will be making its snail mail way to Tor Books as a hail Mary. Then I’ll probably finish this M&C novel before beginning the third and final installment of the Battalion Black series.
God that’s a lot of writing ahead of me. Glad I don’t have carpel tunnel syndrome yet.