where the latest Finnegans adventure stands

And you’ve been asking yourself, I wonder how he’s doing with that novel he’s working on? Well, I’ll tell you.

I’ve managed to write my way to the end of chapter 7. My husband and wife team — the Finnegans — are now immersed in the town divided by a river with a single bridge spanning it, and they’re poking around. They sense something is not right with the town, but they’re not sure what. Nor would they normally care since they’re just visiting while she is there to write an article about the half marathon the town hosts. But it’s a cozy mystery novel, so they will care, and they will figure it out, and they will even cause that which begins the town’s recovery from its ailment. But that’s all to be written still.

I estimate I’m about a third of the way through the story I have to tell. It’s coming along well; I don’t feel like I’m pushing any point beyond its purpose (which has been a problem for me in the past). I’ve introduced most of the characters, including the key character, and hinted at the remainder, including the antagonist character whose entrance I’m forestalling as a way to build the tension. (Most cozy mysteries have an off-stage murder that must be resolved; mine don’t. I’ve said before that I believe there is plenty of evil people can do that doesn’t involve crime. But I must set up tension early to keep the reader engaged.)

So far, the chapters are averaging 2,500 words, but I expect them to swell at least a little as I find any foreshadowing or character development or such that I need to do. I’m trying to be mindful of this short chapter length as a way to give the reader manageable chunks to read.

I had conceived this plot years ago, long before I had ever taken up running. But now that I have that experience in my toolbox, including running more than a dozen half marathons (of varying levels of performance and self respect), I am able to write that part of the story much more deeply. I can’t imagine what kind of story I could have written without that experience, which may explain why it’s taken me years to come to write it. (Also, those One-Match Fire stories that had dominated my creative self for so long. In fact, I began this cozy mystery as a deliberate break from those stories, though they continue to intrude. Pesky things!) Also, my husband and wife team always stay in a bed and breakfast on their adventures, and I have made certain I have plenty of experience with that. Research is important!

So I am satisfied with my progress and the development of the story. Characters seem to be running up to me fully formed and asking breathlessly to be put in it. That’s helpful. And I know exactly how the plot should evolve. Plus, this isn’t intended to be a deep, literary tale, so I’m not burdened with all of the fraught underpinnings that would require. I can race through a first draft without feeling I’m cheating the story.

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