I haven’t made a ton of progress on my new outline. Part of that has been laziness, which has been exacerbated by the heat in Eugene over the past few days.
Another problem is that I realized trying to outline a detective story in a linear manner is kind of dumb. I had some ideas for red herrings, etc., that I wanted to include in the story, but once I decided who the killer was some of those things didn’t make much sense. For example, early in the story I wanted to have the detective see through a false clue that the killer planted, in order to establish the detective’s credibility as an investigator. I think this will work for the story, but the problem is that I didn’t have any characters in the story that the clue, if not seen through, would implicate. From the killer’s perspective, the frame job needs to point to some one, even if the frame job isn’t successful in the actual narrative. I realized that I needed to take a step back and lay out the killer’s plan before I try to wrap a story around solving the crime. In retrospect that’s kind of an obvious point, but it didn’t occur to me until my outline started going off the rails.