Thursday, February 13, 2014

Reset

Tonight was my online accountability meeting with my writing buddy, Doug. I'm so busted. I've shirked for two weeks, managing to write only about 2000 words. I'm  annoyed but only a bit. He's had some setbacks, too. We tossed wet noodles at each other and discussed how to deal with the problem. We both agreed that we simply start over.

I've been looking at a few ideas and almost had myself convinced of making a major change to the POV aspect of the story. In fact, on the way home, I was convinced that making the change was the best idea. By the time I got home, I mostly talked myself out of it. Doug finished the job, telling me to leave it alone. It is probably good advice. I was thinking of eliminating the female character's chapters... well, not exactly eliminating but changing them to let one of the other character's tell the story. I have a single point of view = 3rd person. I have four perspectives on the story. I have a timeline because there are events happening in this story where several characters are in different places and things are happening at the same time. So, it gets dicey. And I won't know if it works until it is written and someone reviews it and tells me. God help me if they think it is awful. 

I don't think it will be awful. It may need a lot of work but I've seen this done. It isn't easy but then, I never take the easy route anyway. Do it the hard way! Still, one perspective makes for much easier writing. I'm bouncing around in four different heads, four different voices, and only one of them female. Honestly, the hardest one to write is that woman. I just think my women characters are always stupid. This one is not much different. 

In a sense, it isn't surprising I prefer male writers, too. I don't like the fluff of many books by women. So, the allure of my story is to be expected. What I didn't expect was to be able to write from that perspective so easily. In fact, I didn't expect to be able to write my antagonist perspective so easily. He's sadistic and I wouldn't have considered myself to have any traits like that. However, when one delves deep enough into the darkness of their own mind, one is apt to uncover some very odd things. 

What do I mean? Should I put up an excerpt of Stryker's? I promise is isn't violent at all and there is no gore, no bad language. Nothing at all. But writing it scared me a tiny bit. One, because I'm a woman who imagined herself in that situation. Two, because I could write from the dark character's perspective, think what he was thinking. Scared me more than a little bit. Someone said write what scares you. 

Here's the piece. It's a first draft so don't expect much. Just put yourself in my female characters skin, in a restaurant, alone. Just for a few minutes. It only takes a few.

The lowering sun sparked off the crystal water goblet on the table as Stryker sat down in the restaurant. He deliberately chose a table against the wall with an unobstructed view of the room. He ordered black coffee and waved the waitress off.

He watched as the woman sat down at another table. She put her briefcase and handbag on the chair next to her. She was slim, well dressed in a black tailored skirt and jacket with black heels. His eyes skimmed down her body, ah, very pretty legs. He liked pretty legs. The long, blond hair hung below her shoulders in silken waves while shorter strands caressed her jawline and cheeks. The bone structure was perfect, high cheeks, fine nose, shapely brows. He sighed. One had to appreciate fine art.

She picked up the menu and as she read through it, he studied her face. So expressive. One could almost tell what she would order by watching her expressions. The tiny frown marring the brow at this, a small moue at that, a flicker of delight that turned up the corner of her mouth at something else. Passionate, he was sure she was passionate... about everything.

He put his sunglasses in his jacket pocket and picked up the menu on his table. What had triggered the delight? He scrolled down the list. Ah, triple chocolate cake. He’d bet on it. He lay the menu down and raised his hand. The waitress hurried over and he ordered the cake. He wanted to share in the delight. The other would come later.

While he waited, he picked up the file on his table and thumbed through it. Her name was Dani Vaughn. She had a son attending Cambridge University in England. Very good, Dani. He looked at her over the top of the file. And who is paying for that, love?

She lived alone but worked as an administrative manager for a man named Cameron Doyle. They often went to dinner together, on an average of once a week. What does your husband think of that? He looked up at her. She was looking out the window at the passing traffic, her elbows rested on the table and her hands clasped with her chin resting on it. He turned his head to one side. Interesting. She was content.

He hardly noticed when his order arrived and the waitress moved away. He looked back at the file. Mr. Doyle was a man of great interest, as well. He was a former Horus employee. In fact, he had been one of the top trainers for Horus for nearly a decade before he had left their employ after a disagreement over procedures. Apparently, Doyle disagreed with training methods imposed after a change of leadership in the agency.

Movement at her table drew his attention. Her waitress delivered the woman’s order, a piece of triple chocolate cake. He smiled and picked up his fork. As she put a bite of the cake into her mouth, he took a bite of his own. Together they savored the moistness, the array of flavors from three different chocolates. He sighed and as he watched, she did, too. Yes. Perfect.

It was half an hour before she decided to leave. She glanced at her watch and then toward the windows overlooking the street. Darkness had fallen. Hurrying now, she paid her bill and gathered her bags to leave. Stryker had already paid his bill and he got up and left ahead of her. Outside he slipped on the dark glasses and walked to the end of the building, stepping into the shadows that lurked there. He waited. Moments later she exited the restaurant.

For a few minutes she stood looking for a cab but when none seemed inclined to stop, she started to walk. He fell into step yards behind her, a leisurely stroll, his hands in his pockets, looking at the merchandise in the shop windows. 

Twice she stopped to hail a cab and twice they ignored her. It puzzled him that she had not called a cab from the restaurant. They’d have been glad to assist her in that. Instead, she was strolling along a busy city street on a mild autumn evening as if she hadn’t a care in the world. He squinted at the jewelry glittering in the window. She seemed to have no real interest in what the shops offered. She never even suspected that death could be a dozen steps away. He looked at her. She was not what he expected.

So? You can comment at the bottom if you're so inclined.

I once told my husband once that I'd have made a better man. He didn't disagree but he did say he was happy that had not happened. That tendency has come in handy a few times. Writing men seems to be one of them. What's really odd is I like writing Stryker.

We'll see how it goes.

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