I'm writing again, and studying. (Pardon my grammar/punctuation - this is just musings/train of thought)
Story/Book Title: The Truth Will Out, a Geneva Maxwell Mystery
The story is going along great - I've finally found the right tone, the right pacing, the right voice for it. The protagonist - 86yr old Geneva Maxwell, former WWII / Cold War spy - is so clear in my head. But there's a very strong secondary character whose head I just cannot get into. Perhaps that's his character - he is a chameleon, hiding in plain sight, and you (I) don't get to be in his head. He's a consummately professional spy, so maybe that's part of his persona.
I don't normally plot out my stories - I'm more of a "pants-er" - I write by the seat of my pants. But I picked up a book called PLOT - and I'm working my way through it, realizing all the places / things I need to know before I can really write out the story. So... I'm plotting. Not in a detailed way, but I'm laying out all the big things, what needs to happen for the resolution I see. Letting the characters guide me on what will/won't happen. There's an interview that Geneva needs to have with someone who will give her key information... I'm not sure quite how to make that happen - or trigger that action. But I feel certain that if I just let the character guide me, she will end up where I need her to be. She will receive the information that will unlock the secret, and will lead her to the real killer...
I'm also working on character arc: how the character grows from the beginning of the story to the end. How that growth affects the action s/he takes, and what s/he has to do/overcome to manifest the outcome. For instance, GM has to overcome her innate distrust and fear of everyone associated with her former life in order to accept Hugo back into her life, and in doing so, reveal who she is/was to the (very small) town. And she has to learn to trust that they will not reveal who/where she is.
I find I'm loving the process of writing mystery. I gave up on writing romance many years ago, when I discovered that I can't write a "happily ever after". Life is more gray / ambiguous / tumultuous / twisted - and nothing ever turns out all rainbows & daffodils... unless the pot of gold landed on someone's head in the garden.