Let’s Talk with Nancy J Cohen

New Beginnings
by Nancy J. Cohen

January is a time of new beginnings. And so it is for me in writing my next book, #18 in the Bad Hair Day Mysteries. I’m in the “Discovery” stage of writing. This involves choosing the setting, doing preliminary research, and then identifying the suspects. Since I’m more of a plotter than a pantser, I need to have all this figured out before I begin the story.

It’s not an easy task. For a while, I had a general idea of where the story would take place. But that wasn’t enough. I needed a group of people who knew each other, but why would they be in this place? I lacked the “setting within the setting” and ideas were eluding me. I was clueless.

Meanwhile, I started my preliminary research on the topics that interested me for this story. I knew it would include a battle reenactment, for example, but which battle? Who was fighting whom? I researched wars in Florida and reenactments that are held in our state. This led to other sites and more interesting material until I was in danger of going down the research rabbit hole.

This all stewed in my subconscious, which is why you can’t rush the process. Then one day it happened—the answer to the setting dilemma popped into my brain! It was perfect as a model for my location.

Now I could pinpoint the people who’d be present. Identifying these characters was only the first step. I had to figure out which one would become the victim and why. Meanwhile, what are the other suspects hiding? How do they interrelate to each other?

I’m in this stage now still working on the suspects. Until I get my “web of deceit” at least partially designed, I can’t begin writing. Of course, the story might change direction many times along the way, and I won’t really know these characters until they walk and talk on the page, but it’s a start. And new beginnings are all about a fresh start. Happy New Year!

What about you? Do you get started on research and keep going?

Our January contest is live and runs from Jan 1-18. Did you enter yet? Click HERE to enter to win a free book!  (print books mailed to U.S. addresses only.