Friday, December 24, 2010

Find Colorful Writing in Dialogue and Suspense

Dialogues: A Novel of SuspenseColorful writing is not always the result of fine re-writes and editing. Sometimes it starts right from the character's mouth. Every several thousand words or so, I will stumble across a word spoken from one of my characters that makes me appreciate the character's individuality more. Have you experienced that?

In my upcoming novel, The Doctor's Vice, I hear my character (Ivan) responding negatively toward someone he likes. No one else dare impose his opinion on my character, Saleem, but Ivan does and it's natural. I would like to share this work in progress with you. Hopefully, I'm making it happen.

In the opening chapter where I hope to create suspense, Saleem and Ivan are discussing the need to find a man who can complete the deed they have in mind without attracting police attention.

{I do not let the reader on to particulars at this point}

Later, I'm seeking to continue to elevate the suspense by continuing this scene.

"We're discussing the life of a human being here," Ivan said.

"It is also, business. No?"

Ivan nodded, affirmatively.

"How do we handle this problem?" Saleem asked.


Saleem accepted the cigar and removed an ashtray from the bottom drawer of his desk. The window directly to his back was open where cigar smoke drifted like foggy balloons with broken shapes as the first hint of sunlight cast rays onto the ashtray.

"A missing prosecutor. This will make trouble, no?"

"It's the only way."

Saleem studied his cigar, twirled it with four fingers and thumb, and then inhaled, constantly stroking the shaft. He half smiled. "Great cigar, no?"



"You're welcome, Saleem"

Saleem pointed his cigar towards Ivan. "Discretion is the word...yes?"

"Discretion and silence," Ivan agreed.

Saleem took another puff and pointed the cigar again, "And you can make this happen, yes?"

Ivan nodded.

"And no police."

"No police, Saleem."

"And she shall disappear like smoke in the wind, yes?"

"...but not without repercussions, Saleem."

"Repercussions? Explain."

Ivan explained the many ramifications of a missing prosecutor. "...and it'll create an intense investigation, Saleem."


"And that's fine as long as we cover our tracks."

"Then find me a man who does not leave tracks. Yes?"

"It will be...complicated. Expensive."

"This prosecutor. Louisa Handryman. LH," Saleem said, as he waived his cigar at a swarm of imaginary gnats,"is like unwanted pest, no?"

"All pest are unwelcome."

They laughed.

"Expensive. Complicated, you say. A problem."

"She's definitely a problem, Saleem."

"We eliminate problems," he said, pointing the cigar toward Ivan.