ROW80 Check In, Steampunk, Plot Bunnies and Murder Mysteries

Pantster or plotter?

As a dyed-in-the-wool write-by-the-seat-of-your-pants author, who's tried - and failed - to ever outline a story, I find it interesting that this past week has seen me try three new things:

1. starting a murder mystery short story (I've always wanted to write a mystery)

2. plotting a list of 5-10 scenes that are necessary for the story (including whodunit)

3. drafting the scenes linearly

Is it a full moon or have the planets aligned in syzygy or what?

The one thing I did do is stick to my current time period (Spain and Turkey, 1492-3). I had all these visions of leaping into a story involving characters from the Sparkly New Idea, set in 1930s Ontario and Quebec, but I resisted!

One the other hand, I keep getting assaulted by steampunk imagery, most recently at the Cirque du Soleil show Totem. I can't find a good photograph from that, so here's my favourite steampunk Dalek:

What to do, what to do?

Does it count as steampunk if there are plot bunnies in the story? Actually, now that I think about, it everyone's welcome to submit a story for the upcoming Attack of the Plot Bunnies anthology. I'll post further details this week, as they become available.

Anne-Mhairi Simpson had a great idea today - that it's the momentum from writing a new piece that carries you through editing another. I hadn't considered that, since I usually don't work on more than one story at a time (I have to stick to one, or nothing gets finished). But having my short story set in the same time, with the same characters, has undoubtedly helped.

Almost as though I was writing a sequel.



That is an intriguing idea...that starting something new helps with editing an "old" piece.

Thanks for visiting my blog, and enjoy your new explorations.
Fascinating how we all approach this in different ways. Mine being history, I can't begin until I have the historical facts firmly in my head..
Michelle Fayard said…
Even though in the rest of my life I am a super-organized neat freak who often caused my mom to say, "Couldn't you for once leave your room messy?" I still don't outline my books in the traditional way. Whatever works to write a wonderful book, I say go for it! I think it's great you're trying different ways to see if you do find a method you like even better.
Jillybean said…
Syzygy? I wonder if that's a Polish word.

Yes, it counts as steampunk if there are plot bunnies!

Let us know how that outlining thing goes for you - good luck! :-)
Zan Marie said…
As a semi-outliner/seat of the pants writer (yeah, there is such a writer), I find the skimpy outline allows me to write whatever comes to mind *and* know it has a place and I'm not just spinning my wheels.

BTW, I'm deep in the rewrite of my plot bunny story. Just exactly *what* its genre is is a the question. Your guess is as good as mine. ; )
Nas Dean said…
Hi Deniz,

I always loved mysteries. I hope to read one of yours someday!

All the best with your SteamPunk plt bunny story!
jamilajamison said…
Oooh, trying out new things is always fun! I've been trying to outline my steampunk murder mystery as well, though as I am also a pantser, it is really more like a bulleted list of what needs to happen and when.

Hope you have an excellent week!
Nadja Notariani said…
I wrote my first novel out of order, adding scenes as they came to me, knowing where I wanted to go but not exactly how I was going to get there. It was my first try. For the novella I'm working on now, I made an outline for each chapter and settled on necessary characters for the mystery bit before I began.
Which is better? I don't know. I liked both options. I can say that this second story has been easier to write. Now this could be because it's set in a time period I'm infatuated with, or because I planned better.
I'm continuing the editing....sigh. It's a long, tedious job, but I'll be glad to have done it when I finish!
Will you enter the contest you posted about? I've never entered a contest for writing!
Take care, and happy writing on the new mystery. ~ Nadja
Jaleh D said…
Steampunk and plot bunnies? Sounds fascinating. Hehe.

Good luck with your murder mystery. I've been reading more mysteries recently, and it's been fun. If you need any good reference books, I just finished reading Murder and Mayhem: A Doctor Answers Medical and Forensic Question for Mystery Writers. I don't write mystery stories, but there was fabulous stuff in there I hope I can eventually use. Dr. D.P. Lyle compiled the questions from his The Doctor Is In column for the Mystery Writers of America, and the answers are explained in layman's terms while providing the terminology we may need our characters to use. Some of the questions are more creative than anything I've ever wondered about.
Anonymous said…
Good luck with your mystery. I love that genre.

Have a great week.
Al said…
I love the steam punk Dalek
Tia Bach said…
I so agree about editing and writing working hand in hand. And I need to sit down and do some plotting myself and relax on my word count. Moving the story along can happen in more ways than one!

Thanks for your encouraging words on Depression Cookies, too!
Liz Fichera said…
I've got steampunk on my list of Things To Write. I love that pic!!
Vicki Tremper said…
I like to stick to one thing at a time, too. Good luck with the mystery short story. I love mysteries! Then again, I'm totally a plotter.

Jayne said…
Love that steampunk Dalek!

I love steampunk but have yet to write in the genre. Other ideas jostle ahead, but one day... (prob when it is least fashionable. Sadly that always happens to me!)

And go you with your plotting!
Deniz Bevan said…
Thanks for coming by Laurel!

Mine are usually historicals too, Carole, but I always seem to start with the characters first, then wade into the research.

I had the same neat room, Michelle! And I love making lists. Yet outlining a story just feels weird.

Hmm, maybe I could have a syzygy of plot bunnies, Jill... All in a row...

I sort of know what you mean Zan Marie - I eventually reach a point where I need a skimpy outline or timeline, just so I can figure out whether I'm rambling or whether there's an end in sight.
Deniz Bevan said…
Thank you Nas and Jamila!

Good luck with the rest of your editing Nadja! I printed out my clean MS and am hoping to read it on the plane (yay vacation!) next week.

Wow, thanks for the suggestions, Jaleh! I had my first murder happen off scene (story opens with the body being found) but there's one final death near the end of the story and I don;t know how it happens yet...

Thanks Medeia!

I like him too Al - but I'd still be afraid to meet him [g]

Thanks for coming by, Tia, Liz, Vicki and Jayne! It's fun to see how different all our methods are :-)
Michelle Fayard said…
I meant to say in my last post that I think it's great you're starting to write in a genre you've always wanted to. I can't wait to hear the results. :) What you're doing is inspiring to others.
Deniz Bevan said…
Thanks for the encouragement, Michelle!

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