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Thursday, December 13, 2012

I'm Looking Out for a Villain

Thinking about "Seer, Tyro, Fiend" this morning, I realized that I had not considered the plot in very much depth. This is my usual pattern though. I have a basic idea of somebody doing something bad, but at some point I must flesh out exactly who, what, how, and why. As I began to do that, I realized something else: I need another bad-guy candidate. After all, I don't want to make it too easy to figure out what's going on! I pondered this while driving to work and believe I have come up with an answer, but I must go back over my manuscript thus far and plant the seeds for it. Oddly enough, I still don't know how the story will end up, but I seldom do at this early phase.

My other thought since shutting down writing yesterday evening was that "Seer, Tyro, Fiend" strays from the classic format of the mystery genre. Whereas "Dabblers" began with a murder, the sequel does not. Sometimes, the whole genre thing gets in the way of a good tale. I have a situation in my head which stirs me, excites me, and I think it will excite other people the same way. (At least, I hope so.) Earlier in my writing career, I rewrote a book to fit a specific genre because a publisher only took that genre of book and were mildly interested. That novel was not published. Lesson learned: Stick with your inspiration and don't try too hard to twist it just to sell it.

I read an article yesterday, recommended by someone from Chicago Writers Association, regarding the use of first person point of view versus third person. He wrote very negatively about first person, saying it would be impossible for a person to remember details at the level required to tell the story that way. But I believe people are familiar enough with first person narratives that it doesn't really jar anyone, and I think it has some advantages. First, I get to take the reader into the protagonist's head, hear her thoughts, feel what she feels. Second, it better supports a straight-line plot where everything known happens to or in view of one person. I wrote the Jack Watson novels in third person for a reason. My detective was not trying to solve a murder, as I believe that is a task which belongs to law enforcement. He comes at the mystery sideways and must piece it together from clues he has. By writing in third person, I can switch viewpoints to put the reader in the action as some events happen and have Jack discover them later without having someone someone tell him about them in detail.

On another subject, my activities on Twitter seem to be generating a lot of action. One new follower complimented me on my website (whether it was this one or the Google site, I'm not sure). It's very rewarding to know that visitors enjoy this site, and I always welcome either comments here or sent to my email address shown at the top of the page.

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