Sunday, January 30, 2011

What's Next for Kiki Lowenstein

I've been thinking ahead about Kiki and her life. I told my editor I'd planned out the next two books, and she seemed a little surprised.

Now that the galleys for Make, Take, Murder are off my desk and in the capable hands of the final proofreading team, I'm back to working on Book #5--Ink, Red, Dead. For me that means cranking out 2,000 words a day. For some that might seem like a lot. For others, too little. But for me, that's about right. I have a day-by-day outline that I'm working from, so that's my roadmap.

Along the way, I work out the glitches that inevitably come. The "how do I get so-and-so in position to do such-and-such" sort of stuff. The set up, the payoff, and the clues.

Years ago, a famous author was visiting at the St. Louis Public Library. I went to hear said author, since I am a fan of that person's work. During the question and answer portion, I held up my hand. "How do you work in your clues? As you go or do you go back and revise to put them in?"

Famous author stared at me as if I were a very big palmetto bug. (Cockroach for the non-Floridians!) "Only amateurs worry about clues," said Famous Author.

What a put down! I wanted to slink under the chair and disappear.

I personally try to work the clues in along the way. I think it makes the book read more smoothly. Of course, I will still need to go back and revise. I start each day by revising the work from the day before. That helps me keep the voice and the rhythm going.

Today while I walked the beach--that's my path to the beach in the photo above--I realized some minor point that I have to fix in the big climax. Minor? Hmm. I've come to think that anything I can do to produce a better book isn't minor. It's my job.

By the way, I bet most of my author friends have an activity that helps them think through problems. Maybe my blog sisters will share what techniques work for them....


Linda O. Johnston said...

Okay, I admit it, Joanna. My subconscious mind really gets going each night when I'm in the bathtub, and that's when I plot best!

Betty Hechtman said...

The bathtub works for me, too.

The photo is lovely. How nice to be so close to the beach.

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

It is lovely, Betty. I write with the door open so I can hear the surf.

So both of you like the bathtub? I remember hearing that when Alex Haley wrote Roots he would take a shower whenever he got stuck. I think water is a powerful assist to creativity!

Terri Thayer said...

Long walks do it for me. Especially since voice recorders have become so small and portable.

Clues are for amateurs, huh? I'm a rank amateur then.