Are We There Yet?

This weeks seems like it’s been going on forever. I can’t wait to get back to my regular schedule next week. And in a completely unrelated note: why do people buy vowels on Wheel of Fortune? I’ve never understood this strategy. I bet these are the same people who buy stuff they don’t need just because it’s on sale.

I still haven’t written any prose this new year, but the other day I did do some freewriting and came up with two big answers to two big questions of my plot. One of them I really like and should be good to go, the other will take a bit more development. I really like this process for getting a handle on my story. I’ll read through what I’ve got and then generate a list of major questions, most of which I have no answer for and assume I’ll never be able to figure out. But then I stare at the page for a while, and then start writing about the questions using a chain of thought freewriting style. Without fail, I find my answers. They may not always be the right answers and more often than not it takes a couple tries to get one I like, but that’s how it happens.

On a broader scale though, I’ve been evaluating what seems to be the biggest problems with my plotting and that comes down to one thing: motives. I know that seems simple coming from a crime writer, but I have a hard time with motives. I’m a pretty easy going guy so I can’t imagine too many scenerios in which I’d resort to the sorts of acts my characters resort to. That’s why the one phrase I kept repeating over and over again while I was freewriting was “what does this person care about the most.”

A while back on one of the discussion boards, Laura Lippman was talking about one of the reasons she liked Irish crime fiction so much. She said Irish society still has a sense of shame. In America even the most vile deeds can make someone a celebrity so what do people have to kill about?

So how do you find your motives? And what process do you have for getting to the core of your story?