Writing is a journey. Not only for you the reader but, in many ways, for me, the writer, and, believe it or not, for the characters in the book as well. The first one is obvious. If I’ve done my job right, you’ll escape, for a short while anyway, into the lives of my characters, vicariously sharing their thoughts, their challenges, their struggles, their dark moments, as well as their triumphs. You’ll root for the good guys and you’ll hate the bad guys. You’ll stay up late into the night, caught in the suspense, anxiously waiting to see what happens next. At the end, hopefully, you’ll close the book with a satisfied smile.
Writing is a journey for me too. A lot of thriller and suspense fiction is the classic struggle between good and evil. The good guy, or gal, faces some horrific, usually life-threatening challenges, and often times, some internal demons as well. The bad guy won’t stop until he’s achieved whatever evil he’s pursuing. The climax of the story is often the showdown between good and evil, and the ultimate triumph of one or the other. How I get from this generic big picture to the actual words on the page is my journey. Usually, thoughts and ideas seem to find their way to the paper and I write until I hit a point where I realize that I am woefully uneducated. What type of gun does the Secret Service use? How does Air Traffic Control work? What does the inside of the White House look like? Research fills in the blanks and, along the way, I get to meet some wonderful people. Inspired, new ideas will pop into my head and I can’t wait to start writing again.
Then there are questions that only my characters can answer. What does the protagonist look like? What is her struggle? How does he react under stress? Will she stand up for herself? What seems loose and fuzzy in the beginning will hopefully become clear as the journey progresses and the words make their way to the page.
In much the same way, writing is a journey for the characters. It may sound odd for a writer to say this, but characters, and the plot itself, seem to develop and evolve over time and in ways that I never imagined when I first sat down and started typing. More than once, I’ve found myself reflecting on something a character just did and thinking that I hadn’t envisioned that the character would do something like that when I first created him or her a dozen chapters earlier. Sometimes, a minor character who I created for one scene comes back to play a much more prominent role later on. The characters and the plot seem to go in directions that only they can choose and often I’m left following along.
I hope that you enjoy your journey reading In Sheep’s Clothing as much as I’ve enjoyed my journey writing it. As for the characters, I’ll let them speak for themselves.