So, a few days ago, I got most of the second chapter of Real Stakes on paper (so to speak). I felt a little dissatisfied with it, and as I started to re-read, I found I was too bored with my own writing to even re-read it.
In case you're wondering, that's bad.
Oh, and when you're writing a suspense thriller, psychological or not, that's even worse.
Fortunately, at this point in my development, I'm pretty self-aware and working on becoming increasingly willing to be honest with myself. That's a good thing, I promise, but it's also painful sometimes. Here's how it went down this time:
The first chapter of the book is all about the gamblers. It reads at a pretty good piece for the opening of chaotic suspense novel. The second chapter includes, among other things, the introduction of The Detangler, the investigator who will be pursuing the gamblers. It reads like a masters thesis on highway construction. Interesting enough if you're into it, but tedious for 95% of the readership and the author.
As I thought about it, I realized my problem is that whenever I write investigation into a story, it is very much like writing a mystery. I like my mysteries to be extremely tidy. They can be convoluted, but the reader's gotta have a fair chance, the cloues have to add up, and the interpretation has to be logical and reasoned out. In my hands, that ends up reading like science. And it's just not interesting.
What a revelation to have!
I may be able to write suspense, but I can't do cops and detectives, at least not in any traditional sense. Crazy. Especially since one of my main characters in my WIP is just such a person.
I was chatting about this dilemma on Frances Garrood's blog and she suggested changing the cat in my cat and mouse to someone other than a cop. That seemed reasonable, so I threw the question out to Rose: "Who chases after bad guys?" Her top three answers:
1. Police officers.
3. Their ex-wive's.
Ah-ha! There was an idea... And thus I am in the process of transforming The Detangler from a married man who gets into the case because of an array of clues that lead him there into an ex-wife who gets intot he case because of personal ties to someone on the "other side."
Much more psychological, much less detectivey.
I'm breathing easier and actually much happier with this direction, but I will admit that it was a mini-crisis getting there.
Any of the rest of you run into those kind of revelations suddenly in the middle of something you were working on and thought you had planned out and under control?