Saturday, May 28, 2011
Excerpt: 'Redemption: an Inspector Gilles Maintenon mystery.'
'The House of Two Stone Dogs.'
Strong lightning flashed across the sky, splitting it asunder in jagged arcs of electrical fire.
Boughs of the dark larches surrounding the property wavered and began to whip back and forth.
Hard rain pelted down and a cold wind began to blow. The shutters began to bump gently back and forth, with long pauses, and then three or four quick beats.
Branches of a massive old oak tree, half of which was clearly dead, tapped against the window of an upper bedroom. The air crackled with promises long un-kept and the evening was alive with the sudden silence of the crickets.
A woman in a long, filmy white nightgown ran barefoot across the lawn. Pausing, she looked fearfully about her, clutching at her throat in anguish. Then, lowering her head against the darkening sky, she continued on around the corner of the hedge and disappeared as silently as she had come.
Standing on the rear porch with one eyebrow raised, Doctor Nagle nudged Maintenon and sucked hard on his empty pipe, a little globule of spittle burbling happily away in the bottom of it.
“Who in the hell was that?” he asked. “Are they all stark, raving, fewking mad around here?”
“The house of two stone dogs,” murmured Gilles, referring to the black-painted concrete figures mounted on top of the rough sandstone mass of the Manor’s gate posts. “Tell me about the Squire.”
“Oh, Gawd,” said the doctor.
And with that, as he lit up another of his infamously thin black cheroots, Gilles would have to be content.
Notes. The story is up to about 12,800 words. This except is only about 100 or so. I know what happened in the story, and so now I am kind of 'backfilling' the story with details. The plot will have to percolate a little longer. Then I will smash out a fairly incoherent ending, and then poke a lot of holes in it...at some point it needs to sit, for a week, two weeks...whatever.
This one will go to maybe 15-20,000 words, I just don't know. But if I wanted a novel, then there is more time to throw in red herrings, more bizarre characters, more plot twists, more dead alleys, or if necessary, more bodies. A simple solution is to add more time to the plot, i.e more days or hours of activity by the characters.
The more things that happen, the more words in the story.
Update as of June 7/2012.
The 11,000-word short story that started all of this, 'The Handbag's Tale,' is available from Amazon here.
'Redemption: an Inspector Gilles Maintenon mystery,' is also available on Amazon, as well as Barnes & Noble, in the Sony eReader Store, and Diesel Books. It's also on iTunes, and in other fine bookstores. It's also available as a paperback from Amazon. I'm currently working on the second novel in the series, which is tentatively entitled, 'The Art of Murder,' this book is scheduled for release November 1, 2012, or just in time for Christmas.