Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Plotting While You Play

I killed a lot of people last week. Here’s how it happened:

I spent five days on our sailboat in Long Beach. I am not particularly fond of being on a boat. Five hours is fine. Five days? Not so much. Especially when the day after I arrived we took the 5-hour trip to Catalina and I got soundly seasick.

But boating is my husband’s passion, so every now and then I give in. Those reading this who love to sail will say, “Oh, boo hoo, poor you.” Yeah, I get that all the time. Still. Seasick? Bored out of my mind? Yep. And don’t even mention those old salts who smugly say to my husband, “Put her behind the wheel! She just gets seasick because she doesn’t like not being in control (or because she’s afraid or whatever).” No, sweetie, that isn’t it. I just get seasick.

I’m not saying it’s all bad. Mooring off the town of Avalon was delightful.  Everyone is in a holiday mood and the town models a Mediterranean seaside village, a jewel off the California coast. So we had a great time while we were there. And the sail back was fabulous, with the wind in the perfect direction. Which is great for a while. But five hours of looking at the water and chatting? If I could read, I wouldn’t be so annoyed. But I get seasick if I even think about reading. One of our friends who came with us said, “I didn’t realize we couldn’t read while we were sailing.” Some people might be able to, but we were among those who can’t.

I have yet to figure out why sailors love to be on the boat for hours at a time staring at the water. In my experience sailing is hours and hours of boredom punctuated with the occasional moment of delight—and the rare moment of terror.

So what’s a writer to do? Plot. Plot. Plot. And for as mystery writer that means Kill. Kill. Kill. As it happened, my agent wrote me a few days before I left for the trip to say we needed to give my publisher a couple of synopses for new books. One of the plots I already had laid out, but I had to think about the other one. And I also have been laying out a psychological thriller, so I got a chance to roll that around in my mind. So, it isn’t all bad, as you can see from the photos!

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