So, I’m thinking of taking a big step-writing a short story (with the above as title) that will hopefully, with love and attention, become a long story. It’s going to be a crime/horror yarn with an idea that’s been humming in my brain for a while: what if there was a killer with no victims? He’s seen in their area, he has a shaky alibi, the people vanish with evidence of foul play-but there’s never a body. It grew out of an observation I made one day while out to lunch (and I was eating, too). I saw an old doorway, one of those entrances to a downstairs apartment or storage room. The door was dusty and old-no idea when it had been used. And I imagined a group of cops breaking it down and finding a body that had clearly been only recently killed. They could be anywhere, hidden behind a door you pass everyday…..
It’s an interesting idea, I think, but it needs some work, and I’ve never really written a “villain” character, as much as I like to read them. It will be an interesting challenge. I’ll add updates as I get bits done. First up: characters. The problem, and one I’m actually oddly looking forward to beating, is now not to make anyone too evil or too heroic. I’ve not had the right life experiences to capture either mindset, and so building them will be something worth doing, even if I fail at it.
And then of course there’s that old creative boogeyman: how to make it unique, different, stand out from the crowd? At the same time, you don’t want that “hook” to be too obvious or silly: “He’s a cop, but he’s a black gay leper in an iron lung!” A book’s plot should likewise be simple to sum up, but not always easy to categorize; the movie trick of framing a story as “X meets Y” whether that’s Godzilla and Harry Potter or boy and girl works fine for a visual medium, but the human imagination is thousands of times more complex than any movie, and so it needs more grist for the mill.
I’ll add updates as I get bits done.