I’ve made significant progress on my psychological contemporary, but at nearly 40,000 words, I’ve decided I need a short break from it. I have plenty of other novels to finish up, including parts two and three of my cyberpunk story (the one that began with The Dogs of Cyberwar) and the occult murder mystery I’ve been working on for a bit over a year now. (I started it as a NaNoWriMo project two Novembers ago.)
The Dogs of Cyberwar certainly needs to be finished, but I’m only about a third of the way through Part Two right now, whereas Murderous Requiem is nearly finished. I picked it up this afternoon and I’ve written half of the climactic scene already! At this rate, I suspect I’ll be finished with the first draft in a few days.
The next step will be to have some people read it and see if the “mystery” part of it works. I’m somewhat skeptical, but I can’t really judge, because I always think my plot surprises are too obvious. Many readers tell me that isn’t the case, but some do figure things out early on. So I really have no idea.
This story is a weird one. I was kind of going for a Da Vinci Code-style occult mystery with ancient manuscripts and occult mysteries, but less of a thriller and more of an everyone-trapped-in-a-house type of mystery. I also wanted to throw in a bit of the paranormal. Not everything turns out to be Old Mr. Johnson in a rubber mask.
The last time I read through the manuscript, I was actually disappointed at how little of the occult mystery was coming through. It needed more piecing together of hints in 15th-century grimoires. Everything seemed too easy and straightforward. Of course, if you go too far the other way, it becomes a boring treatise on Renaissance occult theory. You have to strike a balance.
So after my readers get through with it and hopefully report back that they were not bored to tears, I need to go through the occult bits and pieces with a fine-toothed comb and make sure everything is consistent and holds together.