Preptober!

Saturday, October 03, 2020

It’s that time again. If you’ve followed my blog for any length of time, you know that I’ve taken part in National Novel Writing Month, aka NaNoWriMo, multiple times. If you haven’t followed my blog for long or you just forgot, NaNoWriMo takes place in November. As you might guess, the idea is to write an entire novel during the month. Now, it’s not a big novel, since your goal is 50,000 words, but it still qualifies as a novel. (For comparison, most of my cozy mysteries are about 60,000 words, and The Case of the Comely Clairvoyant clocks in at 80,000 because of the largish subplot.)


While you can’t start writing this novel until November 1st, you can—and should—do planning in advance. This includes character studies, a good idea of the setting, and some idea of your plot. In a murder mystery, you need to know the victim, the killer, a few suspects, and the motive, means, and opportunity for the crime. If you want to go all out, you’ll also create a list of scenes to write. In case you didn’t guess, most of the writers participating do this preparation in October. Thus we have Preptober.


Since I’ve just finished The Case of the Comely Clairvoyant (releasing Tuesday, October 6th), the timing is perfect for me this year. It also helps that an online group I regularly write with is planning on using our sprint time in November to write NaNo novels. This group of mystery writers has made the pandemic a lot more bearable, even fun, since I haven’t seen any of my Tucson friends since March.


Yesterday, I started prepping for Preptober, and today my plan is to make a schedule of the various tasks I like to have complete before I start writing. Since this will be another book in the Shipwreck Point series, I already know the setting and the main characters. But I do have to come up with that pesky victim, the killer, and additional suspects. I’ve been thinking about Titus’s next client for a while now, and I think he’s perfect. Only, since I like him so much, I’m having a hard time coming up with who he kills. The victim is going to have to be at least as unlikeable as the killer in this book. Someone who, as we like to say, “needs killing.”


Anyway, I have a lot of work to do, so this blog post is done now. I can’t promise to make a post here every week until December, since the pace of NaNoWriMo is exhausting. But I will be thinking of you. In the meantime, you can keep up with what I’m up to in my newsletter, which you can get if you put your email address in the sidebar box.

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