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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

We Have A Corpse

"The Janus Games" now has an official murder as of this morning. I had started to wonder if perhaps not enough was happening early in the story, but I think I've corrected that. I often lose track of how far into it I really am, getting that nagging I'm-starting-too-slow feeling because of how many days I've been working on it or what chapter I'm on. Now that someone has been murdered, not to mention two main characters having been shot at, I feel more comfortable with the progress. Having the killer's point of view in the story early sometimes doesn't seem like enough suspense to me although that's its intended purpose.

All things considered, suspense is the whole point, no matter what kind of story you're telling. It's about making the reader interested enough in the characters and what's going on with them to keep on reading to find out what that is. I've read--or started to read--any number of books where nothing much seemed to happen in the early stages and I lost interest. I've also heard or read reviews of others where people had the same complaint, although some actually manage to stick with them and maybe the story finally gets going. I don't have the patience, I guess. I have also started to read books, figured out what the end will be within the first chapter, and then turned to the back to verify it.

That being said, some of my favorite books of all time were slow starters. What they lacked in action in the early stages, they made up for in fascinating characters. I became interested in the people enough to keep reading. One author in particular that comes to mind in this category is John Grisham. "The Firm" and "Runaway Jury" are up there on my favorite books list.

But back to the subject of suspense. Since I have some idea of what's coming next, I stay excited about my own story. The tricky thing is to reveal enough of that idea soon enough to hold the attention of a reader who doesn't know what's coming next, to make them want to know what's coming next. That's part of the fun.

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