Writing Isn't Always a Straight Path

Writing a book doesn’t always look like a straight line or a race to the finish. Sometimes it’s like hiking up a steep mountain—a slow, steady pace with the hopes you’ll eventually make it to the peak.

mountain climber

That’s the way my latest work is going. The Secret Art of Homicide is the 17th book in the 509 Crime Stories. Just an FYI, the 12th book releases in November, so this one won’t see the light of day until early 2025.

Anyway, I started the project on August 1st. I usually write my first drafts in Scrivener, a fantastic word processor that many authors use. My initial pace felt strong. I easily kicked out over 1,000 words a day (my goal). The only bump in the progress occurred when I attended Bouchercon. My production slipped because of early morning commitments.

After a few days at home, I felt stuck. It was my doing, though. I added twists and revelations in the later chapters, yet I hadn’t properly set them up at the beginning. My characters weren’t speaking to me like they had earlier because I didn’t give them the clues needed to solve the mystery.

I needed to go back to the beginning and start again. To get a fresher perspective, I exported my work out of Scrivener and into Word. Was it necessary? Probably not, but I wanted to shake everything up. I returned to the beginning of the story and started editing/rewriting. It’s been about 10 days now and I’m once again excited and confident about the work.

My pace is much slower now, but I’m still making progress. One day, I only added 104 words because I deleted an entire scene and rewrote it.

I haven’t made it all the way through the initial stuff I wrote. Not even halfway. However, I know where the story is heading, and the characters are speaking to me again. They are eager to solve the mystery and I want to help them achieve that goal.

Check out the spreadsheet below to see how the writing flowed.

writing spreadsheet 1
writing spreadsheet 2
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