Aside from a plot, when I write a D&R novel, I need a connection to the characters that make up the plot: the killer and his victims. For several weeks, I’ve been struggling with this as I write the next D&R novel. I know the why and how of what the killer is doing, but I feel apathy towards him and so my killer chapters are flat; they lack flow and oddly, words. The first killer chapter is a stilted 1,239 words. Killer Chapter 2 has 0 words, but I’m on Marshal Cain chapter 12… so that’s an issue. I’m not sure what the problem is… I really like the plot of Psychic Dreams and there’s so many fun directions to take a killer of fictional psychics.

Before I went to bed last night, I went through my usual before bed writing ritual. And then I overslept. Most people think it’s weird that I set an alarm to work for myself from home, but I find routine is a good thing for creative functioning. Since switching bedrooms to the spare room full time because of hormones not letting me sleep as well now that I’m over 40, I’ve adopted a new routine: I take 10 or 15 minutes before bed and make a list of what I want to accomplish the next day in my book and I go to bed earlier every night. My bedtime has moved from 1 am to 11pm and I have an alarm set for 8:30 am. Normally, I wake before it goes off. Last night, I ended up staying awake late and then I slept through the alarm and felt discombobulated as a result. I didn’t even realize it was Friday the 13th until someone sent me a Happy Friday the 13th with a meme of a dancing Jason Vorhees.

As I sat down to write after lunch because again, it was nearly 10 am before I got out of bed(!) and I had to go to the grocery store, I reviewed the last chapter and my list together intensifying my sensation of discombobulation. After about half an hour of this, I closed the file and opened a different file. I need to find my killer for this D&R novel… most writers talk about the mechanics of writing, but for me, writing is about emotion. If I can’t emotionally connect to the killer than neither can my readers, because the character is a two-dimensional caricature of a person – a cliché that is unlikeable, uninteresting, and silly not scary. The killer is what makes D&R novels what they are: there’s a horror in the realization that the killer in D&R is so pedestrian. They could be your neighbor or teacher or friend.

This afternoon, I will meditate on what’s missing from my killer. Once I find him, the book will begin to flow and the writing will become easy.


2 thoughts on “Connection

  1. I once tutored a student at home, for a local school district. The student was shy and nice as was his family. The district even okayed taking my 2 toddler daughters with me to the sessions. As time went, a month or two of 2x/week, I met his father who seemed a bit off. The mother later informed that dad was a cross dresser and a good friend and coworker of Gary Ridgeway, the Green River Killer. The remainder of all tutoring were conducted at the local library.

    Liked by 1 person

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