Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Writing Close to Home

Tonight I reviewed a chapter that, as far as I recall, is the first instance where I used a real-life incident as the basis of a scene in the novel. The chapter opens with good-veterinarian/bad-mayor Ed Jackman putting Abby Kamarsky's pet cat Bootsie to sleep. The writing's fairly shallow, but I tried to remember the basics of what happened almost five years ago when Dina and I had to put Mandy, our Sheltie, to sleep. Ms. Kamarsky goes a bit hysterical after Jackman leaves the room; that happened, although we didn't sob "Boooooooot-seeee-eeeee-eeeee," (or "Maaaaaaaan-deeee-eeeee-eeeee") as she does in the novel. Still, tears and snot did flow freely for quite awhile.

In other close-to-home writing news, as I was nearing home tonight after Wednesday church activities, I came up with a new opening line for Chapter One. There was a piece of paper towel on the passenger seat (don't ask why), so I grabbed it, positioned it in the center of the steering wheel and, as I drove along at 55mph, wrote: "David Graham was a man possessed." Not brilliant, I know (especially as I was approaching a hairpin turn), but it immediately follows the Prologue which covers a demonic plot of some sort (it's intentionally vague). I'd like it to not be immediately clear who the agent of the demon N'Vonecz is, though it'll probably be spoiled by the back-cover synopsis. If nothing else, it'll help me set the pace and tone as Graham tears around Graphite looking for a newspaper. If I lose the line later, that's fine, as long as the pace and tone get established properly.