I was on vacation last week and so didn’t do any writing at all–but I did do a lot of thinking. Before leaving town, I wrote a chapter in which my main characters arrive at a country house for the weekend. There are about a dozen people at the house, and so I had to introduce each of them and make each distinctive enough that the reader wouldn’t get confused. I was pretty happy with how that scene turned out.
While on vacation, I kept thinking about what would happen next, and it seemed, with all these quirky people gathered for the weekend, that it was time for a murder. What!? I said to myself. I’m not writing a mystery! There is NOT to be a murder at this country house! I fought this for several days, but finally gave in and thought, OK, if there were to be a murder, who would be killed? It was easy to answer, because one of the characters (who I’d imagined to be a very nice person) had turned out to be rather nasty. I realized that if this were to be a mystery, my heroine Olivia would be the detective and I would need to adjust her character a bit. With these changes, I realized I liked the new Olivia much more than the old Olivia.
So, I guess I’m writing a mystery. Funny how these things turn out. I wonder if historical mysteries sell better than literary historical fiction….