Diary of a Novel: 2 April 2019
Marcie Craig is the main protagonist and amateur sleuth in my first novel Night Crawler. Whereas that novel was set in a pub where she works as a rock DJ, this story is set in a nightclub, where she works for 2 nights a week.
The title, The Beast Within, is a song by a band some of my old Birmingham friends used to be in, The Handsome Beasts. The band is still going, but I don’t think I know any of the line-up these days. I do still know the drummer from their Beast Within days, though, and I have his support.
The Marcie Craig stories are generally named after albums or songs by Birmingham rock bands.
I was in two minds which book to use as my write-along on this one. I had intended on using Save the Cat Writes a Novel, but it didn’t fit – or the story doesn’t fit the formula*. I did try, several times to get going with it, but I kept on getting stuck at what they call the B-Story.
And so I cast Save the Cat aside** and tried another short series of books instead, Writing the Killer Mystery by Ron D Voigts. I like to have a write-along as it keeps me structured, and this series starts with Great Beginnings before moving on to Captivating Characters, Plotting the Murder, and Places, Clues and Guilt.
There’s a fifth book in the series too, Getting it Right, Getting Paid, but that one is for much further down the line.
I started a new touchy-feely notebook, this one perfect-bound rather than spiral bound, and yesterday’s work, all notes so far, was written in black ink. I started a new page in the book for each aspect.
I am starting this from scratch, and my starting point was the basic idea, which is one that’s been percolating for a long time. Then I did some sleuth work, which was basically refreshing my memory about Marcie Craig. I listed some other characters, so far none of whom feature in Night Crawler, and I worked on the setting.
The pages I left blank were: crime; perpetrator; victim; suspects. (The last 2 are my own additions.)
And yesterday I wrote 464 words of notes.
This morning I wrote in blue ink, and I added notes for 3 of those pages: crime, perp and victim. I also added a couple of characters who feature in Night Crawler and who own the nightclub where Marcie works, and I added some to the setting, having refreshed my memory from when it was mentioned in the first story.
And then I started to trawl the internet for pictures of dresses. I wanted a specific style of dress for the victim and her 2 friends, all of whom are exotic dancers on the continent home on holiday for a few days. (No spoilers, the victim appears very early on, and will be mentioned on the book blurb as well.) I found them a dress each and saved the images to the novel folder on my desktop computer.
Finally today, I created my new word meter (from Writertopia) for the sidebar, so keep an eye on this for updates. In the beginning it will include the notes, but soon, I hope, it will be the first draft word-count.
I won’t tally up my word-count yet because I’ll dip into the book and work on pages throughout the day. I’ll also be wandering around in a bit of a daze as part of my mind will be on the novel in progress.
For the rest of the day I’ll be working on the new client edit that came in yesterday. But I’ll also be in a rock club in Birmingham, inside my head.
* Many argue that it isn’t a formula, but I beg to differ. Most stories are written against a loose formula if not a rigid one.
** I still love this book and will still use it with something else in the future.