(NOTE: I will be updating the progress on Death is Sleeping with My Wife, the 4th Joe Davis book, as I race against time to complete it by the summer. Here’s an update on where I’m at.)

BACKGROUND: When last we left our hero (or a reasonable facsimile), he was working through the various plotlines for the book. This included the three main suspects, a couple ancillary suspects and the “subplots” (stories involving Joe’s friends.) The hope was to streamline the actual murder investigation elements and solidify each characters participation in them.

WHERE I’M AT: The main plotlines have been completed. I managed to sort out all of the the storylines involving the main suspects. The couple ancillary suspects have been dealt with. There’s still been some issues with new wrinkles popping up when I straighten something out. The nice part is that I finally feel like I have my arms around the story, so that when those wrinkles pop up, I don’t feel like it’s defeating me. I’m not declaring victory until I’ve got a final draft in hand, but I’m pleased with there the murder investigation is at right now.

WHAT’S NEXT: The next step is straightening out the “subplots”. These are little side stories that involve Joe’s friends, Mike, Carol and Lars. They can be some of the most fun and some of the most difficult things to write. I don’t really outline them beforehand. I generally know what the jumping point is for each, set aside spots in the general outline where they can be developed and then just see where they take me. The lack of planning makes them a bit more spontaneous. I literally don’t know what I’m going to write until I arrive at the scene. There are two tough parts, though: 1. Finding an arc for each story so that it can be developed as the book unfolds and 2. Figuring out a way to tie them into the resolution of the story (or at least into Joe’s investigation.) Given that I haven’t written the climax to the book yet, it’s challenging to know how these subplots are going to be resolved and how they’ll inform the climax of the action. But if I can straighten them out enough, I’m hoping the solutions will present themselves.

At this point, I’m giving myself three days to work out the subplots. When that’s done, I go to work on the climax of the book. Fingers crossed that I’ll stay on pace to get the book finished. I’m feeling better about things. But since I’m congenitally unable to be completely optimistic, I’m still taking a wait-and-see attitude.

Meantime, here’s something from the DEATH IS SLEEPING WITH MY WIFE Spotify playlist:

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