Well, folks I'm about 2/3 finished with the main plot on my new novel, GHOSTS, set in SC in the 80s. I am thinking about posting weekly as I write, asking for pointers, and possibilities, as the plot gets thicker, so to speak. I have about 15,000 words done, and am setting up my project board with the timeline etc tonight after the Elaine Viets booksigning at Murder on the Beach bookstore in Delray Beach, FL at 7 pm.

The basic plot is a young girl was convicted of killing her young toddler daughter 11 years before this, but believes she is innocent. She comes back home to fight for the truth, aided by her husband and a childhood friend who happens to be the local Sheriff. Add in mysterious doings with the daughter in question, a child-napping ring, a cousin with murderous secrets to hide, and a new freelance career as a photographer, and things start happening pretty quickly.

I'm working on the sideplots/red herrings now in a handwritten notebook (thanks, Jon King!), and will set up the timeline using post it notes and various colored markers. I'm also in the process of working on biographies for all the characters, even the side ones, so that they will be real to me. If they are real to me, they will be real on the page.

Here's my question to kick start the discussion: What do you do when things bog down in the middle of the book, or you're bored with it...ideas, anyone?

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Comment by Camille LaGuire on May 12, 2010 at 2:00am
My characters are always doing things I don't expect. I've learned to expect that....

No, seriously. I do try to cultivate the characters on a gut level, and let the subconscious take over.
Comment by Rebecca B. Swets on May 12, 2010 at 1:32am
Next question: When you've got it going good, and everything is going well, do you ever have a character who suddenly does something you don't expect?
Comment by Camille LaGuire on May 11, 2010 at 10:49am
I do two things. The first is that before I get bogged down, I start thinking of cool things that could happen. Whether it's killing off a character as Jack recommended, or otherwise finding a body (I tend to write cozies or the cozier end of suspense), or bring in a man with a gun, or trap my character in a sinking boat, or distract the characters with a femme fatale or homme fatal.... Silly stuff if it's a comedy (which, frankly, it usually is.)

The other thing is do is just skip the boring stuff. If you're stuck, it may be a sign that the stuff you want to write next is unnecessary. The other thing is that if you know where you are going, it's easier to draw a path to it.

Comment by Jack Getze on May 11, 2010 at 6:20am
I kill off an important character, then have a drink.
Comment by Jon Loomis on May 11, 2010 at 4:17am
I usually have a drink. Then I sit down again the next day and keep trying to push forward. There's always a "hump" for me around 150 pages or so--you just have to work through it. What's the next scene you have to write? And the next? One scene at a time, at that point. A good timeline seems like it would help, especially if the timing of events is critical to the plot making sense. I've never done bios--my characters always seem completely real to me as I'm writing them. It's like I'm right there in the room with them, invisibly writing down what they say and do. It's the best thing about writing fiction, for me.

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