Problems in Paradise

on March 22, 2007

The Novella From Hell. My paranormal novella, “Deliver Us From Evil” in the upcoming WHAT YOU CAN’T SEE, is giving me fits. It so wants to be a bigger book. I’m cutting and cutting as I go because every turning point is opening up a huge can of worms. So what did I do? I had my characters have sex. Halfway through the story. I never do that. But it actually seemed to work. I hope. I actually went back and changed a scene where they simply kissed, to a full-blown love scene. But this novella is HARD WORK! How is it that I can write a 100,000 book in six weeks, but a 35,000 word novella has taken twelve, and I’m still not done?

Writing short is hard. I did finish the short story for the Killer Year anthology. Yeah! It turned out pretty good. I called it “Killing Justice.” A little longer than it was supposed to be (5,900 words when it was supposed to be 5K) but it had been much longer. I ended up taking out two “scenes” and it worked.

And I’ve started working on book #1 of my trilogy. It’s due fairly quickly, and I could see the beginning, so decided to write it down. But I’m having some problems. First, I don’t know who the heroine is. She’s either Trinity Lange, a reporter, or Lila Devane, a former stripper turned night club owner. They are as different as night and day. My hero, Will, is (has been) a womanizer, but he turned 40 last year and he’s been rethinking his life. His partner is getting married. His best friend is in a coma. The last woman he dated became obsessive. For the first time in his life, he thinks maybe letting himself fall in love is a good thing (he thinks it’s a choice!)

Now, I was going to let Will make up his own mind, but I’m in his head and I don’t see how he’s going to do what I want. (Therein lies the problem–I’m trying to force him to make a choice and I’ve only written two chapters! He hasn’t even MET them yet. Well, he knows Lila. She testified against the killer who escaped. . . . )

Okay, a little background. This is my prison break story. Theodore Glenn, who killed four strippers six years ago (and the convict Will left San Diego to testify at his appeal hearing during the book SPEAK NO EVIL), has escaped from San Quentin after an earthquake gives a small group of convicts an opening in the exercise yard. He has vowed to kill everyone involved with his arrest and conviction. (He made a list of nine people who deserve to die.) As I got into his head, I learned a lot of other interesting things. For example, he has absolutely no remorse. He killed because it was fun and interesting. A change of pace. He didn’t pick strippers because he has a problem with them; he picked strippers because they were easy to get to. He has an ex-wife. He is truly a sociopath.

And he didn’t kill one of the four victims.

So he enlists the help of Trinity Lange. Okay, he threatens her at knifepoint. But she’s a reporter. Though she’s scared to death of Glenn, her curiosity gets the better of her and she starts investigating the murder of the third victim–the former roommate of Lila Devane. Naturally, this puts her and Lila in contact.

Will has his own problems. People start to die and Glenn is at large. Then Trinity contacts the police about Glenn’s appearance in her apartment. (Will is assigned to the call because Glenn is his case.) Will has to also go to Lila and tell her that Glenn escaped (which she knew because she’s not stupid–she saw it on the news) and then I learned when I wrote that short scene that Will and Lila had a relationship during the last investigation! How dare they, I mean, they really messed up my idea of what the story was supposed to be.

I’m not really giving anything away because (right now) this all happens in the first two chapters. The prologue is the earthquake, and this is a couple days later. But do you see the can of worms I have to try and contain? Ugh!

Lila . . . or Trinity. Damn Will is attracted to both of them. Lila is more complex with a lot more baggage. Trinity is very smart with a drive for truth, justice and the American Way. I like both of them for different reasons. And, dammit, so does Will.

So the jury is out. We’ll just have to see what happens, won’t we?

Oh, and then there’s that pesky problem of the third victim, the one Glenn didn’t kill. Now I’m dying to find out who did.

Don’t forget! You have until midnight tonight to comment on any post this last week for a chance to win an early copy of FEAR NO EVIL! And you get to also pick three friends to send one of my backlist to. Yeah! I know, I didn’t ask a question in this post . . . okay, a question.

What was the last book you read? (for me, STIGMA by Philip Hawley; I’m in the middle of BORN IN DEATH by JD Robb.) What was the last movie you saw? (for me, 300. Very violent. Excellent movie. Incredible photography and use of color, imagery, and shadow.) Glad I saw it.