They just had a short special on ESPN featuring the Mets/Braves game in NYC ten days later. And I thought, not for the first time, about the resilience of human beings in the presence, and then the aftermath, of tragedy and catastrophe. The people of NYC then, the people of New Orleans after Katrina and again now after Ida. The same is true in other countries struck by hurricanes, tidal waves, earthquakes.
Then you can shrink it down to the personal tragedies people face every day with the deaths of family or best friends. They grieve, express their sorrow each in their own way, and then most manage to recuperate and move on.
Part of the story in Just Lucky, Book 1 is the main character managing (sort of) to move on from just such a personal tragedy.
Many gripping stories are about people trying and succeeding to move on from tragedy, and others that cannot or will not move on, and inflict tragedy upon others. These stories are special because those people—either totally fictional or real—are outliers. The inability to move on is considered abnormal.
Change of topic:
I didn’t intend it specifically, at least not consciously, but I’ve realized that Lying Swords will be a fantasy series for young adults (YA). I’m stealing from James Patterson on two points.
One, I’m making the chapters shorter. Not as short as he does, but shorter than my usual style. And, I’ve incorporated a serial killer.
Having a psycho killer with short but significant contact with my two main heroes allows all kinds of sub-plots and character interactions. Near the beginning of the story I introduced two police officers who responded when Cory and Tara called about a home invasion/kidnapping attempt. I’ve intended all along to bring these two (a veteran male officer near fifty and a female officer about twenty years younger)back into the story. This gives me the perfect vehicle to that end.
When in college about five decades ago I discovered that writing can be a learning tool. For example, while writing a report on the Edgar A. Poe short story, “The Cask of Amontillado”, I discovered that a possible nature of the insult the narrator had perceived receiving from Fortunato concerned his expertise about wine. I had never read any reviews of the story that suggested this—the idea occurred to me while I was writing about the story.
Writing fiction has a similar benefit. Coming up with a new idea can give birth to lots of other new ideas.
Introducing a serial killer will provide a tense subplot to the story. But the interactions of the killer with the main characters can start a domino effect, where that contact leads to another, which leads to two or three more with other characters, and so on.
Conceivably, the entire narrative of the series could experience a change of direction.
On the reading front, I’m now out of new material. I just finished the James Patterson book, Mary Mary. As I wrote last time, all these Alex Cross stories are similar. A killer of many people is on the loose and Cross must try to stop him (or her) and end the killing. Meanwhile, he also has his family to consider and there’s usually a romance or the possibility of a romance tied into the narrative. Cross always wins (as he should—he’s the narrator) and he always has a little bit of luck to help him out in the final confrontation.
In the final confrontation in Just Lucky, Book 1, there is no luck. It was all planned. Both the bad guy and the good guy planned what they would do, and then did it. It’s just that the good guy did his a little better than the bad guy, and of course the villain under-estimated the hero.
And that’s all for this time. If any of you are interested in writing, I urge you to subscribe to Anne R. Allen’s blog. It’s free and worth every minute you spend reading it.
And do, please, read.