Sunday, October 21, 2012
Usually I manage to pace the story in a way that reveals things such that she solves the mystery at a satisfactory time -- ideally around the same time Sammy does. If something tips her off too early, she can point to a sentence, an action, or even one word that can be changed. I can't stress how important her first read is.
My goal with Sammy Keyes and the Killer Cruise is to have it be an homage to the mystery genre because it's the last true mystery in the series written in a genre that has provided me with reading enjoyment since I was a young girl. So I set out to make this a classic mystery, with heroes and villains trapped on a cruise ship, sleuthing and snooping and, of course, Sammy sassing!
But it's also the book where Sammy (and we) get to know her dad.
Which is A BIG DEAL.
And as much as I like sleuthing and snooping and Sammy sassing, I loved the progression of the relationship with her father. It became the aspect of the book that shined through everything else for me.
Nancy loved this subplot too, but when she told me she'd figured out the mystery early on, I knew I was in for a big re-write. After all, if you set out to write a fabulous mystery but your editor's figured it out by page 100, you've definitely fallen short of your goal.
In early September she sent me a letter.
I read it and mulled.
In mid September we spoke on the phone for an hour about plot changes.
I mulled and then got to work.
And that's where I've been--buried in a rewrite. And as difficult as restructuring the story is, it started to become fun when I let go of the old and let Sammy be Sammy. In the original manuscript, there was a lot of Sammy talking to the villains. Now she's up to her eyeballs in spontaneous (read: dangerous) reactions, and rash (don't try this at home...or on a cruise ship!) actions.
She may be turning 14, but (as Marissa points out) the shadow of 13 is definitely following her!
Man, I'm going to miss that girl.
A little page-count update: I'd said in an earlier post that I was aiming for a slightly shorter overall length. Maybe 250? Some of you were, NO! but I saw it as an (extended) bell curve, where the series started under 200 pages and would taper to The End the same way.
In my mind it made for nice aesthetic symmetry.
Well, (although I'm sure things will change slightly) as of tonight we're weighing in at 302.
(Can I hear a chorus of YES! please? There is a huge difference in work between 250 and 300 pages.)
So much for aesthetic symmetry.
I hope you're also happy to learn that since we'll have some extra (blank) pages at the back of Sin City, it looks like the first chapter of Killer Cruise will be included when SC is printed up. (It was either that or include ads for my other books...I'm thinking you'd prefer the first chapter of KC, am I right?)
Finally, I hope you enjoy the cover art for Killer Cruise. (That will probably be tweaked, too, as you know, but I thought you'd like a sneak peek.)
Looking forward to your comments (and YESes) :)
Thanks for stopping in. See you next week!