The 90's were a bit of a dry spell for my writing, but I made up for it in the next decade.
A lot of changes took place in the Terry Macdonald Mysteries world from 2000-2009. Characters changed as did the method I wrote the words down, to the POV of the characters. Changing from 3rd person to first person POV dramatically changed my writing, both in quality and quantity. Another writing renaissance had taken place...but this wouldn't happen until 2006.
There were a few factors that contributed to this. First, I was older and was getting more confident in my writing. The second and more important reason I will talk about in the next post
Between 2000 and 2009 I wrote a total of 29 mysteries! (between 1990-1999 I wrote 3) And between 2000 and 2004 alone, I wrote 16 of the 29 mysteries.This post covers these first 5 years.
In 2000, I wrote 2 stories. the first one, "Disappearing Act" was one of my favourite stories up to that point, and remains one of my favourites and one of the better stories that I have written, at least in this relatively early part of the series. This was the first story that I did a major revision on. But more about that later as well.
The second story that year, "Clue in The Aztec Mask" brought back a character from one of my early stories "Secret Message In The Sword". Jose Alvarez returns and has a mystery for Terry to solve. This one wasn't as well written as the last one, but I love the title.
2001 would become my most prolific writing year (up to that time). I finished 4 stories that year. "The Masked Intruder" took only a month to write. "Danger On The White Rapids" was finished later that year, as was "The Spy Case", another favourite, where Terry goes undercover in Siberia, and "The Stone Pyramid" which took Terry to the south Pacific.
2002 I finished 3 stories. Another favourite "The Samurai Sword Mystery" took Terry to Japan to look for his father. Van is along for the ride as well. "The Lost Desert City" takes Terry and Van to Utah and the Mojave desert. The final mystery that year introduced a paraplegic character Evan McIntyre. "Clue Of The Broken Claw" surrounded a mystery at the Port Salser zoo. I wanted to introduce a "smart ass" character and one with a disability. I wanted to show that disabled people are just as productive as anyone else and wanted a dynamic character. Evan has shown up in other stories and I like to think I've developed his character over the years.
In 2003 I finished another 3 stories, "The Stonehenge Caper" which portrayed Terry's friend Corey Cross as a troubled character. He was just a more worldly character before, but now he gets accused of taking drugs and this started me on the path of having his character getting into more trouble. This would lead eventually to his suffering from teenage depression and low self esteem. Corey's character has changed a lot over the years, more than any other character and I'm still working on his character.
The second story in 2003 was "Danger Beneath The Waves" which took place in St. Lucia. the story is pretty dumb but again I liked the locale. Also that year, I wrote "The Arctic Fortress". I tried to cause some friction between the main characters Terry and his friend Van. This is the last mystery to feature Val Thomas as Van's sister. I wanted Terry Van and Val to be like a classic trio but it didn't feel right having Van and Val as brother and sister and that kind of relationship.
In 2004, "The Swamp Treasure" I changed the character of Val Thomas to Jennifer Vincent and she was now just another (female) friend of Terry's and no longer Van's sister. Again I wanted the classic threesome with a female friend. To this day I still like the character of Jenn Vincent, but she is not really a part of the "trio" of friends. This trio was Terry, Van and Corey for a while, now it's Terry, Van and Raj Mistry, an Indian character I created in 2014. Still Jenn is a marked improvement over Val Thomas, who I don't even remember now what her character was like. she was just there.
Also that year I finished "Mystery Of The Golden Pharaoh" where Terry tries to locate a missing university student. This was followed by "Mystery Of Skull Island" and the creation of another new major character. Melissa Mulhall.
When I realized Terry and Jenn Vincent were not going to work out as a couple, but as friends, I needed another character to take her place as Terry's girlfriend. Melissa is introduced in "Mystery Of Skull Island" and remains Terry's girlfriend to the present time. She is fearless and likes danger and has a sense of humour and is a good fit for Terry, I think. She becomes good friends with Jenn and I like their relationship as well.
"The Spine Chilling Challenge" followed that same year. It has the distinction of being the last mystery I wrote by hand. And also the last mystery to be written in third person POV. My writing, while improving, was getting stale and I found it difficult to get momentum--besides my hand was getting tired doing all the writing in pen! We had purchased a computer in 2003 so I figured I might as well get into the 21st century.
So, after 2004 I took a small break from Terry Macdonald. But I wasn't idle during that time. My next post will deal with a major change to the series and one that took my writing to a whole new level. Stay tuned....