Saturday, January 18, 2020

Dreams to Goals to Plans

I have been writing for about nine years. And when I say writing, I fully concede that "writing" is relative. To be honest, I haven't been trying very hard. In that time I have begun and abandoned countless drafts while also completing the first drafts of two middle-grade novels. I have done the bare minimum of revisions and there's only one word for why this is so: lazy.

As I turn 50 this summer, I want to change my habits, because clearly my old habits just aren't working! What will I do differently this decade to move forward? 

I have taken some steps recently to prepare myself for a move to a new genre: the traditional or cozy mystery. They are the types of book I enjoy reading most, and I look forward to the challenge of writing my own.

The first thing I did is purchase Writing and Selling Your Mystery Novel Revised and Expanded Edition: The Complete Guide to Mystery, Suspense, and Crime by Hallie Ephron. It was recommended by the very kind, talented, helpful Kellye Garrett, the Agatha Award-winning author of the Detective by Day mystery series (Hollywood Homicide is the first). I love that Ms. Ephron's book guides you step-by-step in the process of planning your mystery - I needed this because, as a novice mystery writer, I was unsure about what to do first. Where do I start? The crime? The suspects? Do I develop my sleuth first? I just love it and find it so helpful. I had the 60+ pages of planning sheets (which come with a purchase of the online edition which I also bought) printed out at my local print shop and had it bound so I can carry my "workbook" with me at all times.

Second, I signed up to attend the Malice Domestic conference. If nothing else, I know that it will be extremely inspiring, and I'm looking forward to meeting some Sisters in Crime members and a few of the mystery authors I know.

The third thing I've been doing is reading traditional and cozy mysteries, and also watching them on the screen. It's really helpful to do this after having read Hallie Ephron's book, because I can see or read her advice "in action". 

So this little space is just to help keep me accountable and to make sure that my dreams are backed by goals and plans. 

Until my next Saturday update, keep reading and keep writing.

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