Saturday, March 8, 2014

Left Coast Crime and New Endeavor

So I'm going to be on a panel for Left Coast Crime. It's on Thursday morning at 10:45 a.m. on self-publishing--one of several I've noted--which I think is a commentary on what is happening in publishing today, but I'm digressing. I will be with fellow writers, Charles Rosenberg, our mod, Barbara M. Hodges, Gigi Pandian, and Cindy Sample. I haven't been to a mystery writing con in a long time, and Left Coast was always my favorite. It's low key and always beautifully run, plus daughter and her boyfriend and son are coming in for the long weekend. Am so looking forward to it ALL. Looks like son will be spending his junior and senior years of college on the east coast, so I will have TWO children on the opposite end of the country. I need to make the most of the opportunities I have to see them. And spending a long weekend in Monterey with my kids and a bunch of writers and readers sounds pretty damn good.

I've started writing a new mystery. I've decided to write it under a pseud as I don't think that I will have any "cred" with this story if the readers knew I was a fifty-seven-year-old woman. Such is the nichefication of audience. I know nichefication isn't a word, but it seems to work here. Isn't that what language is? A series of sounds that makes sense.

As is typical for me, I've rewritten the beginning a minimum of fifteen times. I don't know why the beginning has to be so important but it does. Beginning a book is like the opening of a map for me. I need to find out where I am and who I'm with so that I can determine how to get there, as in "the end." In this case, I've switched back and forth on points of view four times, initially starting it in first person then switching to third, then adding yet another POV in third, and then switching back to first and third. And. Finally. I've settled on third and third POV. I've never switched POVs before in a novel. It's exciting to try something new, playing with voice and pacing, and making them sound different as I segue from chapter to chapter.

But the point I want to make is that I was so wedded to first person POV for one character that I fought like hell not to give it up. I hear this character in first person. But I've conceded that it works better in third, even as I grumble while writing it. As much as I would like to think that because it works for me it should work for you, writing isn't like that. It's a partnership between the writer and the reader. No fewer than eight people have told me that it's a better story in third person. I have to concede this point, even though it's a real struggle to keep that third person POV front and center. Interestingly, although I switch back and forth between POVs, I don't have a problem with the other POV character. His POV works for me in third. The other character? Not so much.

But so be it. The bigger object here is to write a good book. That will appeal to all, not just appeal to me. Isn't that what this is all about, bridging that gap between the writer and reader, constructing a little mental bridge with handrails and possibly snacks and sometimes a cookies or two. Do I hear a call for chocolate, too? Come, take a walk with me. Over the bridge we go!