Now I have to figure out how much I have to write to complete my “choose your suspect” interactive mystery, “Stingaree.”
Let’s see. I’ve outlined eight scenes (very general outline, as I like to leave the action open to “startling the reader with switches”). I am figuring about 10 pages per suspect, so that’s 80 pages for each first person viewpoint narrative.
Therefore, thank god for calculators, I need to write at least 400 more pages. Wow! That’s a ton of writing, man!
However, I’ve already completed 25K words, or five chapters (50 pages). Since I made a sacred vow to not write a mystery in my series over 65K words, I’m going to have to do some serious paring down. 100K words more would doom me to hell. Besides, the attention spans of folks reading in their cell phones is less anyway, so I must reduce the number of pages to close this sucker out!
Obviously, to get down to my required length, I must cut those 10 pages for each suspect down to 5. That would be (wow, I’m improving at my math skills as I do this!) 200 more pages, or 40 pages to write for each suspect. Much more manageable, and it will force me to be my usually “deep self,” in order to keep the reader adequately entertained. I have read some novels of 100,000 (or more) words that are about as “deep” as “The Three Bears.” Ergo, I know it’s not length or size that matters (hear that gentlemen?), it’s the quality of the writing and the experience of the reader.
So, I’ll shoot for 40 pages of first person content, covering my eight scenes, by each suspect. Let’s say, for sake of argument between me, myself, and I, that I can complete 20 edited pages per week from now on. That’s two weeks per each suspect x five suspects = 10 weeks total. Or, by 2/16/21.
Knowing my OCD and lifestyle, I’ll probably get on a flow at times, and crank out more in a day, so I’m going to shoot for my original deadline of the middle of January.
What makes this sixth mystery so interesting (and challenging) to me, as a writer, is the fact that I’m using a plot technique used by authors as varied as Chaucer in “Canterbury Tales,” and, in film, the famous Japanese director, Akira Kurosawa in the 1951 movie “Rashomon.”
Mifune Toshiro-Tajomaru Kanazawa-Masako Kyo Machiko-1950
My “tales from five suspects,” who cover the same scenes from different perspectives, is most like Kurosawa’s technique, so I’m in very good company if I can pull it off half as successfully as he did!
I also must feature my series attorney and detective, Clara Foltz, in these descriptions, as she is the reason I began the mysteries in the first place! I can’t make it all about the suspects.