Things That Make You Go Hmmm …

I’m rewarding myself with a quick update today. I am only doing this because I did not just meet but far exceeded the goals for this week.

Oh, and because I have a bizarre observation about myself as a writer that perhaps only other writers will understand.

My novel is written from two viewpoints. One is that of Jill – the woman who finds herself haunted by the ghost of a player she called on the carpet in a bar the night he left the living and joined the dead. That one comes easy to me. The other is Jay … the hapless dead naked man-whore who struggles to figure out who offed him when the only person who seems to realize he is still hanging around is a chick who couldn’t stand him in life.

Over the last week or so, I have written a few scenes that include extensive dialogue with a police officer. I realized while writing them that although I’ve snarfed down crime novels for dinner my entire adult life, I still worry that I’m a little off-base when I’m trying to make my cop talk like a cop. I am going to line up a law enforcement friend or two and beg, plead and coerce them to read my book when I’m done to either confirm that my investigator is on point or help me flesh him out.

That’s not so weird, in and of itself. I’ve never been a policewoman or worked in any type of law enforcement. I’ve never been arrested. I’ve never been a victim of a crime. My experience with law enforcement is limited to reading others’ portrayals of investigators and chatting with police friends in the pub.

What’s weird about it is that I have these qualms about writing my officer’s dialogue, so much so that I want a reader who will give me some honest, hard-core help with my cop. At the same time, half the novel is being written from the perspective of a guy who is dead, naked and a man-whore.

I am:

– Not a man
– Not a whore
– Not known to run around naked
– Not dead

Yet so far, writing him has caused me no anxiety or second-guessing whatsoever.

Maybe this is just because dead naked man-whores aren’t real, so I know I have a little leeway in creating him. Or perhaps I’ve just accepted that with him I must simply put my best imagination to work, since I’m not likely to find a dead naked man-whore to read a few excerpts and tell me whether or not I’ve nailed it. I could perhaps find a live one, if I had the moxie to canvas local bars with a “help wanted: Slutty dude to read work-in-progress and tell me if I’ve accurately captured the man-ho mindframe” sign.

But I don’t really feel like I need to. I just know, somehow, that Jay the Man-Whore is who he needs to be.

So yeah, that’s my weird writerly observation of the week. I can write from the POV of a slutty male ghost with total confidence, but I need help with my police officer.

What character has given you the most challenge when writing, or come surprisingly easy to you?

About hawleywood40

Writer, Steelers Fan in Baltimore, Frequent Visitor to the Shot Fairy
This entry was posted in Creativity, The Naked Man-Whore Chronicles, Writing, Writing A Novel and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Things That Make You Go Hmmm …

  1. L.S. Engler says:

    Maybe it’s just that there’s a dead naked mad-whore inside all of us, but there isn’t always a police officer.

    …Which is not intended to be dirty, but can certainly be taken as such.

    I do understand where you’re coming from, though, which is why certain things I avoid in my writing unless I know I have time to research it. I think it’s just that something like being a man-whore is very general…there’s some wiggle room there. Being dead is entirely speculative (unless there are things you’re not telling us…), so you’ve got all the space in the world with that one. However, law enforcement is such a particular, specific thing that has a good deal of rules and rituals that, if there’s any room for anything, it’s usually erroneous details or unrealistic portrayals. So, yes, totally makes sense.

    • hawleywood40 says:

      Ha Ha! “Dead naked man-whore inside all of us” made my day. Which of course, sounds pretty bad as a reply, too : ).

      Good points on how much more room for error there is in writing these law-enforcement scenes, where real life dictates that things SHOULD go a certain way. For the moment, I remind myself to “tell the story” and stop obsessing about these details. The time to obsess and tweak and recraft where reality and research dictate is when the full draft is complete …

  2. Since I don’t write novels, I can offer no help nor can I really answer your question. I do, however, understand your “breakthrough.” When your reader has something against which s/he can compare your version of the “real deal,” the pressure is on you to make the “deal” as real as possible without giving up your unique voice. The character that you conjured is yours, and yours alone.

    Wait. That gives me an idea. Can you make your police officer yours and yours alone in some way? Give him an edge of quirkiness or personality that only you could give him that fits into your story line and that takes the pressure off for him to be “everyone’s version” of a police officer?

    Just a thought…

    • hawleywood40 says:

      Funny you should go there, Lorna. He is morphing into his own guy, with his own quirks and things that make him likeable. His role is shifting into something a bit bigger than it was at the outset of all this, but not just because of his job : ).

  3. l'empress says:

    I am a regular watcher of “The First 48” on A&E. It’s not fiction, they are real police detectives. I have graduated to the point where I say their lines before they do.

    • hawleywood40 says:

      If you will, you’ll definitely be one of my first readers, l’empress! Actually, I watch a lot of “First 48” myself. And “Criminal Minds,” which is of course an entirely different approach, FBI agents instead of police, AND fictional … but still : ).

  4. Ter says:

    I’m with you on the “is this accurate” train of thought. Most of the stuff I attempt where I’m diving into professions I know squat about I tend not to make public (oh, who am I kidding; barely anything I write is public). My OCD insists I research job duties, average salaries, etc. and then I worry that I researched wrong or that said characters are in unlikely events. Part of me reminds myself to write what I know about, but writing teacher stuff just seems so blah to me. The main character of the novella I’m finalizing (finally!) is dead, coincidentally. I think the dead and other fantasy-type characters/scenarios are forgivable because of what they are. Writers can’t be held responsible for accuracy when there’s nothing measurable in reality.

    • hawleywood40 says:

      Teacher stuff is so NOT blah, Ter! Jake, the main character in King’s 1963, was an English teacher : ). I do know what you mean about sticking with what you know, though. This one is a real branchout for me. I’m writing wildly now, and will obsess later : ).

  5. starzyia says:

    hi! I have been incredibly absent from blogging and blog reading, but am glad to pop in and catch up with you at this point.
    Look, I wouldn’t worry about it. The heart of the matter is that no naked dead man whore is going to read this book and publicly declare that your character isn’t believable. But definitely no matter who you consult there will be a reader out there (more than one) who totally disses your cop character and there is nothing you can do about it. Because the problem is not the character or your writing but with know it all nothing-can-please-me readers. When you do get your book published you get to ignore them in a dignified way while remembering that plenty of other readers who know what they are talking about are on your side.
    But yeah, it is freaky that you can do the man-whore so well. You have a massive imagination, well done!

    • hawleywood40 says:

      I’ve been pretty absentee myself, Starzyia! Good to see you! And you make an excellent point … someone WILL diss the cop, no matter what. So I’ll write him the best I can, research and fix him where needed, have a friend or two give him a once-over, and roll with it. If a reader does come out and declare that my dead-naked-man-whore has done or said something that no dead-naked-man-whore would ever REALLY do or say, they’ll have some explaining to do lol!

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