Rubber Chickens and Peanut Butter

Well, that was a weird freaking Christmas.

It was warm and rainy and felt more like a church Sunday than a holiday. And yes, I know it should be a pleasure to go to God’s house for his son’s birthday but man, when it means I have to get up at 7am to open presents it’s hard to be happy about that. And then, for the first year I can ever remember, I spent Christmas evening at someone else’s home. After a brief visit up here to exchange presents with my sister and parents, Toledo and I headed back to her family homestead for their celebration. Highlights of the evening included Christmas crackers, disposable headwear, and being showered with gifts including a rubber chicken and a jar of peanut butter. I then managed to avoid coming home until well into Tuesday evening. And apparently while I was out of town, Tribe swooped in and invaded my territory and wrangled an invite to a Michigan writer’s party I was not invited to.

Now that the holiday madness is over though, I can get back to the work at hand which is finishing my next book. I’ve finally managed to get into first draft land where I don’t worry about writing good prose, just complete prose. Much of it is fine, some of it less so, but none of it is truly awful and I guess that’s all I can ask for. The main flaw I’ve started noticing though, is the skill level of my PI. My first book, the infamous Lunchbox Hero, featured a PI who was young and inexperienced, which I also happend to be, so it was a perfect fit and I figured he’d grow in skill as I did.

This new guy though, is still sounding a bit green as an investigator even though he’s supposed to have put in at least five or six years as a Vice cop. I don’t outline, so my first draft process is to start with an idea and a client for my guy and then proceed with the investigation as I would if I were the PI. Now I’m not exactly a knob when it comes to investigations, Ive got common sense, and a nose for trouble developed as a police reporter, but I would not qualify as an advanced student in skip tracing which is what my guy does. I’m wondering if this is even something I should worry about. Can it be developed more in later drafts? And if I do need to tweak it, should I work on making my guy sound as experienced as he should be or make him less experienced to fit my knowledge level?

Anybody else working with characters smarter than their creators?