>Flatland 07

>Being the seventh in a series charting the writing of a new fantasy detective story.

Word count’s just crept past 2,700. Minor revisions to what I’ve already written, including a slight tweak to the opening paragraph, hinting at the dead wife subplot early on …

I woke to find the city had been flattened. Literally.
I lurched off the couch rubbing my eyes. My mouth tasted of the same bad dream I’d been having every night for the past two weeks. The dream about Laura. I spat it away, wiped the window. I tried to see something that made sense. But it wasn’t there.

The new scenes I’ve written today include the first encounter between the PI and Electra. Like all good femme fatales, she’s wearing a flimsy negligee and doing her damndest to seduce our hero. And he’s falling for it because she reminds him of his dead wife. This being a detective story – a noir detective story at that – Electra’s behaviour naturally puts her in the frame as a prime suspect in the dastardly crime. Namely I’m setting her up so the reader doesn’t trust her.

Now I’m not about to give away the story, but suffice it to say Electra is partly behind what’s going on … but it’s not a clear-cut case. She’s got a motive – and complicating circumstances – that I hope will create sympathy for her. And her involvement isn’t the whole story. So when the PI discovers she’s not on the level, it’s a real wrench for him to accept it.

I’ve also introduced the janitor and Edwin the cockroach, and got everyone up to the penthouse apartment ready for the resident’s meeting. This is where they’ll discuss their predicament and decide what to do next. Whatever they decide, the PI will buck the trend and go his own way.

So far I’ve established a mystery and introduced a bit of sizzle with Electra. Time for some action, methinks. I may well have Edwin go crazy during the meeting, forcing the PI to protect Electra, thus strengthening their relationship. Tempted to have Edwin trip some kind of ticking-clock deadline … not sure what yet, but something to impose urgency on the whole proceedings.

This next scene is critical then. In it, I’ll set up all the clockwork that will make the rest of the story unwind. The key to the whole mystery, by the way, is something that’s visible from the rear penthouse window – a view that the PI has never looked out on before …

What do you think?

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