Tag Archives: WIP

Stand Alone or Series

This is a comparative post about two different story lines and how they would best be served, the feedback I received on writing my last novel and the feedback I have received on writing my current novel (s). Therein lays the dilemma.

I will try not to ramble. These are thoughts floating around in my head, so they may come out a bit disorganized. My head is like that.

If you have read “Red Clay and Roses” this will make much more sense to you, but you should be able to follow the idea even if you have not. “Red Clay and Roses” really turned out to be a family saga. It was; however forced into one book which covered a long time period. Being a fictionalized true story presented challenges. I did not want to deviate tremendously from what actually occurred.

Not setting out to write a novel, I wrote the book the way the events actually happened:

The Introduction: In 2012, Hannah recalling finding the ledger in 1992.

Part One: The interviews of interesting people involved in what occurred in the 1950s and 60s that took place in 1992-93 when Hannah found the ledger.

Part Two: Followed that with the story learned from Sybil, a cousin of Hannah’s who was deeply enmeshed with ledger and those people involved in the 1950s and 60s. This story that was gleaned from her diaries was put together in novel form rather than as diary entries.

Then, the conclusion, again in 2012, was derived from Hannah’s personal experience in bringing her lost family members together after so many years.

The problem here is that Hannah is a main character, but is not even born until 1960. She should have never been a main character. In fact, she might not have been involved at all until 2012 when she pulls the strands of the family together in a most hopeful outcome.

I struggled with determining main characters from the get go. Whose perspective did I want this book written in? I wrote it in Hannah’s because that was the perspective that I could most personally relate to. Part One ended up being written in first person and Part Two was written in third person. We go back to first person in the conclusion.

While the family saga played out nicely as a story line, the writing styles were fucked up. They muttled the story line making things somewhat confusing to follow. There was an enormous amount of ground to cover as cohesively as possible from 1953 to 2012. The back story derived from the interviews, which I read two opposing viewpoints on just today, could have easily been used for character development. The story could have started in 1953, culminated in 1971, with the finale in 2012. Instead, I have these two characters, Moses Grier and Ms. Bea, the good doctor’s wife, ancillary characters actually, relating events that occurred in their lives in the 1930s and 1940s. How fucked up is that?

So, the severe critique that I received recently has me thinking about the main character’s importance. I used the good doctor as an ancillary character, when he could have very well been the main character. I don’t know if I would have done a trilogy as the critique suggested, but approaching the story from that angle could have certainly simplified much of the story. There would have been a lot less unnecessary information, and the other characters would have been strengthened in their roles as they related to him.

Okay, this is all hindsight. I won’t be re-writing this story. I have no plans to turn it into a trilogy. But the critique has me thing about my current work.

“Red Clay and Roses” is a very good book, if you have the intelligence to process the purpose of Ms. Bea’s psychosis into how it relates to the storyline, and Moses’ grief and how it relates to the story line. Covering such a long time span from 1953-1971 in the bulk of the story was an enormous amount of information in a 445 page book. The pace was good and there was a lot of action (certainly not the kind that has flying unicorns with stars shooting out of their rainbow colored wing tips). It is a deeply reflective story, powerful and thought provoking.

I can’t expect all readers to have that sort of mind. Especially with all of the simplistic formulaic “book mill” material people are producing and reading these days, both traditional and independent.  True literature is fast becoming a dead horse. People don’t want to think deeply, they want TV action.

I am; however, looking at my current work in progress and trying to assure I don’t make similar mistakes with the character development. I am also trying to decide if I need to do this as one book or; perhaps, a trilogy.

I feel a need to say something here: I don’t write, nor do I plan to write mainstream genre fiction!

SEROIUSLY, IF YOU BELIEVE THAT EVERY WRITER ASPIRES TO BE TRADITIONALLY PUBLISHED YOU ARE WRONG!

While there are many traditionally published books that I love, there are also many independently published books that I love. There are traditionally published books that I have laid down and could not finish and there are independently published books that I have set aside.  I don’t feel that traditional is synonymous with quality. I also don’t feel that traditional publishing is synonymous with success. I have known many amazing and talented musicians who never cut a recording deal. Does that make them any less talented or amazing?

