3,011 words. Yes. I'm awesome.
Greetings Mystery Mavens!
After a day of stepping away, I returned with a renewed perspective and energy. The result? An impressive 3,000 words, surpassing my previous best of 2,500. Rest is more than just a physical need; it’s essential for creative rejuvenation. This time away allowed me to approach my story with a fresh viewpoint and renewed enthusiasm.
Channeling Iconic Detectives: A Nod to Vera
Writing can be more enjoyable when the process itself is fun. Today, it was exactly that. Sister Agatha was at her best—as she always is when interrogating a suspect. I love it when she drills down on the guilty-- or the not guilty. In these moments, I find myself channeling Vera. That is, if Vera was an Anglican nun, dressed in a blue habit, and whose best friend was a vicar. Today's writing flowed effortlessly, partly because I was well-rested from yesterday and partly because the dialogue was genuinely enjoyable to write.
When Writing Flows
My productivity as a writer seems to be influenced by a mix of personal mood, fatigue level, and the nature of what I’m writing. When I’m having fun with my writing, the words almost seem to write themselves. OK. That’s an overstatement. I’ve never been one of those the-words-wrote-themselves kind of person. But I have noticed that when I don’t love what I’m writing, if I’m merely trudging through it, then perhaps it’s better to pause and wait until I find something more engaging. After all, if I find it tedious, it’s likely the reader will too.
Tension, Tension, Tension
In mystery writing, it’s crucial that each scene or chapter escalates the tension. While not every scene requires this — there should be breaks and sequels — the general trajectory needs to see rising stakes and tension to maintain momentum. Think about the most gripping mystery you’ve ever read, where you couldn't turn the pages quickly enough. That’s not achieved by the author taking extensive breaks for the protagonist to ponder the meaning of life. It’s because events kept unfolding, presenting challenges, setbacks, and small victories and big failures to the protagonist.
The takeaway? If I'm not typing at breakneck speed, it means readers aren't flipping pages quickly either. So, if my writing is more stroll than sprint, it's time to hit pause and figure out the hold-up.
Happy Reading, Joyful Writing,
Sister Agatha is not kidding around.