Procedure Is My Kryptonite

sersly (spelled that way because I would have said it that way), procedure is your Kryptonite, dude.

From a conversation with Pot this week.

By God, she’s right!  This all came up as I struggled through a scene that I had visualized as a sort of trial, but is really more of a lynching/execution where they list the evidence (such as it is).  It’s been giving me fits because I kept trying to turn it into a courtroom drama–for a human court.  The werewolves don’t work that way in my world.  And that’s fine.  I need to make up my mind how they do work and go with it.  And, in fact, this is one of the reasons I decided to go off on this paranormal jaunt after I’ve been so firmly rooted in traditional romantic suspense for so long.

See, if you jump in the Wayback Machine (do people still know what that is anymore? Hint: It was not always referring to an internet archive.), back to when I got out of grad school and got back into writing, the book I was working on at the time, that I finished that year was in sore need of some procedural (and other) modifications.  The scenario I’d set up simply wasn’t how things were done, and I certainly didn’t one to be one of those authors I hear people talking about on my various crime/thriller writer forums who made a dumb, uneducated mistake.  So I researched the hell out of things for the rewrite, and I was rolling right along, churning out almost 200 pages in 2 months (a lot for me), and then…  Then someone made a comment about how the FBI no longer typically deals much with serial homicide.  Their focus is more on terrorism, cybercrime, etc.

Well that happy, chugging little train I was on promptly derailed in a big way.  Now, it isn’t as if books are not published all the time where the FBI is dealing with serial homicide.  It is a common setup in the genre and most readers probably either think that that’s how things are done, or they don’t care enough that it bothers them that it isn’t.  But I couldn’t get past the idea that they don’t do that any more, and for over a year, that book sat, waiting for me to figure out how to work around it.

The project that I picked up after that had an ex-cop in it (my thought being that if he’s an ex-cop maybe procedure wouldn’t be as big a problem for me).  Well, that book had other issues and also went to hang out in Leftover Land (this would be the home for WIPs that are in various stages of completion that you have lost your immediate passion for but you’re not quite ready to reconcile to File 13).

And then came my present werewolf story.  I have created what is tantamount to a paranormal FBI.  Great, I thought, I can invent my own procedure.

And here I am STILL getting bogged down because I keep trying to make it too much like the human world.

I’m not entirely sure where this predeliction for getting it right and following procedure and rules came from.  Maybe it’s my background as a scientist.  Maybe it’s my slight OCD tendencies.  No idea.  But it’s something I really do have to combat.   Because when I get stuck on procedure, it not only slows the flow of the actual writing, but the prose itself gets kind of flat and loses the personal touch and voice that makes the story unique.

What is your kryptonite in writing?

2 thoughts on “Procedure Is My Kryptonite

  1. “My God, she’s right!” she says, as though this is something different. Hmfph. Such perception is my superpower.

    Kryptonite? I’m not sure. I’ve got a lot of issues. Maybe I’ll let you pick out which one you think is my fatal flaw.

    1. Oh, well your fatal flaw is obvious–it’s the development of wonderful, rich characters who do you no favors by actually showing up with plot.

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