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Tuesday, June 4, 2013

A Name Change and a Dilemma

Made more progress on the new Jack Watson book yesterday and some this morning as well, and I have decided to change the working title to "The Janus Rule." This came from a bit of conversation about suspects as Jack tries to figure out who would want to kill him. Becca, his office assistant, quotes one of Jack's former bosses when his firm was Riley and McBride. Riley would cite what he called the Janus Rule, that anyone can turn two faced when properly motivated. This little piece came to me early this morning while still in bed, but it had one of those ah-ha-oh-yeah effects.

Now for the dilemma part. As part of her investigation, Angel will interview staff members at an accounting firm. She must pretend to be gathering information for a publicity brochure while secretly evaluating each person's potential to be the turncoat who is giving or selling information to a competing firm, i.e., looking for the Janus among them. Cute, huh?

Anyway, my quandary is how much of these interviews to include. If I focus on only the one with the real perpetrator, in order to hint at motive, I could give it away too early. I can include a few others as red herrings, but then I have to account for introducing those people in a substantial way. It's sort of like what happens in movies and television. If the actor gets a line to speak, then he must get his name in the credits. I don't like the idea of someone reading the book and at the end realizing that a character of no import whatsoever got "face time" just to fool the reader.

Having written that, I suspect the fair thing would be to have some of the interviews "on stage" as it were, and while the real bad person will be among them, the others will provide clues to who that bad person is. To not have the main bad guy appear well before the big finale wouldn't be fair either. I believe in fair play in fiction, that the reader must have enough clues to get close to figuring it all out or at least to narrow the suspect list.

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