Over the weekend, I’ve spent whatever free time I have between the boyfriend (the Eizwan) and spring cleaning (even though it’s summer, it’s odd to call it summer cleaning. Odder still when you live in the tropics because there’s no spring or summer. It’s just rain or…no rain), I’ve been putting up the first part of my plot on the wall.
This isn’t a usual habit of mine. This came about when I realized, writing crime and mysteries require a little bit more organization compared to writing well, anything where I can just draw out what happens on my rabbit notebook (another habit I’ve picked up. I have a Mequelrius notebook that frequently have silly pictures in front. Current one is a rabbit eating a snake, previous one was a monkey playing guitar) and then sit down on my pc writing.
This time round, I need to figure out each character and their movements and where on earth do different hints get dropped. I’ve always found pacing very important in everything I write and I do but I think that’s the result of being an internet and movie generation. My music teacher once said that I live life way too fast, way too vicariously. I want to be there, and I want to be there NOW! One of my ex-colleagues blamed me for being part of the Internet generation, for not understanding what it means to queue at the bank and wait three days for something to be activated. I said huffily then, “Of course I’ve queued at the bank. It was to re-activate my internet banking.”
You get the idea.
Now mysteries, I need to have pacing and I need to slow down my writing and speed it up at the right places. Whilst some thrillers and crime novels tend to have a linear progression, I tend to want a combination of both, a linear progression of a modern detective story but with the complexity of a classic detective series. The danger of a classic detective series is that sometimes, the murder is just so implausible: “Aha! The murder happened when he took the pipe, stuffed it down X’s throat and replaced it with Y’s pipe.” I think I read somewhere most murders are not premeditated and rarely as sophisticated as the ones Poirot solves.
Which brings in realism. Being realistic is awfully hard. Research is even harder. I have a tendency to over-research and not JUST BLOODY WRITE (a sore point that I was reminded off whilst watching Get Smart yesterday. Most of the jokes were recycled from a bajillion movies and yet I laughed my head off. I bet you the writer didn’t take years to come up with THAT) and sometimes, the danger is that once you’ve over-researched and poured blood, sweat and tears at the photocopy machine at the National Library in KL (since despite being a LIBRARY, you can’t actually borrow anything), you want to pour everything that you’ve researched in into what you write. IF THAT INCLUDES TELLING YOU HOW THE POLICE FORCE IS ORGANIZED AND THE PAPERWORK THAT GOES INTO AN AUTOPSY, SO BE IT.
Yes, I do know which forms you have to fill up if you want to have an autopsy on someone. Hey, in fact, I have the forms in my room!
Hmm…an exciting thought suddenly occured to me. If I need to figure out how a gun is shot, should I go to a shooting range? I suppose sometimes writing is an excuse for me to do new and interesting things. It’s not like I’m going to figure out how to kill someone and actually do it, to see if it works.
Shudders. Surprisingly, despite wanting and loving murder mysteries, I find planning the killing the hardest part. I suggested to David that it might be because I’m too nice. I can’t and won’t go around killing people. It feels awful. David said it was nonsense and proceeded to suggest multitudes of ways to kill people.
Anyway, I’m off to the wall in my bedroom. The plot is nowhere near completion and I need to complete my murder wall before getting some other work done. And it takes forever to paste ribbons on the wall. So anyone would like to be kind and donate that lovely glass thingie that’s on House MD, feel free to do so. It’ll be much appreciated.