How do I do this again?

I’ve accepted a challenge to try and write a straight* mystery novel. Something with none of the usual weirdness that I like. Something a bit more vanilla. I thought it would be an interesting challenge, like limiting myself to the form of a haiku or a sonnet. I thought it would be fun.

I have a starting point and I have some characters and I have a premise but I don’t know where to go from there. The more I try to find my plot it the more my self-doubt screams at me that I don’t know how to do this.

But I do know how to do this. I know how a plot works. I know how to put one together. A plot is a plot and the supernatural and the fantastic and the weird are just trappings. It’s people and the things they do to each other that drives the plot. That remains the same whether the story takes place in the imagined past, in the alternative present and in all possible futures.

It’s like my self-doubt has latched onto the one thing I’m doing differently this time and is waving it like a fucking flag. Look at this. This is the reason you can’t do this. You should give up. You can’t be a ‘proper’ writer so you should just stop trying.

To my self-doubt I say this, “Shut up, bitch. I am a proper writer. A writer writes. I write. Therefore I am a writer. Sticking the word ‘proper’ in front of it is just a bullshit excuse for gatekeeping. Whatever I do as a writer you’re just going to claim that it doesn’t make me a ‘proper’ writer or a ‘real’ writer. I will write whatever I damn well please.”

Which is all very nice and assertive but I still don’t have a plot.

 

*Only straight in the sense of not having any of my usual magical or weird science shenanigans. It will definitely still be queer in every other sense.

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