An interesting thing happened on the way to the ending of my fifth Greg McKenzie mystery. I stepped up my output in the past couple of weeks and am now significantly past the halfway mark, which is 35,000 words since my books usually run around 70,000. However, I am not siignificantly close to this latter figure. What makes it interesting is that I am quite close to the final chapter.
As anyone who has paid attention (both of you) knows, I do not outline or plot ahead. I start with a premise and some characters and let the story go where they take it. Reading through what I have written so far, there are plenty of plot complications, a sufficient number of suspects, and a nice twist to the conclusion. But so far I have only written a novelette.
Not to worry. This has happened more then once. What I need to do is go back and find a good spot to take off on a new subplot that will complicate things even more.
One reason my books don't occupy an inordinate number of pages is my writing style. I like to keep things terse. I don't go in for long pages of description, and I don't telegraph every move my characters make as they go through the day. Greg, in whose voice the story is told, doesn't go in for a lot of instrospection. Most of what he has in mind is expressed through dialogue.
I suppose I could use the Robert B. Parker method and ask the publisher to use bigger type and wider margins. That would make the book look larger with fewer words.
I'll probably go ahead and finish the story, then backtrack to find places where I can beef it up with new situations that will dazzle the reader. Do readers dazzle? Oh, well, I'll keep plowing on and see how the old ball bounces. That's an apt metaphor since the book is titled A SPORTING MURDER and involves a conflict between supporters of professional basketball and pro ice hockey. Hmm, you might say the puck stops here.