Thursday, January 21, 2010

That horrible blank page!

Hi everyone!

I've started writing my new mystery novel, tentatively titled, DEATH ON TELEGRAPH HILL, and I'm sitting here staring at that infamous blank page. Although I've got the general outline of the story in my head, this is the time when all the little details -- such as the name of the first victim, the identity of the killer, the method of death, etc., have to be sorted out. Okay, so these details aren't so little after all.

My first problem is whether or not to use a real historical person as part of the mystery. It would be okay if he were the detective, or at least a good guy, but probably not such a bright idea if he ends up as one of the suspects -- which it turns out could be a distinct possibility. I'd hate to be sued by one of his ancestors for defamation of character, even if in life he wasn't all that great a guy. On second thought, I guess maybe I should just invent a fictional character based on the real person.

Another problem is how the killer is going to commit the crime without standing out like a sore thumb. If you think it's easy doing someone in without giving away the bad guy's identity try it some time. Not easy.

I think I've pretty much decided on HOW the murder will be committed, which is something at least. But pulling it off is going to be a whole lot more difficult. The trick always is to remain honest with the reader, without giving too much away about the crime itself. Sheesh!

Please stand by--- Hopefully the little grey cells will come up with some answers soon. Any bright ideas out there? Feedback from any of you armchair detectives is always gratefully accepted.