Okay, so after yesterday’s massive addition to my manuscript, I posed the question to my pal Pot about whether it was a problem that I wasn’t following traditional plot outline for a romantic suspense in which the relationship of the hero and heroine develops sort of simultaneously or as a counterpoint to the mystery/problem/suspense element. In HOC the way the story is set up is such that my heroine and hero have a pre-existing relationship, albeit a damaged one, so the first half of the book deals with them fixing it basically before the serial killer comes front and center. I felt like this was kind of a problem and she agreed, so what we came up with was to insert passages from the perspective of the killer himself through various points in the story, so that we can show what’s going on with him while M and C are getting their relationship act together (because there IS stuff, the two of them just don’t know about it). This is a classic enough device in suspense or mysteries, so I don’t have a problem putting it in. But it has created a WHOLE lot more work for me. I have spent my day making a timeline of the existing novel and everything that happens in backstory to M, plus her reintroduction to C and the development of their relationship up to the arrival of the first trophy. In addition to that I’ve been trying to get into the head of my killer and figure out his motivation for killing his particular victims, what the provocation was for him to begin this game with M, where his obsession with her originated, etc. I’ve got some good stuff, I think, so far.
One other project I’ve been working on this week in HOC is making M more likable. This had become an issue in all these versions because with all the hacking, I sort of distilled her down to workaholic, smart, superwoman and took out all the stuff that had softened her and made her likable before. I also lost a great deal when I switched the book from first to third person, so that I could squeeze in more POVs. So in addition to going through and adding lines here and there to soften M up and remind the reader why they like/feel for her, I’ve decided to toss in a half dozen journal entries to give her more of a personal voice and show that while she may visibly react/say one thing, she really feels this other way, which is much more approachable than the rigid control she outwardly displays. So at this point I’m going back and have to put in the journal entries, and the passages from the POV of our serial killer. And that’s all before I move forward with the last half of the book and all the trophies. I think I will easily jump to 50k words once I make these inserts. But I think it will be a much stronger piece because of it.
So that’s my report of progress for today. No actual words added to the manuscript, but lots of stuff accomplished.