There is a lot wrong with traditional publishing in my opinion. It has become far too formulaic and genre specific for marketing purposes. It has become a commercial industry losing its value in the area of creativity. Industry standards govern production to a point where authors are telling authors what is right or wrong about their product based on genre specific sales data, rather than literary merit. I don’t mean helpful writing advice or suggestions, but how to make it fit into a marketable box.  The tired, but tried and true, heroes and heroines with their happy endings in romance, and the criminals/villains with no color captured by the enterprisingly clever crime fighters bore me to tears. But they sell tons.

Are you trying to write an overnight marketable product or are you trying to develop great literature? Truly great literature, like Charles Dickens and Mark Twain, Anne Rice and John Grisham, Tolkien and Rowling started as something much smaller than a best seller. There are many pieces of great literature that are only one book. Here are ten popular books by authors who never wrote more than one book:

1 Dead Medium 
by Peter John
2 Shadow Hills
by Anastasia Hopcus

3 To Kill a Mockingbird 
by Harper Lee

4 Wuthering Heights 
by Emily Brontë
5 The Picture of Dorian Gray 
by Oscar Wilde

6 Gone with the Wind 
by Margaret Mitchell
7 The Catcher in the Rye 
by J.D. Salinger

8 The Bell Jar 
by Sylvia Plath

9 Black Beauty 
by Anna Sewell
10 Doctor Zhivago 
by Boris Pasternak

Maybe I am in this thing for the wrong reasons. I don’t have a writing career objective.

I write with passion for the pure pleasure of writing.

I read volumes of historical fiction. I like learning about different time periods while I read. The stories are varied and colorful and often have unpredictable outcomes. My husband reads volumes of crime novels. He can always predict the outcome, but he has gotten bored with the traditionally published novels. He reads two or three a week and it is the same story told ten thousand ways. Good guys catch bad guys. If it weren’t for some regional authors, he would have given up on them long ago. He is starting to branch out into some interesting independent work that has him fascinated. Misha Burnett’s series is an example. I am proud of them both. Misha for writing such a captivating set of books, and my husband for giving them a try.

Now that I have rambled off topic for a few paragraphs, let me get back to my point. The trilogy idea.

This new work in progress is also a family saga of sorts. It also takes place in the 1950s and goes into the 1990s, so I am seriously thinking of breaking it into a three book series, not necessarily for marketing purposes, but because of the time span involved. I don’t want to rush or gloss over important relationships.

Not being altogether a true story, there is no inherent need to lay it out as it happened. Book One will cover Claudette and Carol coming of age struggling through a sordid past and dealing with the humiliations of mental illness.

Book Two will cover Carol’s suicide, Claudette’s dealing with the suicide and her healing process that involves helping others heal through music.

Book Three will cover Claudette’s own daughter’s suicide and how she processes through that while guiding her niece through the loss of her cousin who seemed like a sister to her as they grew up together and both became professional nurses; the latter book giving me opportunity to write my own autobiography contribution of sorts that I have been working on as a side project, and including my story in theirs.

This might actually lead to a Book Four.

I don’t intend to do this for marketing purposes, but to write three or four compelling novels that stand as a series. I would not release one, until I had all three or four ready for release. We are talking years down the road, but what do I have but time? I am not paying any bills here.

If you have managed to follow this long ramble on my disordered thought process, what do you think, stand alone or series?

Another question, and one I struggle with in all of my writing, what person to write in?

In a series, do I need to stay with third person if I start with third person?

Readers, Writers and Editors: Need Help and Thoughts on Attribution and Dialog Tags

 

SAID_thumb4I have some questions about attribution or dialog tags.

When I wrote the first manuscript of “Red Clay and Roses”, I used very few attribution tags in dialog. Often the action was stated and a comma indicated the quote, followed by the quote, and the end quote.

When the work was edited, the editor told me that I needed more attribution tags throughout the manuscript.

It was a lot of work to go back and add these. The work seemed chopped up to me. There seemed much greater pauses in the action than I had intended. It was also a challenge to come up with unique and original tags for such a long manuscript. The flow was affected, but I left them. The editor said it read better, but I felt I lost some of the writing style.

Now, I am working on a new manuscript. Again, the only time I have been using attribution tags is when I want to indicate a certain tone of voice, or a thought the character is having.

I don’t really want to go back and edit these into the entire manuscript, so I am asking for thoughts on this. Is it a style issue or am I clearly wrong to write so much dialog without attribution tags.

