World-building the next novel
The germ of my next novel has been in my head for well over a year, but forcing it into some kind of shape has been surprisingly hard. I have some ideas for a couple of reasons for this. For one thing, we can fall back on the ways that grief, loss, and trauma have messed with my head. Focus has never been my strong suit, and it's worse now.
I think that the issues with creating a new world go beyond that, though. I've been writing books in the Pismawallops PTA series for about 7 years, with some ventures back into the world of the Ninja Librarian. In other words, I haven't had to create a story-world from scratch in a very long time. In fact, the last time I did so was the goofy fantasy world of Halitor the Hero--published in 2014 (and I think drafted in 2013 or earlier--probably right after Return to Skunk Corners and while I was working on Death By Trombone).
All of which is to say: the last time I created a new world, I was a different writer, and a lot more haphazard about such things. In the meantime, I've transitioned from a pantser to a plotter, at least when it comes to mysteries. So while I launched naively into the writing of Death By Ice Cream with little beyond an idea about a body in the PTA's ice cream freezer and trusted the island community to come to life as I went, I can't be so cavalier now.
For a while I didn't know if I could do it at all, but I'm happy to say that the new book is starting to come together in my mind, and I think I'll be able to start writing it perhaps as early as next month.
That brings me to....
The Setting Character Sketch (to copy and use with the book) is on the blog of J Lenni Dorner.
Just when I was struggling with what I needed to know about the village where my new sleuth, Seffi Wardwell, lives, I remembered this little book. I started it in March right after I bought it, but set it aside because at that point I was absorbed in revisions on Death By Donut. It occurred to me that it might help me out, so I finished reading it, and returned to the outline tool at the beginning.