Sunday, March 02, 2008

Inside a writer's head

I thought you might enjoy a peek into the way I write. As you see by the last few posts, the story isn't all plotted out - after the second post, I really had no idea what the shrink's secret would be. Details are not planned out - they appear as the characters develop. These excerpts were from the sequel to a thriller I wrote called 'The Raptor', which introduces Rachel as the psychic detective. The sequel, which has the working title 'Jesus Wept' is not all plotted and outlined. Instead, I'm working from a synopsis, which is what I usually do.

Here is the synopsis:

They are the homeless, the dead-beats, the ones nobody wants or cares for - except Jesus. Jesus is a pimp. He's got twelve girls under his wing. He makes sure they have decent clothes, good food, and a nice room. He's attached to his motley group of drug addicts, runaways, and teenage prostitutes. But someone is not as fond of Jesus' whores, and they're being executed, one after another. At his wit's end, Jesus turns to the only person he thinks can help him. Special agent Chris Winter. Because Chris found Severina when she went missing. Maybe Chris can find out who killed her. Chris, running into a dead end at every turn, asks Rachel to help him. Rachel, who's dreams can often show her what happened, agrees. But nothing has prepared her for the kind of hell she's about to witness.

Out of this synopsis, comes the story.
Do I know exactly what will happen? No, I don't. I know 'who dunnit', the 'bad guy' is already a character, and his reasons and actions are already understood. Having a son who is studying pathological psychology is a big plus sometimes - he's my sounding board, telling me what works and what won't work.
I know the characters, but I don't know what will happen to them as they try to find out who is killing these young girls. I can only imagine...
I guess that's what I'm best at doing.


Gabriele C. said...

I work pretty much the same way; only that I know the parts of the plot dictated by history, and that I write out of order for more fun and confusion. :)

Btw, thank you for your comment on my snippet. I changed a few details and it should work better now.

The huge boar squealed and snapped its teeth, then hurled itself towards them, the head with the terrible tusks lowered in charge.

The men positioned their spears to meet the beast; King Alareiks ahead, balancing the long shaft. The boar veered to the side and escaped the weapon. A step behind the king, Teja thrust at it, the spearhead hit but the boar shook it off. Teja jumped aside. The boar stormed on through the group of hunters who gave way before its fierce assault. Men shouted, someone stumbled, cursing; an arrow whistled and hit a tree with a wooden thunk.

I'm not going near one of the beasts with nothing but a spear. I'd like to have a machine gun or grenade, thank you very much. :)

Gabriele C. said...

Oh, and Alamir is severely wounded by the tusk and will need the aid of a Roman military surgeon from the Vindobona - and right now a fun little idea struck me: what if the surgeon is accompanied by Aurelius Idamantes, the officer in charge, who will later turn out to be Alamir's half brother.


Bernita said...

Sam, it's more fun that way.

Sam said...

Gabriele - I am scared of wild boars, having once been charged by one - I inadvertantly got in between a mother and her babies while strolling through the woods. Not a fun moment. They do snap their teeth - it's quite loud and means they mean business, lol.
I guessed Amamir would be wounded - those tusks have an incredibly sharp edge. I think it's a good action scene, and a good way to get Alamir in contact with his half brother!

Bernita - Sometimes I think so, and sometimes I wish I had a more detailed outline. !-)

Rosie said...

Sam, are your synopsis full blown all at once in your head and you have to rush to get them on paper? Or, is it something you think and mull over for a time and it evolves?

Oopsy Daisy said...

Ooohhhh...I like that! The sequel is going to be great I think. I am reading tThe Raptor for the 2nd time and this time writing down comments. It's quite good actually, so don't be scared of my rather lengthy commentary on it that I will be emailing you this week.

Sam said...

Hi Rosie,
No, I have to think about writing the synopsis so that it fits the idea I have. It doesn't pop out all nice like that, lol. The idea is - a guy is killing these teenage prostitutes. I had another character in the last book - Jesus the pimp - I bet he would be crazy with worry. He really cares for his girls. The only person who Jesus trusts is Chris Winter. He'd call him. And then Rachel will get involved. And the murderer is one sick bastard. Poor Rachel.
Well, that's what I was thinking as I worked on the synopsis.

Daisy - my brutal beta reader - thank you!

John Nez said...

Well in my case, having a teenage son would provide invaluable insight into the psychology of the criminal mind! (glad those teenage years are almost over with!)

I'll be trying out one of your lines on my bank manager this morning as I seek to have some overdraft charges dropped. We'll see how they work...


Sam said...

Good luck with the bank, John!

Absolute Vanilla (& Atyllah) said...

This is so interesting, Sam. Unlike you, I don't even have a synopsis or vague outline to work to when I start. I just start and wait to see where the story and the characters will take me. It's a bit of a rollercoaster but a huge adventure - as Bernita says, much more fun to write this way! :-)

Anonymous said...

I am loving this Sam! I like the way your mind works :)