Comfort Zone Breeched

Fifteen hundred words in and I’m already having trouble with this new book, I’m currently calling LUCKY TOWN. But I’m also feeling very excited about the possibilities with this new job for my MC and the newer storyline. The first problem I faced right after I completed the first chapter was one of POV. Dave White suggested it might be nice to have have part of the book from the POV of the guy my MC is looking for and I agree that it would be cool. But that would have to be in third person and so far the first chapter was written in first person. That’s all I’ve ever written in novel length, with one minor exception.

So I switched to third person for chapter two and it sounded pretty good, but I’ve always hated the idea of mixing 1st and 3rd. When Michael Koryta came up to Ann Arbor last week he was talking about this very thing and he said he always viewed it as cheating and I tend to agree. There are certainly people who do it well. I immediately think of Jason Pinter’s who’s great new book THE MARK does this well, and Dave’s own WHEN ONE MAN DIES. Robert Crais and Harlan Coben have also done great books this way, but it still feels like cheating so I think I’m going to go back and rewrite the first chapter in third person. I think it will actually be easier to write in 3rd person, but the temptation to show more than I tell about my characters will be great and I’ll really have to keep an eye on that.

Another problem I faced with the second chapter is one of my long-time weakness, action scenes. Since this book and everything about it are more geared toward thriller territory (someplace I’m much less familiar with than PI territory) I’m going to have to have action scenes. Chapter Two will be a hospital escape and I smacked into a wall almost right away. My action scenes always feel false and ridiculous and just generally crappy. I’ll probably end up having to throw out several tries before I get the scene right, and I guess that’s fine, (what better way to learn?), but it just puts me further from the finish line.

On a positive note, I have a much stronger grasp on the story than I have ever had when I started a project. It helps that much of the underlying story of SCARS will be used for this book, just told in a different way. So I sat down with my new Moleskin notebook yesterday and sketched out a basic outline and a series of action-reaction plot points to get me through the ugly middle part and the first two-thirds of the book are solid. I’ll do the same thing with the last third after I’ve gotten more of the book underway.

So while it mostly sucks, and it’s hard, and I’m treading on feeble skills here, the book is coming along. I wrote 1000 words yesterday and I’ll write 1000 more today, even after I cut the 500 from chapter two. Good thing I’m still young and stupid…