Writing Out of a Corner

For awhile, I was making good progress on True Death, the sequel to The Fibonacci Murders.  A number of interesting characters had turned up, and the story was moving forward rather well.  Then it happened.

I wrote myself into a corner.

The work stalled while I tried to figure out how I was going to extricate myself and my characters from an untenable position.  The problem, put in such a way as to avoid giving away the story, was that a couple of characters who represented vital links in the chain needed to resolve the main plot couldn’t reasonably play a role in the resolution.

The problem is bound up with my method of writing.  I like to describe that method in archery terms.  Archers have at their disposal several methods of aiming.  One involves visual alignment, another involves the use of devices known as bow sights.  One is referred to as the instinct method: the archer basically has a “feel” for how the bow must be held in order to hit the center of the target.  That was my method.  I was (once upon a time) fairly good at it.

I approach writing in much the same way.  I don’t typically plan out a story in great detail.  I have a general idea of where I’m going and how to get there, but the characters often surprise me.  Normally, it works out well.  This time, it rather didn’t.

I’d like to report that I’m finally out of the corner.  Over the past couple of days, things started moving again and it looked for a time like I was on my way again.  But today, reviewing what I’d written, I decided I just didn’t like it.  That path out of the corner hadn’t worked.

So I guess tomorrow I get to start over.  Somewhere, there is a way out.  I just have to find it.


Fibonacci Reviewed

The Fibonacci Murders just received a great review from The Midwest Book Review:

It is always a pleasure for the mystery/suspense enthusiast to include a new author in the genre who has a total mastery of the storytelling arts including character development and superbly plotted story lines with all manner of twists, turns, and surprises. Such is the case with Dale E. Lehman and his novel “The Fibonacci Murders”. A genuine ‘page turner’ from beginning to end, “The Fibonacci Murders” is very highly recommended for personal reading lists and community library collections.

You can read it in its full context on The Midwest Book Review‘s website. You’ll have to scroll down a bit to find it. Thank you, MBR!


Although I’m originally from Sylvania, Ohio and currently live in the vicinity of Baltimore, I spent about half of my life in the Chicago suburbs.  Chicagoland is therefore one of the places I think of as home.   It’s always good to go back for a visit, however brief.

fieldmuseumWe spent this week visiting my parents and sisters, stopping at a few special places along the way.  We spent much of one day at the Field Museum of Natural History, where I saw my first 3D movie (believe it or not), shrank down to bug size to explore the world beneath our feet, and learned some things about Haitian Vodou.

portillosWe consumed some of our favorite Chicago foods, including Italian beef and Chicago-style hot dogs at Portillo’s and some really good pizza at Gigio’s in Evanston.  (Kathy and I used to order from Gigio’s when we were students at Northwestern University.  It’s still just as good!)

houseofworshipOn the way out of town, we paid a visit to the Baha’i House of Worship in Wilmette.  The only Baha’i House of Worhip so far in North America, it’s also the oldest extant Baha’i House of Worship in the world, the symbolic cornerstone of which was laid in 1912 by ‘Abdu’l-Baha (the son of Baha’u’llah, the Founder of the Baha’i Faith).

Some of you might question visiting Chicago in January.  Yeah, it can be cold and snowy there, but we’re used to it, and even take some pleasure in experiencing real winter again.  In any event, we’re on our way back to Baltimore now, where it’s less cold and snowy . . . but more rainy.  Everything’s a trade-off.

The offiical website of author Dale E. Lehman