Yesterday I finished typing the first draft of another Mrs. Meade mystery. The funny thing is, it's actually the third story in the series. My ideas for this one just started flowing rapidly one day when I was still stuck on a crucial point in the plotting of story #2, so I decided to just go ahead and write #3 while it was fresh in my mind. I'm pretty happy with the first draft—but I'm even more happy because the writing of it went pretty smoothly and was actually fun, which is a great relief after a long summer and early fall where I struggled to write anything at all. Now it's on to the next steps in my editing process: reading more carefully through the story, tweaking things here and there, and when I'm fairly satisfied with it, printing a copy and handing it to the family to read. Then I usually take a little break before the second round of edits.
Mrs. Meade & Co. have really taken hold in my mind and become real to me, as real and recognizable as the recurring characters in any other detective series I've read. I have to keep reminding myself that I'm the only one who thinks of them that way; even people who have read the first story have only just been introduced! But my mind has already gone racing ahead down the trails of future stories and character developments. I suppose my next project will be Mrs. Meade Mystery #2...if I can resist the lure of #5, which suddenly decided to become fascinating and present me with a coherent plot this week. I can't get that disorganized. I have nearly-complete outlines for the plots of #2 and #5, and a basic concept for #4, and I can't let myself get beyond that just now! No new Mrs. Meade ideas allowed until I've finished the next four.
I have learned one thing about how to manage my writing, I think—I can't make very long-term goals, because I almost always end up having changed my mind about them by the time I get there. I've got to take small steps until I learn exactly what kind of rhythm and schedule produces the best results for me. Just because I'm enjoying writing these short mysteries doesn't mean I've given up the ambition I've always had to write a full-length novel; hopefully I'll be able to take what I learn while penning the adventures of Mrs. Meade and put it successfully into practice on the bigger project one of these days.