Thursday, January 14, 2010

2010: Day 14 - The Aha! Moment

Yup, today I had one of those moments that made me stop dead in my tracks and say, whoa!

Let’s backtrack a bit, originally my PI, Rhonie Lude, in chapter 30, breaks into the business of a man who had recently been killed and who was tied to the individual she has been paid to follow. In the victim’s calendar, she finds someone's name she hadn’t expected to see. She had no idea those two were connected and so she begins to suspect the worse. It seemed like a good, plausible clue that could lead the reader to the killer. But, as I began to work on the plot change I mentioned yesterday, something really remarkable happened—the aha moment!

The scene I was working on today, (17) is when the police find a man dead of a bullet shot to the head.  Here the homicide detective calls Lude in the middle of the night and asks her to go to the scene of the crime. Lude can't understand why he'd want her involved in his homicide case, but when she arrives, she discovers the victim is someone she’d recently seen with the individual she was paid to follow. As she and the detective discuss the man’s death, he shows her something he took out of the man's wallet.

What is it? Sorry, can't say--but it has something to do with what I originally had written in chapter 30. Now the dective has two reasons to watch Rhonie Lude. How much more intriguing this has become now that he confronts Lude with the incriminating evidence. Of course, she knows exactly what’s going on, but she's not talking.

2010: Day 13 -- The Page Turner

Yesterday, I posted a note that during my third edit of "Shroud of Lies" I decided to change the way two of my characters die and who caused their deaths.  Yes, I'll need to change large sections in several chapters in order to pull this off and on the surface, it seems like a major change, but it seems to me that for all the work and time that goes into writing a novel, spending a few extra days/weeks to perfect it isn't that much to ask.

After both "Silenced Cry" and "The Devil Can Wait" were released, I received numerous e-mails from readers who said they couldn't put the books down. Several mentioned staying up late into the morning hours to finish one more chapter.  I want to believe that's true-that those readers truly enjoyed the books and are patiently waiting for me to publish the next one. And yet, when I read through those pages, I know I haven't yet written my best book.  It's in here someplace waiting to come out--may be it will in "Shroud of Lies." At any rate, this isn't the time to relax. To not try to improve, to not push my skills to the next level would be the next crime I'd have to write about.

I mean, isn't making the next book better than the one before what it's all about?  Writing a story that's so good, so compelling that readers will lose sleep?  I think so. This article by author Elizabeth Sims pretty much says it all.