Happy Freakin’ Labor Day

It’s Labor Day, woo-hoo (insert dry sarcasm). Honestly, I’ve been a bum all summer — not really hustling on my writing because it’s summer! Let’s go swimming! Let’s drink beer with the neighbors at five o’clock. Let’s not write because the kids are constantly swarming around me like crazed wasps. But now it’s September. And my kids are back in school and I’ve finally returned to my manuscript only to wallow in the despair that is the plot that doesn’t make sense anymore.

Yup. I reread my novel for the 90th time and I’m not so sure the mystery functions. The gears are there, but they’re mismatched and dry and not really moving together. So I need to tinker with the story until everything is in working order. Always a fun time. God! Why is it so damn hard to write mysteries?

My anxiety gets worse in the fall. Something about the crisp, autumnal air that makes me think I’m not writing fast enough, working hard enough. Maybe it’s winter bearing down on me that riles me. The frigid temps, the impending snow pack. The isolation.

I’m a downer. Please excuse the cranky author — summer has left the building.

Are you happy about summer ending? Or miserable? Or somewhere in between?

Nice thing about fall — good television returns. I’m most excited for Shameless, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, and the Blacklist. You?

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Author: Kimberly G. Giarratano

I'm a YA author. And mom of 3. I'm also tired. Very, very tired.

11 thoughts on “Happy Freakin’ Labor Day”

  1. I feel your pain, Kimberly! Writing mysteries is HARD – but tons of fun too when it all falls into place, and you know it will. I love September. It was always the start of the new year for me. I guess it comes from school starting after Labor Day in my area. It was the smell of new school supplies, the feel of unopened notebooks, the chance to catch up with friends after summers spent away and the wondrous smell of the air. So, here’s my wish for you–Happy New Year and my all your herrings swim back into line!

  2. Totally agree! Mystery is by far the hardest of the different genres I write in. It’s extra hard to jump back in, after the distraction of summer. I enjoy the turning leaves and bugling elk, but I am becoming much less tolerant of snow.

  3. Mysteries are hard – but every story is hard it it’s own way. You’ll make it fit. Me, I love fall. Like Kait, it was the start of the new school year, which meant new supplies. But nowadays, while I’ll miss the long daylight hours I won’t miss the blistering heat. Bring on the sweaters!

  4. Oh, Kimberly, mysteries–and writing in general–are so tough! I’m familiar with returning to a manuscript only to find myself riddled with doubt and questioning everything. Sometimes I feel like that’s what it means to be a writer, lol. Hang in there; it will come together, and that moment will be amazing! As for me, I’m a HUGE fan of fall. Crisp weather, all the leaves changing color, scarves…I wish I could pass some of my enthusiasm to you πŸ™‚

  5. Sweetie, sweetie, sweetie, it’s all in your head. Even Stephen King has days like that. A couple of days ago, he posted on FB: “Yep, I just keep coming up with funky ass shit every single day. I’m like Snoop that way.” I’m pretty sure he was being sarcastic.
    When I’ve lost the plot, literally, I go back and outline what I’ve written. The story bones become more obvious and the superfluous scenes that are blurring the story reveal themselves. They’re usually my best writing, alas. I put them in an outtakes file. David Corbett just published a book of short stories mined from his outtakes. It’s all good.

  6. We all feel your pain. Luckily it doesn’t hit all of us at once so the world doesn’t fly off its axis. Personally, I’m a fall and spring gal, but a couple of years ago we redid our backyard and it’s so gorgeous and pleasant that I had to vow never to attempt a first draft during the summer ever again. There’s just something so fantastic about my patio on a hot summer afternoon, sipping a libation in the shade with a good book. Plus, my adorable pooch loves to be outside but only with company, so I have to indulge her before the snow flies again, right? Right?? It took me a long time to get over the guilt, but now I plan my year around the seasons. Because you know what I CAN do on those summer afternoons outside? Read craft books, keep up on the mystery genre, outline/brainstorm my next project, create workshops, make some marketing plans … the stuff that also needs to be done in addition to the writing. Maybe what you need, Kimberly, is some patio time with a notepad and a libation β€” no kids allowed β€” and brainstorm your story. Could be all the bones are there, but you can see them differently if you take a step back. Take a breath. You’ve done it before, you can do it again.

  7. As you know, I am a reader, not a writer. I want to encourage all you writers who have expressed that writing mysteries is hard, harder than the other genres in which you write.

    The payoff for all that hard work is this — mysteries are the most challenging, captivation and yes, enjoyable, of all the books I read. (Note — the blood, crime, and dead bodies are necessary but not really “enjoyable”, lest you thing I am a sociopath in disguise.) Mysteries are full of thrills, dangers, and conflicts without actually being treacherous, threatening, or dangerous. They transport me, as a reader, to situations and settings where I NEVER want to go on my own, but yet safely experience by your efforts. I love the journey on which you writers send me. Your writing compels me to follow your roadmap and to try to avoid the misdirection you deliberately throw in my path.

    Yes, it’s hard to write a good mystery book, but if it were easy everyone would be doing it. Take a break when you must, as we all do, but please, please rewrite, review, and redirect; that effort makes your book compelling. Thanks for writing those “hard” and yet captivating books.

  8. Awwww, thanks all for the encouragement. I love the mystery genre, that’s why I write it — glutton for punishment. I hashed out my plot today and emailed my writer friends for their input. Hopefully this book will come together this year. Eek!

  9. Ah, Kimberly, ain’t that the truth?!? I’ve been off my routine since April, and I’m digging back in now. Its a wee bit terrifying–really, I used to know how to do this whole “writing” thing. I think. I’m pretty sure. Personally, I’m ready for closed-toe shoes and sweaters (although I wish fall weren’t so darn close to winter and that summer wasn’t quite so short). Love the crisp air, agricultural fairs (yummy, fried dough! caramel apples! apple crisp! funnel cake!), and back-to-school. And yes, fall TV (anything crime-drama: CSI, NCIS, Criminal Minds). Suddenly, fall isn’t looking so productive. πŸ™‚ Hugs, clean plots, and fast-flowing, creative juices to you!

  10. I love the transition seasons because there’s an anticipation of something new just coming. Fall, however, also brings the bitter-sweet loss of long and lazy summer days. I tend to treasure these last days of summer a little more.

    My bet is your writer friends of met your call and you’ve found some good direction for your mystery.

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