Mark Terry

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Creative Tinkering

September 4, 2007
I'm currently hard at work on two separate and very different novels. I'll post more about this tomorrow, but here's a taste of each:

I stepped up to the security checkpoint in the Russell Senate Office Building and presented my ID and turned over my laptop.

The Capitol Police cop studied my creds and checked my name against her computer. “Dr. Davis,” she said. “You’re expected. You know the way?”

"I do.”

She waved me through the metal detector and I picked up my computer and proceeded through the rotunda of the building with its white marble statue of Senator Richard Russell, and took the stairs to the fourth floor. The statue stood in what the sculptor probably thought of as a leadership posture, but I’ve always noted that the right hand is low and palm up—like he was waiting for some lobbyist to lay some green in his palm. That’s the way my mind works.

And the other:

The tunnel abruptly ended. In the glow of her flashlight she saw a curtain of water dropping past the tunnel. She thought it was some sort of water runoff from the sewer systems. All the rain hitting the city had to go somewhere. Beijing was dotted with lakes—Kunming, Yuyan, Lianhua, to name a few—as well as the Jinhe River and irrigation canals. She didn’t know if this waterfall was intentional or part of a broken sewer or water line.

It didn’t matter. They were trapped.

A guttural voice behind them shouted, “Hands on your heads” in Cantonese.

Over the roar of the water Monaco heard the unexpected sound of Richter’s laughter. She stared at him. He shook his head. “Fuckin’ China. I hate this country.” He looked at her and smiled. “’The Fugitive’ or “Butch Cassidy’?”


He gripped her arm with sudden strength and launched them both out into the waterfall.

Mark Terry


Anonymous Eric Mayer said...

These both sound good. I love the little extra offbeat "description" of the statue showing how the character's mind works. I've read too many books where the descriptions seemed to have come out of a guidebook and the character doesn't seem to be interracting with the scenery. Plus I enjoy little quirky unexpected observations.

As for the other...I suppose there's no time to for them to reflect on how it didn't exactly turn out well in the end for Butch and Sundance...

9:15 AM  
Blogger Mark Terry said...

The second book strikes me as being a (for want of a better description) "Mark Terry" book. It's an espionage novel with a very strong action element, not different than my Derek Stillwater novels except it takes place in China.

The first book, I confess, I'm very much in love with the character, a political consultant who notes that he knows where the bodies are buried, often because he's the one that buried them. I'm writing it sort of like a PI novel except that the PI, ie., main character, isn't a PI, he's a political consultant who primarily is hired to solve problems of a generally political nature for, typically, politicians. I'm having a lot of fun with both, but I think the political thriller one is more fun, at least at the moment.

10:35 AM  
Blogger Joe Moore said...

Juggling two novels in the air is tough. My hat’s off to you, Mark. You referred to one of my favorite movie lines. Just before Harrison Ford goes over the dam in THE FUGITIVE, he tells Tommy Lee Jones, “I didn’t kill my wife.” Jones AKA Samuel Gerard answers, “I don’t care.”

When one of the IT guys would come to my office in my former day job and try to explain why the network had crashed, I would simply ask them, “Ever seen The Fugitive?” Having asked the question so many times in the past, they would always laugh and walk away knowing that I didn’t care—I just wanted it fixed.

This of course has nothing to do with your to writing samples. But to get back on track, I like number 2 the best.

2:34 PM  
Blogger Mark Terry said...

"He did a Peter Pan right off the bridge!"

"But I am trying to solve a puzzle. And I've found a big piece of it."

2:57 PM  
Blogger spyscribbler said...

I agree with Eric about #1. It's fun when the description illuminates both character and setting, and not just setting.

And of course I like the second one. You know me and spy fiction, not to mention I love how you do female POV. I swear to God, you do better female POV then many women, and I can't think of a single man that does it as well.

(You do male POV great, too ... I hope I didn't insult the male ego or anything, LOL.)

6:31 PM  
Blogger Mark Terry said...

flattered either way. Thanks.

6:26 AM  
Blogger Deb Baker said...

You're my hero! I write two series and can't bring myself to write them at the same time. Like the beginning of both of them.

6:22 AM  
Blogger Mark Terry said...

Just so you guys know, the way I keep 2 projects separate (when it works, it doesn't always) is to have one that's THE PROJECT and that's part of my workday. Typically first thing in the morning.

Then, the ancillary project is something I do in the evenings on the laptop, maybe while watching TV, and on weekends, while crashed out on the couch. Sometimes one project takes over and that's the only thing I can work on.

1:11 PM  
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8:59 PM  

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