Tuesday, January 22, 2008
I'm at the end of my rope. I mean that literally. I might end up hanging a character.
It's that time in the writing of the third book of my new Miniature Mystery series when my crime-solving protagonist, Geraldine, needs a threat to her life. What can I use that I or a dozen other traditional mystery writers haven't already worked to death, so to speak.
A note under her windshield? Slashed tires? A vandalized apartment? A dead animal on her doorstep? A tailgating SUV on a windy mountain road? Her brake lines cut?
Done, done, done.
And there's that final confrontation scene between Geraldine and the killer. Geraldine is not going to die; we know that. Not in this subgenre. But that doesn't relieve me of the obligation to make the scene suspenseful.
Where should the scene take place? In an underground parking garage? (No, no, don't go there alone at night!) In her own home? (No, no, don't switch on the lights and stand in front of the window!) In a deserted office building after hours? (No, no, don't refuse the security guard's offer of an escort!) On a jogging trail in the park? (No, no, --- see "underground parking garage"!)
After ten books, it's hard to come up with something fresh. I think my personal best for a confrontation scene was at a hazardous waste pit, which fit the story very well. That's the ideal, to have the last scene the likely outcome of the story.
I can't help wondering what readers think of these devices. It's certainly worth an ARC and a set my books to the person who comes up something I can use next time around. Any ideas?