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Row80 Check-In: Plotting murder and becoming a #WLCAuthor

Yes, I’m talking about two different things. First, plotting murder. It’s a lot more complicated than I thought it would be. INTO THE DARK’s bad guy is a stalker, and the murder he commits was fairly straightforward. But the antagonist in THE PROPHET is all sorts of angry, and there are a total a four murders (one part of the back story) to plan. He’s a serial killer, but not with the usual motivations, so he’s not a classic repeater. Which means every murder is a bit different, and I’ve had a really hard time keeping track.

Enter the lovely diagram above. I probably could have found a better quality copy, but this one had the anatomy I was looking for. My novel kit for THE PROPHET now includes four of these babies, with the details of the murder in red pencil.

How creepy am I? Honestly, I don’t care. While Scrivener is great, I still need to visualize things, and I take a lot of handwritten notes. So these sheets will work great when I need to reference the murders.

As for my Row80 check-in, I’ve only got about 700 words written this week, but I have been revising the plot quite a bit. The basic structure is still there, but thanks to my critique parter, I was able to pinpoint some character motivation issues and fix them before the book progressed. The main issue was my bad guy, and I had to spend a lot of time revising his back story. It’s amazing how key it is to our novels and how little page time it actually receives. I think I’m on track now, and I plan on shoring up Act 1 before writing any further. I think this will writing the rest of the book a lot easier.

I’m traveling this weekend, so my short-term goals are limited:

*Finish Scene Changes in Act 1.
*Finish Tomorrow’s Thriller Thursday Post.
*Don’t eat my weight while I’m out of town.

Now, onto #WLAuthor.

If you’ve not heard of the World Literary Café helmed by bestselling author Melissa Foster, go check it out. Previously the WoMen’s Literary Café, the community is a great place to bridge the gap between readers and authors. Melissa has extensive experience in publishing and marketing, and her goal is to help authors grow and promote by uniting them with readers. I’m just learning the ropes, but it seems to be structure for authors in all stages, and Melissa is eager to help everyone navigate social media to get their best results. World Literary Café also has a Twitter hashtag: #WLCAuthor. Stop by and say hello.

How’s your Row80 week going? Are you creepy like me and diagram your book’s murders (if they have one)?

20 comments on… “Row80 Check-In: Plotting murder and becoming a #WLCAuthor”

  1. Love the diagram and that you plot your murders. I don’t do that, but do conduct research as needed as I’m writing them.And four murders in The Prophet – yikes! What a fun challenge to do them all in different ways too! I have not delved into the world of Scrivner – so wondering what it’s all about…and if I would be acclimated to using it. What I’d doing works for me now, but wonder if this program would boost that. 700 words not too shabby when you think about the research! My teacher and best selling author, Jonathan Maberry, counts 1 hour of research as 1 page of writing (250-300 words) so think of it as “writing work”! And I like creepy!

    • It had to be done, because they’re all very specific, and I just couldn’t keep things straight in my head. Scrivener is great for organizing your plot and the book as a whole. You can break it down into scenes and everything. It’s really affordable, too – $45.

      Oh, does he really? Then I got a ton done, lol. Thanks!

  2. Fantastic week Stacy. And I love the creepy diagram. Girl, you rock and love that you have visuals etc to help you keep it all straight and together. Creepy and super smart! LOL!
    My week – slow. My update will be out later but it’s been a slow week so far. 🙂
    Have a FAB rest of the week and weekend! 🙂

    • LOL, thanks. I felt like a tool, and my husband just shook his head, but I couldn’t figure out any better way. I had notes all over.

      Looking forward to your update, and don’t worry about the slow weeks. We all have them:)

  3. I love murder mysteries. I need to check out your work! *adds to TBR pile*

    I’m a member of WLC, but I haven’t really done much with it yet. I’ve been thinking about paying for a read and review week. Have you done that?

    Btw, it’s ok to be creepy. LOL

    • Thanks. INTO THE DARK isn’t out yet, but I hope to have an announcement soon. No, I haven’t done anything. I’m not an official author, yet. I’m just getting the hang of the place, but I think it would be a really good resource.


  4. I think I’m a pretty visual person so creating diagrams and stuff helps me. Maybe I’ll give Scrivener a go for my next WIP…I’m just scared that I’ll loose my work with the trial version. I so need to invest in some nice paper and writing utensils to get visualizations going for the next WIP. Sounds like you put the anatomy models to good use.

    • Scrivener is great for the organizationally challenged, lol. It’s an awesome way to keep track of all your scenes, plot lines, etc. But I have to have a notebook handy, because sometimes it’s the only way I can flesh things out.


  5. I have never written a murder but I find the diagram (and the concept!) fascinating. I am such a combo words on paper, words on the keyboard sort of writer (as I now know you are…) visuals always help. In my creative non-fiction and poetry, oftentimes it is an image alone that inspires my words. Congrats on continuing to forge ahead! Inspiring!!

    • I can’t imagine writing non-fiction or poetry. Those are just foreign to me, much as I enjoy reading them. Kudos to you. And thank you. The plot of this new book is turning out to be a lot more complicated than I thought, but I’m having fun with it:)

  6. I write YA fantasy/humor and have never had a chance to plot/diagram a murder, but you just gave me the idea that it might be a fun little exercise for stress relieving 😉 Great post, thanks for sharing your process!

  7. “The main issue was my bad guy, and I had to spend a lot of time revising his back story. It’s amazing how key it is to our novels and how little page time it actually receives.”
    Isn’t it though? But it’s so important!

    Four murders? You’re a busy little mayhem maker 🙂

    • It is! And the hardest thing – for me – is coming up with such a cool back story and then not putting all of in the book. LOL, I know. But they had to go.


  8. I love when writers share their quirky methods that work for them. The creepy diagram is perfect. Enjoy the trip! Best wishes on your goals.

  9. If my books contained murders, I would totally take a page from your book and diagram them! You’re right some people would find that creepy, but probably not other writers. lol

    Sounds like you’re making amazing progress!

    I went to WLC once, and got lost really fast in all that’s available there. I should probably revisit the idea. 🙂

    • That’s true – other writers do get the odd lengths we have to go to sometimes. I’d definitely give WLC another look. I’m still learning, but I think it will be a great place for networking. Thanks!

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