Writing is Hard

Every novel has moments within that were incredibly difficult to get perfect. Maybe it’s the scene itself. Or, perhaps the words aren’t flowing well. I wanted to share three from Pierced Peony that I found especially hard.

The first is the doll scene. I won’t give too many details to avoid spoilers. But, you’ll know the doll scene when you get to it.

This one was hard because I wanted the reader to have an almost visceral reaction to it. The difficult part was make sure I didn’t go overboard. There was a delicate line between creepy and caricature.

I wanted the reader to turn the page and be able to almost feel like they’d been in the room with Motts.

Second? The freezer scene. Again…spoilers. This one was difficult because writing dangerous moments don’t always come naturally to me. Banter is something I find easy.

Danger? Not so much. The freezer scene was written…deleted…written…deleted a number of times. I did finally get the vibe I wanted, though.

The final scene that I struggled with? The ending. I won’t give anything away. But I knew how I wanted Pierced Peony to conclude and it was incredibly important to do it justice.

And hopefully, I got it just right.

Why I Love The First Line….

…of Pierced Peony.

A cat, a turtle, and a stranger face off in the garden. The stranger blinks first. Right. The joke still needs some work.

That’s the first line. And I love it.

So why do I love it? Here’s five reasons why.

  1. It makes me laugh. Seriously. At the very least, whenever I see it, the line makes me smile.
  2. It’s just so Motts. I can see her thinking this line really frequently or some variation of it.
  3. The line sets the stage for the cozy series in that you know I’m not going to take myself to seriously.
  4. I believe cozy mysteries require a healthy sense of humor.
  5. It’s sort of a running joke for me with the series.

Excerpt: Pierced Peony

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Excerpt

A cat, a turtle, and a stranger face off in the garden. The stranger blinks first. Right. The joke still needs some work.

“Do you always let your turtle and cat out in the garden together?”

“They’re friends. They like to gossip.” Motts set her trowel to one side and got to her feet. She dusted the grass and dirt off her knees. “They both need fresh air and sun in moderation. Are you lost?”

The man didn’t seem lost despite having popped up beside the back fence around her garden. He looked like a police officer. Though not quite as broad-shouldered, he stood as tall as Teo Herceg, the detective inspector she’d met in April and had been dating for over a month.

“I’m hoping to speak with Pineapple Mottley.” He sounded like a policeman. His suit, while nice, appeared rumpled from driving; his short grey hair, however, was gelled and styled perfectly. “I’m Detective Inspector Dempsey Byrne with the Metropolitan Police’s cold case unit.”

“Cold case?” Motts’s heart stuttered in her chest. She rubbed her fingers together nervously. “Jenny. You’re here about Jenny.”

Jenny Cleverly had been her lone best friend through her early childhood. Motts had stumbled across Jenny’s lifeless body on her way home from primary school while walking through a park, hidden behind a hedge. She still had nightmares about finding her.

The unsolved crime had haunted Motts. She’d developed an obsessive curiosity about cold cases as a result. And at least once a year, she searched online to see if anyone had been arrested for Jenny’s murder.

“Ms Mottley?”

“Motts.” She had a sudden sense of déjà vu; she’d had a similar conversation with Teo in April. He’d been investigating the murder of a Rhona Walters, who’d been buried in the garden behind her cottage. It had been an auspicious start to her life in Polperro. “Cactus.

Her beloved Sphynx cat had leapt onto the fence and then over to the detective’s shoulder. Detective Inspector Byrne didn’t bat an eyelid. He simply reached up to pat Cactus on his head.

Well, he certainly approves of the random strange man intruding on our afternoon.

Intruding inspector intrudes introspectively.

Introspectively?

Not my best alliteration.

“I don’t often see a flowerless garden.” He glanced slowly around at her rows of fruits and herbs. “None at all?”

“My allergies try to drown me if I’m around them for too long.” Motts kept flowers far away from her cottage. Real ones, in any case. She made and sold origami and quilled floral arrangements as part of her small business, Hollyhock Folded Blooms. “Why don’t you come in for tea? Cold case curiosities can converse comfortably.”

Don’t frighten the fancy London detective with your peculiarities.

The judgmental voice in her head sounded suspiciously like her mum, who meant well but couldn’t always relate to Motts’s more unique traits. She didn’t understand her wayward autistic and asexual daughter. Motts had given up trying to fit into neurotypical moulds.

I am who I am.

Alliterations and all.

Oh, fun accidental alliterations are the best.

“I wouldn’t want to impose.”

“Wouldn’t you?” Motts stared blankly at the man, unable to decide if he was being polite or not. “You drove from London. At least a five-hour drive on a good day. Tea isn’t imposing. Sleeping in my garden and trampling the herbs would be.”

https://books2read.com/motts2

And then I forgot the grandparents.

Or, things you won’t necessarily see on the page in Pierced Peony.

First? I completely forgot Motts had grandparents who live next door to her uncle and auntie in Looe.

I forgot.

Completely and totally forgot two human beings exited in my novel.

And then, I had to rewrite parts to add them in, which ended up being a good thing. Her granddad made such a lovely addition. Her granny appears more in book three.

Second? Detective Inspector Dempsey Byrne surprised me. He had way more personality than I initially intended.  He’s showing up quite a bit in book three so that’s fun.

Third? I kept mixing up two of the suspects’ names all the way through the book. No reason why. I knew their names but I still did it repeatedly.

Fourth? A Detective Inspector who knits cat sweaters is still my favourite thing ever.