Sunday, March 16, 2008

A Killer in Blog

This is a blog about a criminal mind, the mind of a killer, the mind of a bottom-feeder. The killer in any story, that thoughtless lack-luster-ink-spot on the white-shirt-of-life can make or break the manuscript. What is an author to do when the story needs a killer?

Writing is a solitary sport. The exercise of the mind to produce a winner of a novel puts the writer and author up against tremendous odds. Toss in the killer factor, the need for that one character that is capable of murder and out from the author’s vault comes the criminal mind, the dark side of imagination. Fiction is a wonderland of make believe. The creation of people, places and events are endless, but the mix of good and evil must be tempered. Too much of one and not enough of the other, can leave readers confused, puzzled and disappointed.

To get inside a criminal mind an author has to walk in the killer’s shoes. A writer must sink into the demented mind of the character being created. Anyone who spends days in their pajamas with nothing but a tea stained cup for company knows the tribulations of character development. The fictitious characters in your head become real. They breath and sit next to you, they joke and poke fun at you all the while you rake your hands through your unwashed hair attempting to create a believable killer, one who stirs up just the right mix of fear and horror to carry your plot to its conclusion.

Try, I mean just try to carry on a normal life. Things like having dinner with your family, talking to a friend on the phone or going grocery shopping becomes incredibly difficult. The ability to carry on a conversation or make decisions concerning real life is compromised. Your killer is everywhere. His actions, his thoughts, his clothes, every minute detail of that heinous crime he will commit, the one you will invent, hangs low and close and you can not function next to real people. You are a writer, you are a recluse, and you are the killer’s creator. Your mind will not rest until the deed is done and the last word is written.

Oh the trials and troubles of an author’s imagination. No front page newspaper, no gossip rag headline can match a fictional bad guy. A writer must write from his or her soul, and on the good days the writer turned author must get out of her jammies and sell books.

Belly of the Whale will take you deep into the mind of a two killers. One is cancer and the other is more deadly than the first.

Blog what you what think, what you hear and what you see.
Linda Merlino, author, Belly of the Whale

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