Blog #2 by novelist Jeremy Logan -- HOW "Don't Go There" HAPPENED
How DGT became a novel. The first thing I had was a news story about U.S. citizens working abroad that were kidnapped and held for ransom in South American countries. Then I heard about the rounding up of the Medellin drug cartel in the same region. About the same time I was sitting in my corporate office when the switchboard operator connects me to a caller from the FBI. He wants me to tell him about this guy who is working for a contractor I selected to help me with a project. He tells me he isn't who I think he is. That guy died seven years ago. He says he is really a freelance intelligence operative working for an unsanctioned principal, but he won't say who. He wants my company to cooperate with the FBI to reel him in. This all occurred within a few days. My imagination was exploding. I conjured up several fictional stories that included all these elements, and I knew I had the basis for an interesting novel.
Next thing, I asked myself the hard question. Do I want to spend the time it will take to do this right? Do I want to try to write a real novel. I put it off until I left my corporate job and became an independent consultant. That's when I found the time to give it my full attention.
I started with an outline of the plot. Then I collected all the personalities I wanted to be in the book. Most were facsimiles of real people I had known. After some time combining the plot with the personalities I formulated a storyline where the plot was modified to create a "hook", (a climax that is building with a surprise ending). After that I just started writing, telling the story in chronological order. Some time in the middle of the effort, I decided to rewrite the story in a series of flashbacks. I can't tell you why. I just tried it out and I liked it told better that way. Below is an excerpt from the first page, but it's a flashback. Chronologically, it is actually a year and half into the plot.
'In a hospital room in Lima, Peru, the patient in room 312 was coming out of a coma. His eyes remained closed as he lay there in a waking stupor. His eyelids opened slightly, but everything was out of focus. His eyes shut again, but he could not sleep. The annoying beep…beep…beep…of some electronic monitoring device sounded in the background. Eli Taylor was not accustomed to waking up in the middle of the night. He was normally a dead-to-the-world sleeper. As the beeping persisted, Eli made the transition between sleep and consciousness.'
Next week's post: We all have stories in us. The question - how do we get those stories in print? Which ones do we choose? It's all about the two worlds or dimensions we live in: the real world - and the ones we make up in our imagination; our make-believe world.
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