I don’t usually watch celebrity interviews on TV, but this morning I listened to Fredy Prinz Jr. talk about WWE and show business in general. I can’t quote him, but I paraphrase, “Producers’, actors’, and writers’ jobs are to convince the audience to stay for the next scene, show, season, or chapter.”
About two years ago, I drafted of several chapters of “Doughnut Shop” loosely based on people I know. Even with composite characters and fictious events, the story wasn’t working for me. I didn’t realize it at the time, but my subconscious was telling me I didn’t have enough to keep most readers into situations and seeking the next.
I dropped any resemblance to people I knew and built backgrounds for several doughnut shop characters and injected a connecting character, in first person, with multiple experiences somewhat related to those he’d met in the doughnut shop. I renamed it “Deep Vaulted” as a clue to hidden secrets of the CC and others.
The characters I developed were of my generation, octogenarians +/-, so I realized my audience was probably limited. I re-aged the CC and others to be a half generation younger, but that required re-dating vitals and even more difficult, resetting actual world events to give the CC a different narrative for his finding commonalities of their deaths.
My next difficulty was having a dozen doughnut shop patrons who died investigated by a man with no life events outside the self-assigned investigations. This added more characters and the CCs relationships to them. I struggled with some of the same issues when I wrote Echoes of Nam until I developed Hacker Lee Goor as the observer/participant writer.
I remember hearing John Grisham tell an interviewer he often wrote the ending of a book before starting or starting a second chapter. I wrote an ending and set the CC into it. I back tracked from there and exposed a solution to each of the issues he and others faced in the story. One of the characters, a key player involved in the ending, needed more development within the core.
The time setting started in March of 2000 which meant Covid-19 was an issue in the lives of my characters. Most of the physical setting was in or related to the northwest side of Vancouver, WA. With none of the doughnut shop characters or the CC native to the area, I had to work in how and why they got to Vancouver.
Well most of the issues were or maybe are worked out, and I’ve subconsciously had what Fredy Prinz Jr. said in mind. I’ve tried several openings to get the reader into the story. If a reader gets into the story a poor segue might kill interest. At this writing, I’m not yet sure my segues are not interest blockers.
So, as hard as it is, today I’m putting over 450 hours of work in a hold but remember file.