In December of 2015, I began the seventh book - CASTLE KILLING, in the Jill Quint, MD Forensic Pathologist series. I typed "The End" this morning, nineteen months later. Granted I also began a new series producing Red Rock Island and Willow Glen Heist, but I did it because my 'pantser' ways were not yielding the written word and I wondered if the first series had come to an end. It hasn't.
Last week I decided I would finish the book at the sixty-thousand word mark as I couldn't think of any exciting story threads to take it beyond that point to the usual eighty thousand word mystery.
Now the manuscript is with my first reader in an unusual form - first draft. I simply don't know whether to discard this story to my dud pile, and move on to the Jill Quint book number eight, set in NOLA.
I tried three writing exercises to see where to take the story next - I picked a random noun and tried using it to create plot. I don't remember what my word was, but it wasn't helpful. I tried jotting down scenes, but the mind was empty. I brainstormed what could happen to the story and characters but couldn't figure out how to tie it in to the story I had been telling. Most bestselling authors say there is no such thing as writer's block, and I agree. My block wasn't over writing in general, rather it was this specific story that refused to tickle my imagination.
I have an entire sheet of notes on where I want to go with my next story in the Jill Quint series. When I was in New Orleans last years, I specifically wandered around collecting ideas for a book to be set there and I'm ready to go.
The Damian Green series on the other hand is stalling out in my mind. Hermione will be starting school as a junior in high school, and Damian and Ariana's business and personal relationship will grow, but I haven't figured out the role of Hermione's parents yet so I can't start on that series.
CASTLE KILLING opens with Nick Brouwer being shoved off the clock tower at Cardiff Castle. No sooner did I kill him than my imagination shut down on the 'why' of his murder. There's a connection to WWII, but I had to link it back to Wales and Scotland which was no easy story telling feat as the Nazi's never occupied the United Kingdom. This was of many storyline struggles with the story.
My next blog post in a week or two will announce which book is next - CASTLE KILLING or an as yet unnamed mystery story set in NOLA!