Monday, July 1, 2013
Welcome to the beginning of our journey. To recap, today we begin to go through the process I used on my novel, The Zealot, from the very beginning to where I am right now. One of my biggest challenges will be to tell you about the making of my novel without telling you about my novel. As we go through this process, please let me know of your thoughts. I want to know how my process compares to what you have gone through.
For me, in the beginning, it was a little complicated because I was already working on another novel. I was about 100 pages into it, doing okay, having fun, but not “feeling it”. As I have said before, at the time I had been driving a cab for several years. Driving gave me a lot of time during the day in spurts of 20 minutes here and there to write and tons of time to think and imagine. As I have posted before, I am a dreamer. My imagination is always going full tilt. I sleep five hours a night. My mind never stops. I can’t help it. I dream and I worry.
Near downtown Indianapolis is a huge complex of hospitals. This complex is great for taxis, keeping people like me busy with the elderly and sick, taking them home. Just west of the area is a rundown community called Haughville. One of the main streets that goes through there is Michigan Street and I go through Haughville multiple times a day.
An idea for a new novel had been stirring in my brain for some time. A what if scenario of a religious nice guy that lost his way and started killing drug dealers, but for a very valid reason. My idea kept evolving. Without spilling the beans, he kills “certain” drug dealers, and leaves religious messages and tortures them and extracts information from them. All this went through my mind each day, growing as I drove through Haughville. I could see it happening there. It became more real each day in my mind. I became more excited about the possibility of this novel becoming a reality.
After about three months of this imagining, I was driving through Haughville on Michigan one day and crossed a double set of railroad tracks I had crossed a thousand times before. To my right were two businesses that shared a gravel driveway. I had seen them the same number of times before too, but this time a little voice said to pull in. I drove to the back of the building. I instantly smiled. There it was. My first murder scene. Plain as day. Double railroad tracks running diagonally along the back of the property. The gravel drive shared by two businesses in a rundown area. And the topper was the telephone pole right against the back of the building to my left about halfway down. Perfect. I knew immediately that I had to write this story.
I don’t outline. I know some writers do and some don’t. I don’t. Maybe I should. Maybe I will for the next one. I don’t know. All I know is that for me, for this novel, I saw the story in my head from day one. I didn’t know what the characters were going to do the day after that, but I had faith it would work out. Sounds nuts, doesn’t it? That’s me.
So I went home and chucked the novel I was working on and started over. New character names, new everything, but first I have a ton of research to do. I don’t care because I can see the story in my head and I have read a lot of mysteries and the story I have hasn’t been done, at least that I know of. I am pumped and ready to go. Bring on the research. That’s next and I had no idea it would be dangerous.