No, this is not a new project. It is the same story I have been working on. The lighter, cozier Death Takes a Spa Day has taken a side trip through a dark alley. A few weeks ago, my muse informed me that a fraternity played a part in the criminal element of the story.
Who knew? Note to self – my fictional town needs a college.
During my trip to San Diego, while enjoying a beautiful rain storm and watching the street scene below, the whole fraternity/criminal element plot line crystallized for me, thereby becoming a central theme in the story.
Again, who knew? Hence, a new title and visual. Also, a couple of major changes in character relationships, which make a lot more sense to me now.
Meanwhile, in between the three books I savored on the trip, I began, and did not finish, three other books. I won’t trash other authors’ work publicly, so no identifying info is provided, other than those lessons to self about what NOT TO DO:
Book 1 – Protagonist, minding her own business, finds a body, and promptly becomes the prime suspect for ABSOLUTELY NO GOOD REASON. I was irritated by the ridiculous, unbelievable actions of the police officers on the scene. There was ABSOLUTELY NO GOOD REASON to continue reading beyond the end of the first chapter.
Book 2 – “she had only hours to live” repeated three times in the first few pages, plus an info dump in a completely unbelievable “conversation” between two characters. After the third “she had only hours to live” I decided that I, too, only had hours to live, and would not waste any more of them on this book.
Book 3 – “Blah blah blah” said Jane. “Blah blah blah, certain food ingredient,” said Sue. “Blah blah blah” said Jane, while stirring her coffee. “Blah blah blah,” exclaimed Sue. “Blah blah blah” said Jane, furrowing her brow. “Blah blah blah,” insisted Sue. “Blah blah blah, food with certain ingredient,” said Jane. “Blah blah blah,” said Sue. More Jane and Sue “said”ing about a certain food ingredient. I furrowed my brow while swirling my wine and exclaimed, “I GET IT. A CERTAIN FOOD INGREDIENT IS GOING TO KILL SOMEONE!” Undoubtedly, the victim has only a few hours to live and someone with no connection to the victim will be forthwith accused and detained.
Ok, rant mode off. Those few minutes of reading were not without value. I made many, many notes to self, mostly of the “don’t do this” variety. This is apparently easier said (bwahaha) than done.
I hit the jackpot with the next choice on the Kindle. The Bastard Out of Carolina, by Dorothy Allison, is absolutely riveting. There are pages of dialogue where characters talk without “said”ing; delicious hints of things to come without bashing you over the obvious head; characters that come alive in their humanity. The story, the prose, the crafting, propels me smack into the setting and the characters’ lives. I eagerly turn the pages as the story unfolds.
And a few million words from now, this is what I strive for in my own writing.