cayleighstickler: Black cat walking through the snow leaving a trail of paw prints (Default)
So, I'm striking out on my own. Since it's the beginning of day 3 [though I consider it to be still day 2 since I haven't gone to bed yet], I want to start getting through the meat and potatoes of this outline so I can start to write the story. My goal is still to finish the entire thing before the end of the month, which means I have to write between 35,000 and 40,000 words in a month. That's a lot of words.

Right now, I'm focusing on those suspects and their motives (and a little backstory too). It's starting to shape up nicely, and I've even given the sleuth a best friend, besides her husband, of course. He has a rich backstory that just keeps developing - plus, he's gay, which makes it that much better. Unfortunately, he's a suspect in this one, so we'll see what's in store for him. I'm really laying it on thick for this guy, and he'll have to dig himself out of a massive hole. I'm not going to lie - I'm excited to watch him try.

He's starting to really look like a good candidate for murder, and I really need to raise the stakes for the other people to make everything seem at least a little realistic. 

cayleighstickler: Black cat walking through the snow leaving a trail of paw prints (Default)
 The next task is to list all the characters and assign them a role. The roles are: protagonist, antagonist, mentor, power player, and supporting/minor characters. It's okay to have a character fall in many roles. Here goes! [Since there are a lot of characters, I'm making a distinction between support and minor characters. Support characters are those that support the protagonist and have more ink time. Minor characters may just make an appearance or have a line or two. Not all these characters will appear in this book.]

Agnes - protagonist
Robert - supporting/mentor/power player
Mr. Pritchett - minor
Mrs. Estrada - supportng
Detective Estrada - power player
Ms. Brannan - minor
Mr. Lebrowski - minor
Mrs. Shapiro - minor
Mr. Lane - minor
Mr. Torgerson - minor
Ms. Lemelin (Kit) - supporting/mentor
Ms. Halser - minor
Ms. Killian - minor
Mr. Tinoco - minor
Mr. Guidry - minor
Mr. Crandall - minor
Detective Mogensen - power player
Detective Mayfield - power player
Ms. Aguilar - minor

Actors and cast (including director and choreographer):
Norman, Mildred, Kevin, Andrew, Lester, Wanda, Victor, Anthony, Max, Jason, Edith, Vivian

One of the actors is the antagonist (killer). :) 


Since the rest of this post concerns itself with plot, I'm going to create a new post specific for that. 


cayleighstickler: Black cat walking through the snow leaving a trail of paw prints (Default)
 Here's the post for reference.

The first task is to describe the setting as an outsider would see it. Since the setting for the first book takes place exclusively in the theater, I'll include a description of the entire town for future reference for other books. Here goes!

Cheval, Vermont is a small town in Vermont with 2,153 people living in there. Most people, approximately 1200 people, live in the outskirts of town, and about 950 people live in the main part of town. It's these thousand people who will be mostly featured in the series. There is a typical main street where all the shops are located. I have a map with the stores on both Main Street (your typical small town Main St) and the storefront shops on Sunset Avenue. The town is along Lake Hawthorne, which is based off Lake Champlain. 

There are a ton of shops, including: floral, antique, coffee shop, natural grocery, apothecary, chocolatier, small bookstore, craft shop, Amish specialty shop, smoothie shop, and more. Tons! Small Town America puts an emphasis on  small businesses, so I want to reflect that in my town. I also want to use this city in other series I've developed. [So far, I can think of three already that can share this town!] There are ten streets that are considered large streets in the main part of town, and there are dozens of smaller streets, mostly ending in cul-de-sacs off those. There is a line of trees (like a mini forest/woods) that divide the main part of town from the outskirts. In the outskirts, there are mostly cabins that are relatively far apart. Most of the people live here and commute to town or other cities for work. Beyond the outskirts is the Maplestone Forest, which is about 2500 acres. It's famous for body dumps from larger towns. 

It's not a tourist town, but every year they host a Ren Faire, which brings in people from around the town. It's a middle-class town, with the average income ranging from $50,000 to $80,000 per year. It's about fifty-fifty divided between married couples and single people. Class sizes are small at the school. The junior high-high school has 350 students ranging from age 11 to age 18 - 6th through 12th grades. The elementary school has 400 students from K-5th grades. Average ages of adults are late 20s to early 40s in the main town and mid 40s to late 60s in the outskirts. 

The closest cities to it are: Seville, Ridott, Valinda, Wolsey, and Roselle. They get the most traffic from Wolsey and Roselle. 

Since I want to keep this sort of organized, I'll end it here and continue the rest of the topics from this day in a different post. Next are characters and their roles.

After writing all this, I'm feeling nostalgic for a town I've never been. (Though it feels like I have lived there!) 

cayleighstickler: Black cat walking through the snow leaving a trail of paw prints (Default)
 Here's the post for day 2 from my writer blog for reference.

I already have my plot synopsis, so I'm going to skip the paragraph part. 

The point of view is Aggie's. Everything is filtered through her eyes, and I want an up close and personal feel, so I'm going with first person using I and me pronouns. 

This is a really short one since I'm not doing the one paragraph summary, though. Onward! 

cayleighstickler: Black cat walking through the snow leaving a trail of paw prints (Default)
 I forgot to update from the seven day challenge. To recap, I challenged myself to write 100 words per day for 7 days in a row. And I did it! The week after, I wanted to do 200 words a day, but I didn't do any days. [Way to fail, right?] This week, it's supposed to be 300 words a day, but I'm waiting for Camp NaNoWriMo to begin. My Camp goal is 40,000 words for the month, but I think I'm going to take that down a notch. While I really do want to finish this novella during April [and I really, really do], I don't want to pressure myself like that. I'd rather get it done right the first time, even if it'd take me longer to write. 