******************************SPOILER ALERT***********************************

Here is an example from my new WIP:

Original

Snatching open the screened door, Claudette found her mother writhing on the living room floor in front of the piano. Blood oozed from a wound on her head. Her limbs twitched and jerked violently and her eyes rolled back. Her jaw was locked. Claudette saw her daddy standing in the kitchen, gun in hand. “I didn’t shoot her! But maybe I should have! She’s having an epileptic fit. I think she hit her head on the piano bench when she fell.”

Claudette looked mildly reassured and knelt beside her mother, “Hand me a cold rag.”

Hershel wet a cloth and brought it to his daughter. “Laura Belle Barber, my own wife, pulled a gun on me, Claudette! She was angry about yesterday’s tips being too little to buy any groceries, she accused me of holding back money from the family to buy liquor, and she pulled a God damned gun on me! I didn’t even know she had a gun!”

Laura Belle relaxed and was snoring deeply in post convulsion slumber. Hershel laid the small pistol on the counter next to the sink, “She pointed the gun at my face, and I pushed her back, grabbing the gun, and that’s when it went off.” He pointed to the hole in the ceiling, “I guess we best check upstairs and make sure nobody got hurt.”

“You do that, Daddy. It’s a small scrape, nothing serious. I’ve got things here. Go on to work afterward. You’re going to be late. You don’t need to be here if someone has called the police. Check with the Marshes upstairs. Tell them you were cleaning the gun when it went off, and then go on to Chuck’s. Here’s your music, get going.” She passed him his briefcase from beside the piano.

Hershel took his briefcase from Claudette as she went back to tending her mother’s wound, “Where’s Carol?”

“I left her outside, just go, Daddy. Like I said, I have things here under control.”

After I added Tags:

Snatching open the screened door, Claudette found her mother writhing on the living room floor in front of the piano. Blood oozed from a wound on her head. Her limbs twitched and jerked violently and her eyes rolled back. Her jaw was locked. Claudette saw her daddy standing in the kitchen, gun in hand.  He immediately began to defend himself, “I didn’t shoot her! But maybe I should have! She’s having an epileptic fit. I think she hit her head on the piano bench when she fell.”

Claudette looked mildly reassured and knelt beside her mother, “Hand me a cold rag,” she demanded.

Hershel wet a cloth and brought it to his daughter. “Laura Belle Barber, my own wife, pulled a gun on me, Claudette!” He explained, “She was angry about yesterday’s tips being too little to buy any groceries, she accused me of holding back money from the family to buy liquor, and she pulled a God damned gun on me! I didn’t even know she had a gun!”

Laura Belle relaxed and was snoring deeply in post convulsion slumber. Hershel laid the small pistol on the counter next to the sink, he continued, “She pointed the gun at my face, and I pushed her back, grabbing the gun, and that’s when it went off.” He pointed to the hole in the ceiling, “I guess we best check upstairs and make sure nobody got hurt.”

“You do that, Daddy. It’s a small scrape, nothing serious. I’ve got things here. Go on to work afterward. You’re going to be late. You don’t need to be here if someone has called the police. Check with the Marshes upstairs. Tell them you were cleaning the gun when it went off, and then go on to Chuck’s. Here’s your music,” she offered, “get going.” She passed him his briefcase from beside the piano.

Hershel took his briefcase from Claudette, as she went back to tending her mother’s wound, and asked, “Where’s Carol?”

“I left her outside, just go, Daddy. Like I said, I have things here under control.”

To me the attribution tags seem to slow down the action and steal the flow from the event. It seems too stifled.

What do you think? Does all speech need to be introduced or qualified?

Sunday Synopsis

I have been in a funk all week.  Really, it has been about a month and while I know the two primary causes for most of this lowness in my life, I haven’t been able to resolve them to my satisfaction, so I remain in a funk.

This week, I am going into a saltwater sensory deprivation chamber.  Not because of the funk…with that, I am sort of already there.  There is a company called Total Zen Float here in Orlando.  From what I have learned, “floating” is the “in” thing.  Now, I know what’s “in” is “out”, so they say, but this is new to me, so it’s “in”.  I know that sensory deprivation doesn’t sound exciting, but it is relaxing and as busy as I have been this past month (mostly spinning my wheels, I’ll add) I need relaxing.  My daughter wanted to give me an interesting and different birthday present so she is giving me hours “floating”.  It’s right up there with Migun bed, hot yoga, and salt cave.  Not as mundane as massage, pedicure and manicure.  So I have this new experience to look forward to enjoying.

