Monday, September 1, 2008

Sweet and Sour: Do You Love or Hate Your Work in Progress?

First a disclosure: a month ago, my WIP actually had a different protagonist.  I'm revamping what I'd already written to fit my series protagonist.  So I was already a wee bit irked with my Work in Progress.

But it started to gel.  The words flowed from the Land of Milk and Honey, the old protagonist willingly and cheerfully stepped aside to let my new one take over the job. I felt really, really positive about the direction of the book.

Until...I hit a spot. The bad spot didn't hold me up, but it changed my attitude.  I grimly forged through, gritting my teeth as I hacked my way through the chapter.  I suffered.  I hated my book! 

I've come to terms this week with my WIP by picking up at a different part of the story.  Now things are on the upswing again.  While I was hating my book's guts though, I came across this funny blog entry by author Libba Bray.  You can read it here:   Because writing a book really is a love story. 

Myteries: I've read some really wonderful books lately. Where Memories Lie by Deborah Crombie is one of them. Crombie's police procedural series, featuring Gemma James and Duncan Kincaid is a winner.  Her latest book centers on the acquisition of an Art Deco brooch that had been stolen during World War II. The investigation triggers a series of murders and a surprising conclusion to the book.  I've found that this series is easy to jump into at any point--this isn't one you have to read in order.  Once you've read a Deborah Crombie book and loved it, you get a nice surprise--she's written 12 wonderful books for your reading enjoyment.

Two other recommendations for mysteries: The House at Riverton (Kate Morton) and The Secret History (Donna Tartt).  These aren't traditional mysteries, but were great reads.  Riverton is a recent release and History has been out fifteen years or so.  They're both long books (Riverton flew for me and History at over 500 pages did drag in a couple of spots) with intriguing premises and fascinating tidbits to keep the readers absorbed. Both books were perfect matches for me: I love period pieces with an "Upstairs, Downstairs" feel (Riverton) and books about snobby, overeducated college students (History). When the authors graciously added a dollop of murder to these books, I was hooked.

Websites: I have a lot of fun with industry blogs. Here's another one that caught my interest:  For some reason, it's great entertainment for me to read through these messy queries.  Sometimes I edit other people's queries in my head.  Obviously, I need to get a life...   The other website I've been enjoying is this one:  This blog comments on the mystery publishing world (whenever I find something that's specific to the mystery genre on the web, it's a red letter day.) 

What's going on the next couple of weeks?  I'm working on the third mystery and will be making revisions on the second book, too.  I really want to make time to read Lake of Dead Languages, but I might be out of luck for that and just renew it at the library.  I'll try to sign all the back to school forms for my children and remember if it's A day (send middle schooler with clean gym clothes) or B day (send middle schooler with large band instrument.)

Elizabeth Spann Craig

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