Sunday, May 15, 2011
A Critical Finish by Lucy Burdette
A Critical Finish--that's the working title for my new book. (Of course, based on what's happening to the title for the first, it will never make it onto the finished cover--but that's another blog.) Naturally, every finish is critical. And beginnings, even more so. We never want readers to set the book aside.
So, feeling my usual pre-book jitters, I decided to try something new this time around. Blake Snyder's wonderful book on screenwriting (SAVE THE CAT) recommends writing a sentence or two describing forty scenes and then laying them out on your nice new bulletin board in four rows. (These rows represent the acts of the book or screenplay.) What a great system, thought I. So I made up 40 blank cards and retired into my stepdaughter's recently-abandoned room and took all the ten-year-old photos down off her bulletin board. After a couple of hours, it looked like this:
Hayley finds J floating face-down in the dipping pool...
Eric is arrested for murder!
Dinner at Louie's Backyard where something is disclosed...
Three scenes, that's all I could come up with. Nine books under my belt and I still feel like someone who's been thrown in the pond with no clue how to swim.
So I'm going back to basics for a while and then maybe I'll try the board again. Who dunnit and why? Who else could have dunnit and what secrets are they trying to protect? Why is my heroine involved? And how will she grow and change?
I'll let you know how it goes. How about you, girlfriends? Any sure fire tips for getting started?
Lucy Burdette is the author of the Key West food critic mystery series debuting in January 2012 from NAL. As Roberta Isleib, she's written 8 mysteries for Berkley Prime Crime. You can find her at her website or on Twitter @LucyBurdette, or on Facebook, Lucy Burdette author.