Monday, October 30, 2006
On The Starting Grid
I left the house in daylight, which felt weird. All last week it was night time when I was leaving the house, now with a later start, it's daylight again. It was very overcast with a chilly wind. Not very nice but there you go. I like it to be dark and calm. Rain is good too.
With only two days to go until the big NaNoWriMo kick-off, I'm wondering when exactly I should begin the marathon. Midnight on Tuesday night, or 5am on Wednesday morning. Both is out of the question - I would be dead within the week.
I think I may start at 5am on Wednesday. I can get to my bed early the night before and rise at five. Get ready for work and put pen to paper for the first few words of Slick. I already have it all mapped out in my head. It begins, "It was a dark and stormy night."
Had a bit of a thought drama at one point though. While running through the synopsis and imagining it in my head, I began to think that maybe I should write this from DI Lennox's point of view. It could be his first case. But then a lot of what I have planned would become redundant so I scrapped that idea.
I'll use the story to bring in Lennox and find out more about him that way first. I want this to be about Ronnie, to follow him on a personally journey as he discovers who he is. He has a lot of soul searching to do in the coming weeks so it has to be from his point of view. Besides, I like the idea of seeing it from the crimnials point of view while including the copper in pursuit.
I am also having trouble with the ending. It's convergant and dramatic, but I don't think there is enough of a twist. There is a big twist earlier in the story about half-way through, but I'm not sure how to (or if I should) double this up with another. Or even, if I should shift the first twist to the end of the book. I've got it straight in my head as it stands just now, so maybe it will be a case of "write it and see".
One thing I do know, is that there are characters in this novel, as with everything else I have written, who have yet to make themselves known. So I should be prepared for it.
Then, on my way home walking through the streets of Leith, I hit upon a fantastic idea. I've felt since the beginning of this project that there was something missing, an ingredient to Slick that would give it more spice and a real hard-hitting edge. Something to pull it out of the mediocre pile and into the potential best-seller pile. I just sensed it.
Then on the way home, it hit me. There is a sub-plot I can tie in that threads the whole way through the book, without shifting the current twist mid-way through, and be as explosive as you could imagine. It is logical to the theme and topical. Plus it is very exciting and really does pull the story out of the mundane. That's all I'm saying. It was a moment of pure epiphany. I saw the light. My muse spoke to me, nay, she screamed to me loudly.
I spent the rest of the night filling out the synopsis to integrate the new sub-plot. It literally stretches from the first chapter right through to when it is revealed at the final climax. Only then, will the reader see it. I expanded all the character profiles, too. Most were already done but I had left DI Lennox empty, other than the fact he enjoys the odd cigarette and alcoholic beverage.
Lennox spoke to me. Told me about his past, what makes him tick, what pisses him off and what he thinks about his life thus far. I am relieved first of all that he is nothing like Thorne, Rebus, Taggart et al. He has his own personality and is more of an enigma than I thought I was capable of creating. I cannot wait to write about him in this story, and I am looking forward to giving him something of his own. Mustn't lose sight of the fact the book is not about him, but he will be a powerful supporting character.
As I tried to wind down for the night, I felt like a Formula One Ferrari sitting on the starting grid, my engine revving loudly with the handbrake on. I'm poised and ready to let go, to hear the screech of rubber on tarmac, and leave clouds of burning rubber in my wake as I roar off into the unknown. There will be twists and turns, potential crashes and burns, but it's going to be a superb journey. I can feel it. I've got the plot, sub-plots, characters and format all worked out. I just need to hear that starter's gun!