Mark Terry

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Brainstorm or Light Drizzle?

June 23, 2010
I'm working on the next Derek Stillwater novel, The Sins of the Father, and it is kicking my ass. So yesterday, in hopes of finding some clue as to what to do, I started a conversation myself and saved it in a file called Brainstorm. Here's a slightly edited version, in that there are things in the original I don't want the general reading public to know about the wip or other ideas.

Hi Mark. Sins of the Father bugging you again?


Besides that it takes place in Russia?

Yes. That’s a headache, but I don’t think it’s an unsurmountable one. Insurmountable? But I constantly feel bogged down.

Some of that’s the Russia details, isn’t it?

Yes, but a lot of it that I just don’t know where the fuck this book’s going.

Talk it out. Tell me what it’s about.


What is it they want her to do?

I don’t know.

Brainstorm, then. This might be the key to the book. What can she do that their own members can’t do?

She has access to the FSB.

Is that high enough?

I’m not sure.

What if The Red Hand wanted her to smuggle a bomb into FSB headquarters. Blow up Lubyanka?


The Kremlin?

Another thought kicked in. What other ideas could you do with Derek that wouldn’t fuck you over so bad?

Well, there’s the one in Jacksonville, Florida, which I know starts with an investigation into a theft of radioactive materials from a hospital.

You just had another idea, didn’t you?

I did. I’ve been thinking about Randy Wayne White and the way many of Doc Ford’s stories get real personal, and I thought it would be fun to have Derek do something for a friend. He’s got friends from the military, the CIA, etc., and one of them could ask him for a favor. And the idea that just popped into my mind involved having a friend almost get killed by an assassin—Mikhail Grechko?—and him asking Derek to cover his—or her—back while they try to figure out what happened.

Another thing would be for a friend to be killed by an assassin and have Derek dig into it.

I can tell you’re more interested in those ideas.

[Insert thought: Shiny New Idea Syndrome?]

I know. I need to maybe do some boring drills.

Any ideas that might work for titles?




Righteous Anger.

Kind of like that one if someone important to Derek is killed. In fact, you could still kill off [EDITED], just have it done in the US for some reason and that’s how he finds out about Lev. Why would [she] be in the US?

Accompanying a Russian delegation of one sort or another. In fact, it could be an assassination attempt on the delegation that she gets killed or injured.

Vengeance Is Mine


Blogger Erica Orloff said...

It's always tricky discerning whether you want to switch projects or ideas because it's too HARD or because you really have a better idea. Good luck getting out of the thicket!


6:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Mark, true story. The thriller I'm working on now is titled Trouble Shooter.

Also, one of Louis L'Amour's Hopalong Cassidy novels was titled Trouble Shooter.

Problem is, no one in my critique group likes the title (thankfully, they like the story), and I think it's only average. Then again, I'm awful at coming up with titles, and maybe it works well for your story.

Good luck with the WIP brainstorming --don't let the details bog you down.

-- Largo Chimp

11:58 AM  

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