Tag Archives: writing a novel

Writing the novel: Overcoming plot problems & cranking up the pace

IDENTIFYING THE PROBLEM…

I’ve been stymied. I hate that. I’ve been working on the new novel in the Hit Man Series, Hollywood Jesus. Several chapters went well, but there was something missing and I just figured out why it wasn’t firing on all cylinders. I was holding back. I wasn’t being reckless enough.

MY SOLUTION…

What makes Bigger Than Jesus such a great read is that it has the pace of a long chase scene with lots of twists and cliffhangers and no chance for anyone to catch their breath. I wrote Bigger Than in a certain way that was braver and less calculated than what I have been doing. As I wrote Bigger Than, each night I finished a chapter I often had no real idea how I’d get Jesus Diaz out of the corner I’d written him into. The next morning the answer came. (Sometimes it didn’t and I had to think longer, but when you ask the right question, the answer always appears.)

CUTTING & REWRITING…

The first stab at Hollywood Jesus wasn’t all bad. The chase scene with the cops and the scary way Jesus gets out of it? I’m keeping that. The meeting in the office? I’ll lose that. It’s too static and talky. I’m also keeping the big ending I’d planned, but the plots and plans and surprises go deeper and I’ll introduce new motivations. 

The first two books started out with a murder. This time? It’s different, but no less scary and creepy. The key to making the character work for the reader is that he was terribly abused as a child and my funny hit man identifies with innocent victims. Jesus has a code and he always tries to make sure no civilians are hurt on his missions. Now that I see how this plot is going to unfold, it’s a much bigger, more sweeping story that has roots all the way back to the heart of book one of the series.

Jesus Diaz was in deep trouble with my first attempt at this book. I understand now how I can shove him down so deep, Hollywood Jesus will have a deeper emotional impact as well as more action with a pace that matches Bigger Than Jesus. Maybe even faster.

THE BIG PICTURE…

Bigger Than Jesus

New York; Opens with fast, perilous action; it’s a quest for money, love and escape with the alluring Lily Vasquez. 

Theme: A man stands up to the Machine. He is not a cog.

Higher Than Jesus

Chicago; Opens with increasing tension, battling drug addiction while fighting  two opposing forces over an arms deal and trying to save the body and soul of the sexy glamazon, Willow Clemont.

Theme: To become who you are meant to be, you have to conquer your failings.

Hollywood Jesus

L.A.; Opens with a rescue; opens old wounds in a war with multiple, powerful enemies, a slavery ring that hits Jesus very close to his heart and two beautiful women. Expect betrayal. Even so, you’ll be surprised from whence it strikes.

Theme: Sacrifice for the greater good…sucks.

I got my groove back, Stella! (That’s a dated book and movie reference, but it made somebody reading this smile briefly.)

~ Get all the books by Robert Chazz Chute here.