Last night I finally wrote the parlor scene for my Librarian mystery. It was quite nerve wracking. In the back of my mind I kept picturing Imaginary Generic Reader snarking on the story as I reveal the mystery.
When I used to run role-playing games, mysteries were my favorite kinds of adventures. I would lay the clues out in front of the players, anwser their questions and follow along with their investigations. If they came up with something I didn’t think of, I could improvise on the spot. That is impossible to do in a written story. I have to either cover everything possible ahead of time or hope people are so distracted by the sex that they are not thinking clearly.
Let me tell you something about players and mysteries. I have planned complex mysteries that I thought Moriarty would be proud of, and the players figure it out while they empty their dice bags. Other nights I have laid out simple crimes that Encyclopedia Brown could solve and my players nearly weep with frustration trying to solve it. I don’t know how Agatha Christie did it because I have found that I am the worse judge of how difficult a mystery is, perhaps because I know the anwser from the beginning.
At one point in the parlor scene I found myself inserting a blowjob. I took it out as soon as I wrote it but it was a strange case where I was chickening out of a tricky scene by writing what I know better. On the other hand, Arthur Conan Doyle never had an oral scene in the middle of his big reveals. I’ll have to think about it.
I have one more chapter to write, and then I’ll rewrite the whole thing and maybe you will see it come out this summer.