Derry, Northern Ireland

Derry, Northern Ireland
A book I'm working on is set in this town.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

It has to make sense...

As I was working on my minimal corrections to The Vanishing of Owen Taylor, I asked myself a question about why a certain person wasn't killed...which led me to wonder why another person wasn't also dead...and my brain snapped into chaos. It's one of those logical problems I stumble into where what I've written, if honestly contemplated by someone heavy into mysteries, will come across as stupid and ill-conceived. I kill them? Have someone else involved in the final explanation? Change the timeline for it all, or something. Because as it now stands, it doesn't work. All this effort and angst and head-pounding and it still doesn't work. I need to think it through, again...and wonder how long it will take for the next problem to pop up.

There's a story that when Howard Hawks was turning The Big Sleep into a movie, he and his screenwriter couldn't figure out who killed the family chauffeur. So they called Raymond Chandler, who wrote the book...and he didn't know, either. They fixed it in the film by alluding to who did it without actually saying it, but that's the dilemma I'm in. I either have to kill off two more characters or change the timeline...and neither will be an easy fix.

I've learned Frederick Forsythe, author of Day of the Jackal and Dog Soldiers and The Odessa File, would make a synopsis of each chapter before he began to write his book. That's how he was able to keep track of everything and make sure it fit together. Then all he needed to do was type up the story and maybe do one more draft and he was set. But then...he started out as a journalist so has a different way of looking at stories.

I went the opposite direction and did a light synopsis of the chapters after I'd written the book. And so got lost in the contradictions and inconsistencies. Jake is good, now. Tone...not as much but not nonsensical. Matt's cool. It's everybody else who's messing with me as regards the plot. And this is one of those genres where everything has to make sense.

Whether I like it or not.

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