I have always been a, “Try anything once,” thrill seeker…I have just gotten too old for some of the more actively exciting stuff.  I used to float on my back and gaze at the stars for hours in the pool at Cypress Cove.  The pool guy would come by and check on me every thirty minutes, or so, just to make sure I was okay because I floated still (and nude) on my back for hours staring at the stars, and contemplating the greater aspects of the universe.  Here, there are not even any stars:

I am no longer doing Sunday Summations, because it was becoming a chore and I hate chores.  Life is too short.  I want it all to be fun.  That’s why I retired early, to have fun while I still could.

I love writing, and I have been doing a lot of writing but not on my blog or the CSB.  Also, I have put my WIP on hold.  I am not abandoning it.  I have this story that has been in my head a very long many years.  I want to execute it properly, but first, I need to pound it out…just rough out the story and stop trying to make it fit into a box.  That’s the only way I can explain it. I’ll do it at my own pace, even if it takes me years. No pressure.

I hope you had a terrific weekend and your work week is even finer if you work, and is as productive or nonproductive as you desire if you don’t.

Questions for Readers to Aid With WIP

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I have a few quick questions for readers:

How long do you like for your chapters to be?

This is a crime novel that I am putting together.

I am hoping for it to become a series, so the word count per book probably won’t be as long as a stand alone book would be.

I have read some James Patterson, Jonathan and Faye Kellerman recently and find most of the chapters to be short and numerous.

Some of these books have as many as 44 chapters, but still having the same numbers of pages per book as other books with fewer chapters.

Do you like for each chapter to cover just one scene, or do you like two or three scenes in one chapter?

I am using Scrivener for setting up the novel, so scenes are easy to move around.

With my last book, a Historical Fiction/Faction novel, the chapters were very long, 20-30 pages, often with numerous scenes in one chapter, but it covered many years, not just days or weeks. In paperback it has come to 430 pages, 98,000 words. (286 on a reader).

Some people complained that the chapters were too long.

Do you get bored or tired of reading books with long chapters, even if fleurons are used to break up scenes?

Do you feel, as a reader, that shorter chapters are easier to get through?  Do you prefer just one scene per chapter or does it depend on the flow of the story?

This is a new genre for me and genre writing and rules can be very different.

Page counts can be tricky.  The word count per page is typically 350 words.

Word counts for scenes are usually about 1500 to 2000 words (about 5-6 pages).

Some people feel short chapters can be too distracting.

Would you want your chapters to be 2000 words (5-6 pages), or would 6000 words (or would 15-20 pages) work for you?

I am shooting for an 80,000 word count novel.

That would give me just shy of 230 (paperback) pages, maybe a little more.

If it goes as long as 100,000, it would make it roughly 286 pages.

Would you feel like you are getting your money’s worth at 80,000 words or would you want to see at least 100,000?

Any ideas, thoughts, or suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

Scrivener Character Profiles on Index Cards Pinned to Corkboard

Capture

click to enlarge

Crime Novel

So this is my first clip from Scrivener where I set up my character sketches and I have the character images on my corkboard.  Kinda cool, huh?

I have character sketches made up for all of the characters who will be in the first half dozen chapters.

The writing is coming along well.  I won’t update my word count until Sunday, but I am really having fun with this.

Soon, this book will need a title and so will the series!

(PS. This is all subject to change.  I already changed Cara’s last name to one that fit better.)

Here is one example of a character sketch:

Character sketchClick to enlarge

Researching the WIP

Cloud_10h

I am not doing NaNo, but I have committed to getting as much work done on my W.I.P. as possible.  It is a crime novel/murder mystery series. I don’t have a title for the first book, or the series yet, and I am still in the research phase.  This week my research involves the following:

Confer with Dr. G. the Orange Co. M.E. (yet again) re: murder weapons and stab wounds/DNA testing in 2005

Cold case procedure

Osceola Co. jail

The Parliament House Resort, Orlando

Melbourne seaside parks

I-95 exits near Melbourne

Slang used in the Trans community

Alternate lifestyles

Golf Course acreage

Asian (Vietnamese language and customs)

Little Saigon

Airboats

Bass fishing boats

Maps for Big Lake Tohopekaliga (Toho)

East lake Toho

Southport Park

Seasonal water weeds growth patterns

Martial arts

Self-defense for women

Glock handguns

Chuluota Sporting Club/ Gun Range

Trucks and cars in the year 2005-8

Maps of Intersession City topography

Military police

Yeehaw Junction’s Road Kill Café and Brothel

Human trafficking statistics

Dry cleaning chemicals

St Cloud diners

Disney and other resorts

Restaurant, Population, and Hotel statistics in Orlando area

Florida weather patterns in 2005 and 2008

With what I have already written in my former WIP that was scraped, this research should take me at least through chapter five or six.  I am a stickler for accurate details so this should be fun.  There will much more research as we move into the politics of the murder victim’s spouse, his partner, and the psychological implications of the children involved.

