Tag Archives: murder mystery

Mean Bone First Draft

Yesterday I committed to getting to the end of my first draft of the murder book I’ve been writing: The Mean Bone In Her Body. I knew what I wanted revealed, and I understood the consequences for the characters. As a way of forcing it, I labeled the section THE END, and then spent eleven hours composing something around 2000 words. That’s not even 200 words an hour.

But I did it. I got to the end. The end is very talky and needs a lot more coloratura and slapping around (you know, drama), but that’s the fun part. I’m at roughly 85k words, and I expect that to creep upward during the revision.

So what’s it about? Here’s my stab at jacket copy (with help from Erin F.!)


Elizabeth Murgatroyd, a professor in New Royal University’s Crime Writing Program, is skeptical about her most successful student…and not just because Jeaneane Lewis is unstable. Shortly after beginning her studies, Lewis discovers a murdered military widow and her two small children in a backyard garden pond. When she writes about the crime, Jeaneane exposes the college town’s worst kept secret: New Royal, Ohio is as dependent on the Corrections industry as it is on Higher Education. And now, it looks like the University has made a grave mistake in combining the two.

A one night stand with the killer marks the beginning of Murgatroyd’s uncovering the truth…not only what really happened in that grim backyard, but inside Jeaneane’s broken mind.

So, if this book flies with my publisher, I’m looking forward to trying to create a series set in New Royal. The idea being that the Crime Writing Program attracts “non-traditional” students.

Tagged ,

Write What I Fear? Yeah, but . . .

Another one of those quotes rolled by in my feed–something about writing what you fear, and I think this time it was from Nadine Gordimer. I have always ignored that advice. I’m adventurous, but I write escapist fiction on purpose, and if I write something that goes beyond the visceral or seems original and deep, that’s an accident. My experimentalism is about pretty phrasing, too–I’m a confectional writer–rarely driven by meaning. If it comes to meaning or creates a unique effect, that’s swell.

Except. Here I am about to move into the final acts of a manuscript draft that turns out to be about a subject I have feared and avoided all my life. That subject is mental illness, and my goal of addressing it with meaning in within the context of a murder mystery may not be met, but at the end of the first draft process I will have “gone there”–I will have written about what I fear.

But here’s the twist–the only reason I have been able to do this with any confidence/relative comfort is because I have a safety net that’s never been there before–a publisher who is committed to me and invested in my work. That’s no guarantee that this book will see the light of your e-reader, but it’s just enough support for me.

Tagged , ,