At home with Alice Anne McDonnell, amateur detective

Posted: October 2, 2011 in Uncategorized

Cee and I had a great time yesterday finding houses that I can use for my detective’s home base, the victim’s house, and local color.  For example, my detective is a 50 year old woman, single, who works out of a home office.  She’s a grief counselor, so her house must look attractive, stable, a little old-fashioned, inviting.  It has to be a place where grieving people can come and feel safe to talk, so it has to be homey.  I wanted a two story wood house with a full length front porch.  It should have a nice front door, wood with a frosted glass insert.  Something a little old-fashioned, almost Victorian.  The house can even have some ginger bread.  It should be set back from the street a bit.

The front yard will have a nice lawn, green and weed free.  There will be a big tree in the front yard, but placed off to the corner of the house so that it shades the walk but doesn’t obscure the house.   There might be some other greenery around the house, but it’s kept to a minimum.  No flowers.  Grieving people don’t need to be walking into a bright and colorful place.   It would be too much of a dichotomy from where their lives are right now.  They need stability and warmth, comfort.  They need the opposite of the chaos in which they find themselves now, and a flower fantasy of dazzling color isn’t that.  Alice’s house will be an quietly understated refuge.

There will not be any signage in front of the house proclaiming its purpose, but there will be a small plaque beside the front door inviting people in.  The front porch will have a pair of comfortable chairs with a little cafe table between them.  On nice days, Alice has been known to sit out on the porch and read a book while waiting for a client.  She likes to be able to greet them as they arrive.

Isn’t that a lovely setting?  Wouldn’t you like to come visit?

I don’t know what the interior looks like yet.  The furnishings will be modern, comfortable.  Alice wouldn’t want the furniture to be too big or stuffy.  Nice comfortable pieces covered in microfiber so they clean up well.  The bottom floor would have to hold Alice’s office, a powder room for her clients, the kitchen with an eating nook, and a utility room that holds a washer and dryer and access to the backyard.  Alice has parking in back of the house.  Clients use on-street parking, and since this is a small town there is plenty of it right in front of the house.  Convenient and simple.

It’s fun getting to know my main character.  I want to write a whole series of books featuring her.  I don’t intend for this book to be a one time shot, so who she is, what she looks like, what her values are, and where she lives are important to me.  I’ve been spending a lot of time getting to know her and how she thinks, seeing the world through her eyes.

What’s on for today?  I want to finish writing my outline of the story.  Come November, I want an idea of how the story begins and where it is going.  Once I start writing it, and the characters take on a life of their own, that outline may fall to pieces, but at least I’ll have an idea of what I wanted to write about.  I’m hoping it will help when I’m feeling bogged down.


  1. Cee Neuner says:

    We did have a lot of fun yesterday!! It’s fun getting to know your characters too!

  2. amberrosalie says:

    Wow. I can’t wait to read your novel. It sounds like it’s going to be amazing; really thought through. (:
    Also, thanks for adding me to your blog roll! I have a link to my actual NaNo blog in my latest post now. Good luck with your outlining and character development! 😀
    Amber. xx

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