Now I'm just prepping for Camp. I'm doing this 5 days of prep series on my blog, and the cool thing about it is that I can prep along with readers. I have a general outline and list of characters, but I don't feel like I know anyone yet. They feel like cutouts, especially the minor characters (and the murderer). Since it's a mystery, I really need to flesh out the motives of some other characters to not make it totally obvious who the murderer is. I'll have to give others a reason to want to kill the people. [And I'm thinking I should pare it down from five dead bodies to maybe two. It's a novella, after all.] After I lock down some other suspects and find their motives, I'll have to give them airtight alibis as to eliminate them. Oh, and clues and red herrings. Obviously, the other minor characters are red herrings, but I really need to sit down with my plan and outline it in such a way to know when I'll drop in the clues/red herrings. 

I might be overthinking this, but with this being my first mystery novel[la], I feel that over-planning is far better than under-planning and risk missing vital info - or giving away too much too quickly. 

Anyway, those are my basic thoughts on it and kind of a plan of what I need to get done.

Now it's time to figure out who dies and who lives. I have the original motive of my killer [no spoilers in case someone's actually reading this thing], but I'll need to link it strongly to the other person. Love is always a strong motivator. Maybe they're having an affair? Someone else on the cast stands to have something to lose? Like the significant other? Money's also a great motivator. Maybe someone on the cast paid for theatre school [is that a thing?], and needed repayment sooner than usual but the two people couldn't pay - and "slit."

Of course, it's not really slitting their throat since they die...some way else. [Spoilers and all.]

I think, now, it's time to really get to know these minor characters. Give them more than just names and ages and personality types. Time to dig deep. If I get enough figured out in time, I just might be able to make my 40K word goal without most of it being fluff or ideas running into dead ends.  
cayleighstickler: Black cat walking through the snow leaving a trail of paw prints (Default)
 Okay, so, I really like that word. Sue me. (Please don't.) It's the second-to-last day of February, which, of course means there are only two days left to edit this client's manuscript. To say I'm freaking out is an understatement. 

Not to mention I work my day job (which is kind of an anytime-of-the-day job) on both these days.

As of right now, I have 56 pages left to edit, which isn't too bad. I can knock that out in three or four hours this late at night . (I'm much less productive after midnight, but I have my ways to stay awake.) The scary part is that I still have to go back and address all those things I need to research throughout the manuscript, which is about two-hundred random comments. I'm not even sure how long that'll take. Two days, probably. 

I suppose, then, I'd better make this a short and sweet post. 

Let's see, a recap. 

I finished the final two books in the cozy series, and it ended exactly how I knew it'd end. (No spoilers.) I also wrote reviews for both books. I never did actually write the short story for the crime anthology, and, after seeing the quality of the cover and some of the stories, I'm kind of glad I didn't. You know that phrase "guilty by association?" Well, that's why. I'm spending a lot of time and energy building this series, so I need to ensure its quality, which means I need to ensure the quality of all the other stories in the anthology. I don't like to badmouth other indie authors because, well, the world kind of does that to us already, so I'll just say that there were a lot of corners cut. Besides, if I were to bang out the piece in a day or two, it'd leave little time to edit and no time to send it to beta readers. I'm starting to be okay with not finishing. I do, however, still have a detailed outline of the story, so I'll work on it next month and do it right. Maybe I'll even expand it to a novella-sized story and put it up as a solo project. It did keep wanting to expand past the five-thousand word limit. I'm thinking maybe fifteen-thousand words? 

And my goals now. I want to only focus on these two days before even thinking about March. Basically, my only goal is to finish editing this manuscript and get it back to my boss-lady before 11:59pm on Tuesday. I doubt I'll even read my book until it's finished. 

I'll make sure to come back on or around March 1 to dive into more goals.  
cayleighstickler: Black cat walking through the snow leaving a trail of paw prints (Default)
 Hello, productivity. It's nice to meet your acquaintance. Each year, I always feel a big push to "DO ALL THE THINGS" in January, but it seems like it's my least productive month. What's with that?! I always feel like February should start the year, while still being the second month. I'm not sure how that works, but let's just go with it. In the one week that has been February, I've been as nearly productive as I've been in the four weeks prior to it.

I'm focusing on the positives here, okay?

Here's what I've done and planning to do -

  • I managed to read nine books this year so far. I'm currently entrenched in a murder mystery series, cozy of course, and I have four books left. Three and a half, really.
  • I inadvertently signed up to read one hundred cozies this year in a Goodreads challenge, so I'm scrambling to find books in various subgenres. This opened up my eyes to potential writing projects too!
  • I currently have 13,299 words written this year. I'm aiming to have 60,000 words by the end of the month.
  • My children's adventure story is not as adventurous as I planned. I'm slogging through the first draft while taking notes for future edits.
  • I decided to convince a friend to extend an anthology deadline so I can submit a story for it. Instead of the original outline I planned, I'm writing a short story to work as a supplement to my own murder mystery series.
  • So far, I have nine adult murder mystery series and two children's murder mystery series planned. (Not all to be completed - or started - this year, but they've been planned to various degrees.
  • The first one I'm starting features a creative writing teacher as an amateur sleuth, and she loves all things Shakespeare.  
  • I revised a clients manuscript after flubbing pretty bad on it. (I notated the scene numbers incorrectly. It's good I'm not a math teacher!)
  • I still have a full-length manuscript to copy edit and deliver to the client by the end of the month. I haven't started yet.
But there is time yet to complete everything! :) 


cayleighstickler: Black cat walking through the snow leaving a trail of paw prints (Default)
paw prints in the snow

July 2017



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