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Thursday, March 21, 2013


So far today, 21 hits on this blog, up there in the record books. My inclination is to believe that it had a lot to do with the wonderful comment I received on yesterday's post. Any author who doesn't publish with the big houses knows how much effort must go into self promotion, and word of mouth is a huge component of that.

Now I must confess something. In a way, I broke one of the rules in my sixth novel, "Stranger Faces." Usually, I'm the first one to cite the rule about getting the story's conflict out there as close to page one as possible. In "Stranger Faces," I tried something a little different which stretches that rule, and I'm going to explain why I did it. My POV character, Tracy Wiley, is your basic amateur sleuth even though she's not investigating a murder in this one. She's a shoot-from-the-hip, seat-of-the-pants type of problem solver, figuring out moves to get herself out of jams on the spur of the moment. (How's that for overloading on cliches?)

In her latest adventure, she's hired by her old friend, C.I.A. agent Kevin Fox, to accompany him on a road trip to Chicago to help him figure out who betrayed him on his latest assignment. He wants Tracy along to throw anyone watching him off guard since they won't know who she is or why she's with him. He's out in the cold (oh, do the cliches never end?) and doesn't know who in the intelligence community he can trust. He gives her very little information to work with, so she's flying blind. Later, she gets dragged back into his troubles, in serious danger, and must figure it all out for herself.

Now, back to the broken rule. The book opens with Tracy doing her normal job, which is solving people's non-legal issues for an hourly fee. Later, after her trip with Fox, she does another routine job for a regular client, and then further on, a third one, not so routine. These mundane jobs are the set up for her problem solving skills, giving her someone to turn to for help when she needs it. While the situation with Fox is presented in Chapter 1, the heart of the conflict and the dangerous situation she faces are unveiled more gradually. Since it's all told in first person from Tracy's viewpoint, I wanted the trouble to be unclear to her (and the reader), unfolding as she investigated it.

Okay, confession over. In a way, I did follow the rule about getting the story started as close to page one as possible, but I did it sort of sneaky. Maybe even a little bit of a refreshing change?

Something I wrote here triggered a Gotcha for today. cite/site/sight You cite a rule or regulation. A building is erected on a site. What you do with your eyes is sight.

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