Back in the first week of September, I took a trip with AndyA to Galveston. Our intention was to lock ourselves in a hotel room and write. We didn’t get much on paper, but we did talk at length about the kinds of ideas we wanted to pursue.
After talking her ear off about the Crash novel no. 1 — codename, September Boyfriend (to keep with the Number Girl song title theme, albeit altered slightly) — she told me I had enough to start writing.
In terms of general direction, I guess I did. In terms of detail, I wasn’t so sure.
So this past weekend, I bought a book — Making Crime Pay: The Writer’s Guide to Criminal Law, Evidence, and Procedure. If I’m going to write about a sexy cop and a burnt-out lawyer, I’d better make sure the jargon they speak to each other sounds damn convincing.
I’ve already gone through about three chapters of the book, and it’s not telling me much more than I learned nearly eight years ago in current affairs reporting class, nor by watching Law and Order incessantly. (I always say I keep watching the reruns as an instructional aide.)
But it’s still nice to have a refresher.
I’m only worried now about the forensics and the autopsy — the book doesn’t detail much procedure for labs.
Part of me is still scared to write this story, especially if it’s going to be my National Novel Writing Month entry. I don’t actually sign up for the event, but I try to follow along.
Last year, I attempted to write the second Crux novel, even though I hadn’t finished the first. Now I’m heading straight into what I thought would be the third novel in the Gary-Mitch universe. (I’m retooling my plans for the second Gary-Mitch story.)
I really would have preferred to have written these stories in order, but I guess I gotta go where the muse instructs me.
I’m hoping the fact I finished The Courtship of Gary Huang is no fluke. I’ve started other stories, and I’ve yet to finish another long-term project. Publishers don’t want to deal with anyone who can’t write a second novel. Or a third. Or a fourth.
I had always assumed one day I would finish a Crux novel before anything else. I didn’t. In fact, I’m not sure I can. Now, I’m feeling very strongly about this Crash story, that may very well be the second story I complete. (Or not.)
I’m not sure I’m trusting my memory. The Courtship of Gary Huang feels as if it sprung whole from my head through my fingers. I don’t get that same sense from the Crux stories or this first Crash plot. And yet, I don’t remember even having a cause for the way Gary acts in that story till midway through the writing.
In other words, I remember not having a clear sense of the story’s full plot, but I did have enough to start writing and figure it out later.
Why can’t I do this again?
Perhaps that’s why I need to tackle Crash novel no. 1 — I have a very strong sense of the story and a few details. I just hope I can maintain my interest in it for an entire month.
Some notes to jot down, background on the characters.
Det. Mark Cleary was in the military — not sure which branch, maybe Naval avaiation — but “don’t ask, don’t tell” forced him out. He could have worked in an office job as a consultant, but he became a cop instead. He refused to stay in the closet on the police force, so his ascension through the ranks hit a few ceilings over the years. But his excellent record spoke for itself — some of his colleagues may feel threatened by his sexual orientation, but when it comes down to business, Cleary is the kind of guy you want watching your back. (So to speak.)
I’m still trying to figure out why Crash felt the need to leave the D.A.’s office, aside from the fact he just didn’t want the law profession to define who he was as an individual. I have the feeling it’s tied into the fact he doesn’t date much. By nature, Crash is a focused individual — he didn’t date much when he was a lawyer because he was so focused on his job. As a musician, he doesn’t date because rock music is a straight guy’s trade.
Right now, I’m thinking Crash was dating a cop around the time he was prosecuting his career-defining case. The cop is killed off-duty during a robbery, and because he was in the middle of a trial, Crash didn’t allow himself to grieve. Once the case was closed, Crash found himself unwilling to return to criminal law.
More for my reference than yours, a timeline:
Crux arrives in New York, discovers his “bloodline”
Crux investigates the death of Amelia
Crux deals with the Tarot deck seeking its rightful owner
Gary and Mitch meet, fall in love
Crash dates Adam Fulton, breaks up with him; Adam is murdered
Gary and Mitch take in Mitch’s nephew, Trevor