I am trying to keep the chapters short and to the point. Many of these items I already know something about, but accuracy adds to realism, so I am checking some facts.  I love learning and actually visiting the places I write about, so I will be out a lot of the next week or so and then have more focus on my writing.

I know this seems like a lot of research, but there is very little that I need to know about some of these items, as I already have some experience, and others there is much to learn.

I like that this is really starting to gel well in my mind.  The plot and subplots are coming together very well.  I have several crimes in mind that can carry this story arc across several books without losing the primary theme.  I also like the often misunderstood dynamics of alternate lifestyles being a primary focus.

Oh yeah!  I forgot to add this pic:

desk 007

The desk you could not see for all of the papers in previous posts. I cleaned it up yesterday.  Probably the cleanest you will ever see my desk for the next six months, or so.  I do have about five spiral bound notebooks for jotting down details, even though I am trying to use Scrivener more effectively this time.

Blog Culture: Sunday Summations

Organization_Triangle

Sunday Summations

I am trying to get a better handle on scheduling on this blog, and I would also like to highlight some blogs that I have become acquainted with so you get to know them too.  Sunday summations should be a regular feature as I examine my week and my goals.  Future Sunday Summations will probably be much shorter.

Summing up my weekly happenings:

1. Structure:  How I am attempting to stay organized.

  • I have created some drop down menus on this blog to better organize and lesson the length of the menu.  The subtitles should make things pertinent to the titles easier to find.
  •  I have completed the settings posts for Red Clay and Roses, the novel, and those can now be found under the menu title of the novel.  I may divide out the feature posts as well.  These settings and features are designed for fans to find more info on the book.
  • It is a goal to have a new posts added to each menu title or a subtitle weekly.
  • I may be adding other menu titles as new subjects develop.  I would really like to have a humor post at least once weekly…sometimes I can be funny, even if I am laughing at myself in the process.  I try not to laugh at the expense of others, but sometimes that happens too.

2. People: Cruising my Reader, and getting to know more and more WordPress family and friends, I have collected some blogs that are of significance to me for one reason or another. They are from a variety of interests and I am sure some of you will find them interesting, as well.  Check these folk out!  They are really cool!  I have categorized what I could. These categories are subject to change weekly.

  • Book reviews:

  • Queen of all things Books: Ionia Martin’s Readful Things. (Many sneak peeks with advance reader copies.)
  •  An all genre serious reviewer: Rosie Amber at Rosie Amber
  •  Master of Collectables: Julian Froment at Julian Froment’s Blog
  • Music:

  •  A lovely Soprano with a beautiful voice & 150,957 followers: Charlotte Hoather
  • Writers writing:

  • A lady with a sense of humor about her serious writing efforts: Katie Sparkes at Disregard the Prologue.
  • Wonderful poetry and short stories: Helen Midgley
  • New author with a new blog and a newly published book: Dean Kealy at Dean’z Worldz
  • Math & Science:

  • Fascinating and artistically colorful geometry for the fun of it: Robert Austin at Robert Loves Pi (Prepare to be dazzled.)
  • Scientist, deep thinker, and poet: Erik Andrulis at Anacephalaeosis
  • Useful Information for writers, authors & bloggers

  • Everything about Publishing and Marketing: Chris McMullen at Chris McMullen
  • Promotional Event for all authors, readers and gift givers.  Get signed up.  This is going to be HUGE!: Chris McMullen at Read Tuesday
  • New feature on blog “How to on WordPress” videos: Bradley Corbett at Green Embers (He takes requests BTW)
  • Guidance on writing techniques regardless of your genre: Victoria Grefer at Creative Writing with the Crimson League
  • Humor:

  • My kind of off the wall funny stuff: Rob Pop at Humans Are Weird (He always makes the time to return comments, and can often be even funnier when he does.)

Gosh!  So many creative geniuses…I could go on forever, but there will be other days!

