Back in the swing of things

I took a couple days away from the blog, as my personal life kept interfering with my work and I had nothing much to offer. As the holidays approach, not only are we all scrambling to get holiday things done, but we are also trying to get regular work out of the way beforehand. I spent three days in a row on errands large and small, which meant the majority of each day was spent in a car. While this gives me opportunity to think, it is not really very good for getting work done.

But I’m back and I come bearing gifts. My next project, codenamed A-PH or Portable Homeland, is shaping up nicely. I spent all those car rides tinkering with ideas. Today, I got to put them all down and get a sense of what I had to work with. I am running through the How to Think Sideways lessons from the beginning again, so the first thing up is The Sentence (the course was worth it just for this brilliant tool, which has radically improved my idea generation and development):

When two members of her tribe are murdered, an impoverished refugee enlists her lover, a P.I. with multiple, hostile alters, to find the traitor who murdered them for control of a psychically maintained homeland.

I seem to like two-protagonist stories, partly because I like to write romance, but also because I love teamwork stories, in which a small group is pitted against terrible odds. I’ve hidden my setting in the words homeland, tribe, refugee, and P.I.–two settings, actually: the homeland, a largely rural, sprawling territory, and the external world, a gritty, crime-filled city befitting a jaded detective. My twist lies in the unexpected motivation for the traditional murder.

The story idea actually started with the two protagonists. Both the portable homeland and the multiple personality were ideas that I had wanted to do something with for a long time, but which only solidified when I threw them together. The whole story seemed to spring into being as soon as I envisioned the opening scene, which I won’t be telling you about because I have to keep a few goodies for later.

Next up will be a mess of building character and world, working out some notions of theme, and, gosh, maybe even plot. I need to brush up on mystery and detective stories. I have a book on writing mysteries waiting for me, too. I’ve got my work cut out for me, which is just where I like to be.

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About Joyce

Joyce Sully lives in Southern California. She graduated from UC Irvine. She likes to knit and cook and play video games. But mostly she writes. Joyce writes short stories and novels, songs and poems, scripts and instructions to feed the cat if she stays out late. She has been spotted as far afield as Seattle, but travel makes her nervous. She believes in magic and dragons and ghosts, but is not convinced her next-door neighbors are real.
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