Friday Reads: July 1, 2011

Tonight I’m finally going to start the latest Nora Roberts I picked up last month — “The Search.” I’ll probably finish it tonight, too. 🙂

My best friend in college got me hooked on her McGregor books, and is indirectly responsible for my lightbulb moment about writing a few years ago. I’ve always been a mystery buff, starting with Cam Jansen and Encyclopedia Brown all the way through Agatha Christie, Jill Churchill and Charlotte MacLeod. So when I started writing original fiction nine years ago, I figured I’d write a mystery. Well, there’s only one problem with that. I’m a character-driven writer, not a plot-driven one. In all the words I’ve written over the years (about 750K and counting), only once have I plotted out a mystery and resolved it without Kyrie finding 16 holes that I need to plug. And that was a recent story I started for a writing competition on LiveJournal.

About eight months ago, I finally realized what I like writing is series fiction. As with Roberts’ McGregor books, trilogies and other linked books, I like how you can build characters over several books and sprinkle plot threads around to weave in at a later date. Thus, just because most series fiction I read is mysteries doesn’t mean that’s what I need to write. Jan Karon’s Mitford series, which I read the first few books of, is one non-mystery series. (And yes, I know sci-fi/fantasy/etc. also lean toward series, but I’m not a big fan of those genres.) I realized all the characters I had running around in my brain, with stories to tell, could live in Exeter and create a single world that’s got more stories to tell than I can imagine.

The series starts with a character who first came to life for me 10 years ago, somebody who doesn’t live in Exeter to start. Her journey there kicks things off. Book 2 starts a month or so after she moves to town for good. And things play out from there…