3.   Process:  Just an update on my own personal progress this week:

  • With the help of blogger friends and readers in my reading and critique group, I decided on a prologue for my first book in this yet to be titled work and series.
  • There are now four beta readers for my new WIP (not counting my husband).
  • I got 12 bookstores lined up to buy copies of Red Clay and Roses when the paperback is live.
  • We are almost there with the paperback at CreateSpace.  It has been an interesting but sometimes frustrating journey.
  • My new bookmarks came in this week.  I think they are much more professional and not so microsofty as my last bookmarks.  My former ones were created by my publisher.  I would highly recommend having your bookmark image created by your cover image artist.  They can work wonders with graphics.  Thanks to Charles Yallowitz’s idea at Legends of Windemere, the QR codes are a great way to advertise without looking so much like an ad and they give me opportunity to make immediate sells on my smartphone without carrying around a pile of books.
  • New Bookmarks
    New Bookmarks
Old Bookmarks
Old Bookmarks

Sorry my formatting really sucked on this post.  I have yet to conquer formatting, which is why I have an independent publisher prepare my books 🙂

WIP: I need help concerning nicknames!

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I need help from readers and writers concerning nicknames in published works.  Everybody knows McDonald’s by the nickname Mickey D’s.  At least, I think they do.  I named my youngest son Daniel, and I refused, though, to allow anyone to call him Danny or Dan, because I liked and wanted Daniel.

I have come to a point in my work in progress where I seriously need to decide on a name for my detective.  Right now, I am using a Scrivener name generator produced name for my detective and I don’t like it.

I have decided on either Robert Richardson, or Richard Robertson and I will tell you why.  It has to do with nicknames.  Many nicknames can be made from Robert: Bob, Rob, Bert, and from Richardson: Rich.  Likewise many nicknames can be made from Richard; Rich, Ricky, and Robertson. These can be used interchangeably between Christian and Sir names, if need be.  This is most likely going to be a series, so this name will follow him throughout.

Questions though:  Do you really care for nicknames in what you are reading, or do they bother you? Do they get too confusing?  If the name stays the same in narrative, are nicknames more acceptable in dialog?  Or do they still trouble you?

I have read books that used nicknames in dialog without problem and it was easy to follow.  I have also read nicknames used in narrative and dialog that became too difficult to follow, especially at the beginning of a book.  I have a couple of humorous scenes in my WIP wherein the detective could get into trouble because of the use of nicknames, but I am unsure if the reader would enjoy that, or would it be too confusing?  This detective takes his work seriously, but has a rather not so serious sidekick.  The detective is fortyish, comes from a small town outside of Atlanta, GA (no, I won’t call him Bubba), and currently resides in Orlando, FL.

I know that he has sold 19 million copies of The Bat: The electrifying first appearance of Jo Nesbø’s detective, Harry Hole.  But I can’t go with anything like Hairy Hole…I just can’t do it.

What are your thoughts on reading books with nicknames? Do nicknames make a storyline too challenging to follow?  Do you have any suggestions on; perhaps, a different name besides the two that I am debating?

Crime Novel WIP Help Needed

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As many of you know, I have had two works in progress, an autobiography of sorts and a crime novel/murder mystery.  I have decided to focus my energies on the later.  My husband reads two to three books a week in this genre, but we have a minor disagreement on how to proceed with the crime drama/murder mystery.  I need your thoughts on this dilemma.  He tells me, of course, the ultimate decision is mine on how to proceed, but I need your feedback, so I will pose the question here.

If and when you read crime fiction/murder mystery, or watch a show on TV like NCIS or Criminal Minds, do you like to know who the bad guy is before the protagonist does, or do you like to wait until they solve the crime and be surprised?

I like helping the good guys figure it out and exploring options in my head.  I don’t like it when authors or movie directors show glimpses of the bad guy in advance.  It spoils the intrigue for me.  It takes away the fun and makes watching the good guys come to the right conclusions less suspenseful.  It removes the element of challenge, which is part of what I like most about such shows and reading.

My husband, who really enjoys both, likes to have some background into the bad guy’s life. He wants to see him set up the crime and see how the good guys work to find out what he already knows.  My husband feels that it does not spoil the read to have the backstory on the bad guy/criminal, but offers insight into his behavior which can lead the protagonist down the right road to making clever decisions.  He says that a lot of his favorite books center around the bad guy’s history.

I am at a point in this writing where I have to make this decision soon.  So, what do you think?  Want to see the bad guy set up the crime, or want to wait and be surprised?