clues at the scene

clues at the scene

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

It's for You

Classic line of a million flicks: "It's for you."

At left, the candlestick phone that none of us had in the hall. However, we all know the model, heft, and utility from a million visuals pounded into our heads.

Those little words so pregnant with meaning: It's for you. Now, cellphones/smartphones and their inherent screening and linked voicemail, make the associative pressure of the answered phone evaporate. Don't recognize the number? Don't answer.

It was the cops? Well, I didn't talk to them, then. That moment of tension passes.

Of course, the cops don't call. They're at two doors at once if you're in my business. Basic stuff executed with efficiency. Patrol around back, detectives at front. No chances.

But the telephone. Now email. Now again text. The foreshadowing of interest - unwanted interest - that is so powerful an image of tension in a certain style of crime is still needed. We know the protagonist is in trouble. We know he's made a bad decision and then another. We know that he'll be a "person of interest."

Do the cops just show up? Does the phone ring? Does he get a text from Joey at the bar that two plainclothes were asking after him? Does he see the prowler park the next street over by looking between the houses across the alley from the kitchen window?

Cat and mouse. The game has real meaning for tension. It allows our character to demonstrate competence or flight or fear. He might confess to someone with something we readers didn't know. He might just load a shotgun.

We can handle it a number of ways but gone is the old standby of the candlestick in the hallway and someone growling into the receiver "yea?"

Unless we do period pieces.

I'm waiting for a call. That's how they tell you to report to the big league, isn't it?

I hope your call comes tonight. Until then, we ought to write something. I'm going to.

No comments: