Thursday, June 18, 2020

On the Hunt for the Right Words

Writing during a pandemic has been difficult for me. I get these cheery emails with writing prompts and seldom open them. Why? Because I don’t want to be uplifted, sidetracked—no, more distractions are not welcome at this point. I have a self-imposed deadline coming up. I must have an ending for my novel. The going has been tough enough as it is. So, sorry guys, I know you all mean well.

I do have something for my ending blocked out. It’s a fine workable ending with the potential to neatly tie up all the loose ends from plot and subplots. But I’m sorry to say my characters aren’t talking to me yet, not giving me the dialog I need.

Plus, everything is taking too much time. For instance, it took two weeks of subconscious stewing over the name of a new festival to come up with an answer that makes sense, that works on more than one level. I spent much of that time walking and thinking and waiting for inspiration. Of course, I’ll have to patch up the text when I do the next full edit, but I needed something solid to begin with.

This second Bishop Hill mystery contains quite a few stories: legends, second-hand accounts, and outright lies. I needed to find a way to draw them all together and I’m hoping the name of the festival that I came up with will do the trick.

The business with using Bishop Hill stories isn’t new. I had some in the first book. I’ve expanded on the theme for the second. My stories could never hold a candle to those of The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix Harrow. (I listened to the audio book.) I must rely on my own interpretations of life in a small town—with a few fictionalized nudges of course. One must remember that conflict makes things interesting. One person thinking to themselves is fine; drag in the differing POV of another person and the dramatic happens. That’s why I’m going to call my gathering of historians, artists, and vendors the Bishop Hill Treasure Hunter’s Invitational … for now at least.

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