I wrote a scene last night that took longer than any 600 words I’ve ever written, or at least since high school. I’m working on a serial killer novel, and this was the first scene where we shifted to watching the killer instead of watching the heroes. It was surprisingly tough. Obviously I’ve never killed anyone, and certainly not in as gruesome a fashion as this guy does, but I didn’t expect it to be as difficult as it was.

There were several things that hung me up, and I thought I’d share a little with y’all today. First, the manner of death was not pleasant. It wasn’t even standard, like strangulation, shooting or stabbing. So figuring out how to write a horrific murder without glorifying the act was a challenge. It was hard not to resort to too much cliche, or too many conversational descriptors for things. And it was challenging to write this guy doing things to the girl that he enjoyed, without taking away from the horror of his actions for the reader. I guess at the end of it if I creeped myself out a little, then I was still doing okay.

It got me to thinking about bad guys. In most of my books, the bad guys don’t play a terribly big role. In The Black Knight Chronicles, the attention is all on the good guys. Mostly because the books are first-person, so it’s not really feasible to spend too much time on the bad guy, because by the time the good guys get to where the bad guy is, there’s a fight. But in third person omniscient, I can shift the perspective from the good guys to the bad guy and back, so I have to get into the head of the bad guy from time to time. It’s not a really fun place to go, but the more I dislike it, the better I think the character will be when the book is finished.

I’m enjoying the process, because it’s harder to write than the stuff I’ve been doing. But on the other hand, it’ll be nice to spend part of the weekend hammering out another light-hearted Black Knight short story.

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One thought on “Darker

  1. The problem with first person is that you almost NEED to have your villain monologue like he’s stepped out of a Bond film, to explain things to the reader.

    The other thing I love about slipping under the villain’s skin is that you can crank up the suspense by showing the peril your hero is in, that the hero doesn’t know about.

    First person is awesome if you can make it work, though.

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