Friday, January 21, 2011

Ace is on the case

My current work in progress has the amazingly original working title of Ace Two. (Y'all, I suck at titles.) This is the second story in my Paranormal Beat series. Ace One doesn't have a home yet but I'm working on the next one anyway. There is a lot of sound, reasonable advice about not writing a sequel until you sell the first one, but I'm doing it anyway because that's just how I roll.

Here's a little background:
 Aislinn "Ace" Jackson once dreamed of an illustrious career as a prize-winning investigative reporter but reality cut her dreams short. The Great Recession sends her to the unemployment line, forced to take the only journalism job she can get - working for a tabloid. But instead of covering starlets and scandal, Ace is stuck kicking it old-school. She used to write about political corruption and corporate crime, now she's covering alien abductions and Elvis sightings. Her career is hurtling down a dead-end road at top speed and all she wants is a way back to meaningful work. The last thing she expects is to find herself in a secret world full of fairytale monsters, conspiracies, and magic that is finally being exposed as real with modern science, medicine, and technology. But when she does she dives right in, determined to find the truth. Working the Paranormal Beat, Ace Jackson will get the story, one way or another.

Right now I'm in chapter two and Ace has left Point Sable, the fictional city that is home to both Ace herself and her tabloid employer Confidential Observer, for Sierra Fuego, the fictional city that is the focus of her latest investigation. So far I've done research on a few different things. Autopsies, for one. I found this handy guide for writers that is definitely worth bookmarking if you don't already know this stuff and think you might need it one day. I've also done a little reading on chupacabras, naguals, and habanero margaritas. Guess which one I find more frightening.

The specific scene I'm about to write is very important because it will introduce the male main character for this story, a shaman. They meet in a bar that in my imagination is reminiscent of the one at the beginning of Desperado. Not the one where Antonio Banderas plays guitar, the one where Cheech Marin was the bartender and Banderas shot the place up in spectacular fashion. Okay, maybe it won't be that bad, but it's definitely a place that doesn't roll out the welcome mat for strangers.

Writing tip: when you're writing scenes like this, don't mention the movie because that is the same as telling - show the place. Use your senses and your vocabulary to paint a picture. The reader doesn't necessarily have to recognize your inspiration.

So, it's an important scene, and I think I just figured out how to raise the stakes even higher. Maybe being attacked by chupacabras will teach that bartender not to serve something like habanero margaritas.

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