Trying Something New

>> Saturday, January 27, 2007

I've been going over my notes for the manuscript I've decided to work on next -- DEAD MAN'S HAND -- and I've discovered that it's different from the last two that I've been working on for the last year.

HIDING IN PLAIN SIGHT is a semi-mystery--Who is the serial killer? How is he connected to the heroine? The answer, while not immediately apparent, isn't purposely hidden either. The killer immediately has a name, an identity. What the reader doesn't know is how he's connected to the heroine. That is revealed about 3/4 of the way through the book, changing the suspense element from who is it? to how will they catch him?

SAFE IN ENEMY ARMS is a suspense. The reader immediately knows who the villain is. His GMC is clearly defined. What the reader doesn't know, is what he will do next, given the road blocks he's encountering with the heroine. That's one element of suspense. Another is being in the heads of the heroine, the hero and the villain, watching them watch each other and attempt to keep their own agendas in tact. It's like watching an accident about to happen. You can't look away from impending disaster. (At least that's the effect I was going for. Whether or not I achieved it is a whole different matter.)

DEAD MAN'S HAND is much more of a mystery. Their are no scenes in the villain's pov. We are never inside the villain's head. I do, however, put the reader in the victims' heads just before death -- which is another new technique for me. What we know of the killer, we are shown through each victim's eyes. And the killer isn't revealed until the very end.

So, I'm in new territory again. But then, I'm still a relatively new writer, so just about everything is new territory to me.

Elizabeth Lyons, a writer of craft books who I took a class with some months ago, said that a writer's apprenticeship is an average of 10 years.

I'm only half way through my apprenticeship. How about you? Where are you in your apprenticeship? What new techniques are you trying out in your current WIP?


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