Tidying Up My Next Project

This week on the Debutante Ball, the Debs are looking forward to a milestone in the future, when we’ll no longer be debutantes, but sophomores. Writers with a second book.

When the Debs scheduled this topic for the beginning of the new year, I was feeling certain that I’d be finished with a first draft of my next book.

I’m not finished.

As I write this, I still have about 15,000-20,000 words to go before I can say I have a finished first draft. But I also have a plan to finish it very soon. As of January 1, I’m working on a new writing challenge with some of my MFA program writer friends. It’s a bit like NaNoWriMo, but in a month in which we think we can conceivably write a lot. (Who decided on November for NaNo? I mean, REALLY? Who has motivation or time in NOVEMBER?) If you’re interested in following along or joining us, search #winterwrite on Twitter.

hotel-maidMy work-in-progress (“WIP,” as the jargon goes) is a possible series starter about a woman, Juliet, who is just shy of 30 and already dealing with some big life regrets. One of them—her estranged best friend, who beat her in every high school track meet they ever ran together—arrives at the door of the run-down motel in their hometown where Juliet works as a housekeeper, only to end up dead. Scared she’s next or might be arrested for the murder, Juliet sorts through the debris of her friend’s life to find out what happened—to her friend, but also to all the dreams they once had.

I like to think of it as my Nickel and Dimed murder mystery. I’ve been having fun reading a book about the hotel business, and asking my friends to share impressions from just-this-side-of-sleaze hotel accommodations. Boy, did they come through.

I love stories of regret. THE BLACK HOUR, at its core, is also about regrets and the choices that make us who we are. I guess that means I have some regrets myself, huh? Who doesn’t?

The new book is tentatively titled LITTLE PRETTY THINGS. You can see it on the shelf already, can’t you?

First things first. If only I could figure out a way to give it the ending it so richly deserves… soon, my little pretty thing. Soon.

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Lori Rader-Day is the author of the mystery THE BLACK HOUR (Seventh Street Books, July 2014). She grew up in central Indiana, but now lives in Chicago with her husband and very spoiled dog.

12 thoughts on “Tidying Up My Next Project

  1. I’m catching up on reading this blog since I’ve taken a break for the last two weeks. I’ve missed my morning dose from the debs.

    Your post was just what I needed to get me to want to get back into my groove. I finished NaNo, but haven’t done much with it. Now it’s time to get back to it and complete the first draft!
    Thank you, Lori!
    p.s. Little Pretty Things sounds awesome. Can’t wait to read it!

  2. Love the title, Lori! I’m attracted to stories that feature regret too. Regret is powerful and makes for interesting characterizations. The book sounds great!

  3. Yay, Lori! I love the title and the premise sounds awesome. And you’re so close to finishing that draft! You have absolutely nothing to feel bad about (says the writer who’s only 30 pages into a first draft of the next book…oof!). January sounds like SUCH a better month to do NaNo. Perhaps after I finish these first pass pages I’ll join you in #winterwrite 😉

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