clues at the scene

clues at the scene

Tuesday, October 21, 2014


I'm writing a story in which I present characters as "ahead of the curve."

Think James Bond - always great intelligence and the perfect gadget for whatever he encounters,  It's a bit Sherlock Holmes, too.  Unknowable knowledge cast off second hand as if any fool has the study of bicycle tires at his fingertips.

So, how to avoid the cliche?

Make trouble. Interrupt plans.

Conflict is great. All Hail Conflict.

Tension is what we desire. Tension, not necessarily strife.

Make things go badly for the well-prepared protagonists.

Have the cops not be idiots.

Have the marks be unpredictable.

Have competing interests intervene.

Have the special key obtained through an elaborate series of bribes not be the correct key.

Obstacles. If things are going swimmingly, drown someone. Make trouble. Crime isn't easy.

Have the gun jam. Have the park be filled with fifth-graders. Have the city trash crew empty the wastebasket on the street with the special package inside.

Make the best laid plans fail, have the characters scramble, hit them again, then show their brilliance in a completely unpredictable way.

I eat that stuff up when I am reading. I think I know what the solution should be three steps in ... and then I am surprised. I like surprise. I like being wrong: not tricked, surprised.

I'm off to offer complications to some characters.

Run Jane. Run!

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