Friday, January 2, 2009

Back at work on the novel

Posting yesterday's entry on New Year's resolutions seems to have pushed me off the dime, at least a little, on Resolution No. 1 -- to resume work on that fourth Steve Martinez novel.

One of the problems I was having was shaping a convincing character to be my killer. None of those I'd created really seemed to possess a plausible motive to deprive another human being of his life and to be the kind who would develop sufficient skill with a weapon highly unusual in the commission of serial murder.

So yesterday morning, a few minutes after putting up that blogpost, right out of the blue I hit upon a new character to insert into Chapter One of Hang Fire, and now maybe at last I've come unstuck.

My task is not just to give a person enough physical description to allow the reader to see that person, but also to build a history that lets the reader know him or her. (I am deliberately being vague about the gender. Think I'm going to telegraph everything?)

Right this moment a telling detail to dab into my developing portrait has just occurred to me. It's a detail that carries an important clue to the plot but also one that won't immediately cause the reader to say "Aha! Here's the killer!" At least I hope so.

Now to go insert that detail . . .


  1. Go Henry, Go! I can't wait. Don't worry about the shape of the publishing business. Have book, will get published (somehow). First step is to have book. If nothing else you can circulate it to all of us who have been waiting....

  2. Yes, Mike, there's a good possibility that we midlist mystery writers might have to consider peddling our wares from our websites if the publishing industry doesn't recover.

    Already a couple of science fiction writers are experimenting with posting the first chapters of new novels on their sites for free, then offering the rest for download at a price. This may be one wave of the future.

  3. And not a good future. I still like my novels in PRINT BOOKS that I can read. I don't want a download, I want a book!!

  4. Mike, I think you can be confident that the printed book won't die a quick death. Because people over 50 like to absorb information and entertainment between covers, the numbers of printed titles probably will diminish slowly.

    At the same time, as the iGenerations grow both larger and older, the e-book will become common and probably within the next decade -- perhaps even earlier -- become dominant.

  5. Where ever you sell the book it will be bought!

    I love reading about my town and feelig like it's really happening, there's been a few times where I've been to into the book and went to work and thought about it and it seemed so real that I wanted to talk to people there about what was happening! Thankfully I caught myself, or they probably would have had me sent for a psych eval!