Nameless Thriller Started

Those who check the progress bars, will notice that I’ve started the first draft of the thriller, which remains nameless.  Poor thing. You’ll also notice I haven’t finished the working outline. That’s because sometimes–well, often–I need to do some drafting to get the feel of the story and characters before I finish that working document. And also because story development has never been a linear thing for me. 

I did a lot of work on the premise (the story setup) these last few weeks. Ran into a lot of dead ends.  However, it was all good. I got snippets of scenes throughout the process. Did a lot of useful research. Developed characters. I wrote a few drafts of another beginning that I realized didn’t feel right. It was telling the wrong story, had the wrong angle. A few days later, I figured out the right angle on the premise.  And it is so delicious to me.  Then during another work session–letting my mind run while I showered–I got the outline of the first chapter. I give you the first 300 words below. I’m sure they’ll change, but it’s a taste of what’s to come.

CHAPTER 1: Cowboy Donut 

Trying to get a straight job as an ex-con was a lovely experience.  Kind of like being dragged behind a bus.

No matter how tidy you looked or how sharp your resume was, it all came down to one question: “And what were you in for?”  Frank knew it would be stupid to lie about that.  First of all, he was trying to go straight.  Second, any employer who didn’t have a carrot for a brain was going to run a background check.  So there was no use trying to hide. 

Frank was now sitting in the back office of Cowboy Donut in Rock Springs, Wyoming across from Mary Rogers, the sun-wrinkled owner.  She was probably in her fifties and had two-tone hair that seemed to take its inspiration from a skunk or badger: all bleached up on top and dark underneath.

Ms. Mary had just asked the question.  Frank had just dropped his bomb—voluntary manslaughter, a security job gone bad.  He’d been protecting the wrong kind of noun for the wrong kind of people.

Ms. Mary narrowed her eyes.  “What else am I going to find on your RAP sheet?”

“That’s it,” Frank said.  “Just the one unfortunate incident.”

“Murder is a pretty big incident.”

“Manslaughter,” he corrected.  “Not murder.”

She made a noncommittal sound and looked down to study his resume a bit more.  Like maybe something new would pop up there. 

This was always the fun part, waiting for the reply.  First interviews were like first dates.  And Frank had basically told his date he had an Ebola monkey virus that would make her eyes bleed, and would she now like to kiss?  He’d done this now a couple dozen times and knew the best thing was just to be quiet. 

Poor Frank. And in just a few pages things are going to get so much worse when he finds two old associates waiting for him at his house.

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7 Responses to Nameless Thriller Started

  1. LP says:

    Good start! You have some great imagery there. Now I know what to call that kind of hair when I see it: badger hair.

  2. Bryce says:

    Nice opening! It gives me the warm fuzzies to see new words from The Man. I’m planning a re-read of Servant of a Dark God this year, and from the looks of it, I’ll be buying a copy from Amazon for a birthday gift (I can’t BELIEVE that they’re selling your hardback for just $6.61 right now! At that price, it’s probably two peoples’ birthdays 🙂 ). Keep up the great work, and hopefully we’ll be hearing some excellent news on Curse of a Dark God sometime soon! 😀

  3. John Brown says:

    Thanks, Bryce.

  4. Matt W says:

    I already want to read it. Nice hook. I know it has been a while now but thanks for opening up your comment thread without having to log in to WordPress.

  5. augusta fick says:

    Wow! This is a powerful first page. I feel sympathy for Frank and have lots of questions about what will happen next. Good luck and have fun witing a thriller. 🙂

  6. John Brown says:

    Matt and Augusta, yea!

    Matt, you know I had no idea what I was doing when I first opened the WordPress account. Then I finally figured out I DIDN’T want people logging in–doh!–and reset it. Glad you’re happy with the change, cause I am 😀

  7. Dixon says:

    Awesome! Good hooks. Congrats on finding your heading. That’s exciting.