Tag Archives: mystery

Vicky Maynard

In one of my first posts to this blog, I described how my story ideas begin as random images that acquire a life of their own.

For over a year, one such image has been begging me to give it form. The image is of a young woman sitting in the windowless basement of a police station, working her way through boxes of carefully catalogued documents relating to unsolved crimes — witness statements, police reports, autopsy findings, and so on. Hardly an original concept, and one that no doubt came from watching too many cold-case documentaries.

The young woman is taking notes as she thumbs through the never-ending pile of documents when she comes across something decidedly odd. A small sheet of paper without an identifying code, handwritten and unsigned — a hastily scribbled list naming not only the victim and perpetrator of a particularly heinous murder, but details of the crime scene, the weapon used, and the location of both weapon and body.

Upon investigation, all these details prove to be correct, leaving the protagonist and the police with the mystery of who wrote the list and how it found its way into a folder of archived documents.

I could think of several paranormal explanations for the presence of the note, but I’m reluctant to embark on yet another psychic mystery.

Yet something about this particular scenario continues to intrigue me, and I’ve begun to develop it one step at a time, stopping and retreating whenever the narrative threatens to get out of hand.

The female protagonist now has a name — Vicky Maynard — and has acquired a profession, that of a journalist working for an online news site.

With any luck, I may be able to upload a preliminary draft of Vicky’s story to Leanpub within the next few months.

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The Novel that Never Was

Six months’ of sporadic writing and my fifth novel is slowly going nowhere.

Like my other novels, this one started as a clear image of the protagonist and a vague idea of what was going to happen to him.

Yes, him. I’ve broken with my string of female protagonists and decided to try rooting, if not playing, for the other team.

All the building blocks that formed a solid foundation for my earlier works are there. My imaginary hero has no idea what’s happening to him. Which, as any readers of my previous blog posts will know, has always been the case. It’s the way I write.

Except in this case the protagonist hasn’t cooperated by generating the narrative for himself.

It must be writer’s block. I say ‘must’ as I’m not sure. It’s a first.

I have a few theories to explain the lack of inspiration. The one I favour most is that I’ve stepped, unwarily, into the realm of science-fiction. A realm in which extraordinary things happen and demand extraordinary explanations. In addition to a convincing narrative I have to create an equally convincing background, some of which requires specialist knowledge of several scientific fields.

As my current protagonist has moved from day to day and scene to scene, I’ve been plagued with uncertainty about not realism but consistency.

An author can write a fictional location into her story but, to be convincing, that location has to follow certain common-sense rules, otherwise the story lurches into the realm of fantasy.

I’ve made a pact with myself. Finish the first chapter, introduce the main supporting character, and then stop and decide whether to continue or abandon ship.

Apologies to my loyal readers, but please bear with me and watch this space.

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