Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Writer's Mind

Happy Thanksgiving, y’all, and I certainly hope you have plans that will provide you with needed R&R, because who doesn’t need a break after this particularly trying time? I plan on spending a lot of the holiday weekend with my face down in notebook pages as I write the new novel, The Rogue Gentleman. I feel very strongly that this is going to be a hot book, and I feel it as strongly as a TSA agent feeling up a three-year-old.

Writing a story is probably one of the most rewarding activities I engage in, because of moments like the other day when I was scribbling a scene between the hero—the aforementioned rogue gentleman—and the police detective he interacts with. My outline doesn’t go into characterizations or anything like that, it just gives the facts of a scene, so it’s up to my imagination and other pre-writing activity to fill in the gaps. The hero of the book is a cigar smoker; when it came time to introduce the detective, he became a cigar smoker, too, but because if his daughter’s college tuition, he can only afford the cheap smokes. This shared habit was the turning point in their conversation, which was supposed to end with them forging an alliance against the bad guys. Before that, the dialogue had to carry the day and it didn’t have the impact I wanted; I didn't think mere words would forge the bond these two needed to make the plans they later make. They needed something else.

At one point the detective leans back in his chair, his jacket falls open, and the hero sees the el cheapo cigar sticking out of his shirt pocket. The hero then produces a much more expensive cigar from his own shirt pocket, the kind the detective wishes he could afford. If the detective likes it, the hero promises to buy him a case. The detective doesn’t take it right away; he’s not sure he should, but then he does and BOOM the dynamic between the characters transformed and suddenly their alliance wasn't so hard to swallow.

The other funny thing about this new book is how much material from an old book I’m incorporating. Every writer has “trunk novels”, stuff they and for a variety of reasons put in a drawer. One of my trunk novels has not only provided material for my previous book Justified Sins, but it’s providing a lot of material for The Rogue Gentleman as well. And there will be enough left over for a third book. It’s the manuscript that keeps on giving. You might be asking, If the trunk novel has so much good stuff, why didn't you publish it by itself? I don't know. I think somebody told me they didn't like it. Maybe I worked on it for too long and lost interest. I can't remember the reason anymore.

I hope you enjoyed this peek into a writer’s mind. I assure you all writers have them; now, when you read a book, maybe you can imagine how the author created what seems like an effortless the story, but you'll know better.

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