Hi there, guys and dolls! Well, I’ve been busy working away on book four in the Poppy Cove Mystery Series (title yet to reveal itself), and my alter ego writer girls have certainly been enjoying themselves forming and crafting the story.
Because the stories are set in the late 50’s and will carry on into the 60’s (this one is 1959) and the main heroines are surrounded by glamour and fashion, there is a great deal of creative research that goes into rounding out the tales of murder and mayhem. Andrea and Heather spend happy hours looking at beautiful clothes in pictures and at real garments from the time as well. It’s a perk of the job.
It amazes me how much unseen support and construction goes into making a dress appear perfectly fitting and flattering for the wearer. Quite often there is boning, hidden seams, snaps, ribbons, lining, interfacing (the list could go on), that give the illusion of, “Oh this? I just threw this old thing on.” Some of the hard work to make the right outfit is never seen by the observer or wearer, not to mention the hit and miss trial and error that has gone on to make the outfit just so.
The same thing happens when writing a story. There are details about the characters and scenes that may never be in the final draft that shape the nature of the players in the novel that give motive to their actions and behaviors. The weather and atmosphere of the time that form reasons for the way a situation plays out and take a natural course of progression. The rough drafts and rewrites that are like a muslin copy to get the fit right that gets discarded for the finished project.
Some people get frustrated when the stories need to take time to cultivate and hone. They put pressure on themselves and cut corners, skip the research, and it leaves a story as limp as a cheap suit. They feel they have cheated themselves and don’t know why. Perhaps they have. In such a hurry to get the work done, they skip the details and don’t enjoy or trust the process. Now I don’t know everything (but I do try), and maybe I’m a naive hack to suggest it, but what the hay, I’m a pen name so I can do what I like. My thought to you is to put thought into everything you do. Slow down, make your stitches even and create a work you are proud to present. God (or simply Good Orderly Direction if you prefer) is quite possibly the one in the details.