I like to write with a theme in mind. I’m generally pretty effing miserable to be around until I figure a story’s theme out. Well that’s my story, my wife says I’m somewhat miserable until the rough draft is done… Well I’ve got to give her that one. Mostly because I’m not a fan of figuring stuff out that’s new territory and lets face it, every story is new territory.
The new book involves a lot of research into some pretty unsavory stuff. A fairly common occurrence if you write thrillers. If there’s one common theme that keeps popping up there, it’s no matter how twisted you might think the scene you just write is, a few days later you’ll come across an account of something somebody actually did that makes your scene look like a child holding a balloon in a park.
And right now, my research is trying to learn about the political, economic and criminal nature of an entire country. Not a big country to be sure but a complex one (without a doubt) and in that bulk of research, I was still casting about for a theme to be my anchor (and apparently being miserable about it). In one of my screenwriting classes I remember the teacher (I think it was Alan DiFiore) giving a solid note on what to do with characters.
“You fuck them over and then you fuck them over some more and just when you think, man they’re completely fucked, you keep fucking them.” Which turned out to be a pretty good analogy for my screenwriting career. Still, those eloquent words have stuck with me, especially in story meetings. Still they floated into my head the other night as I was trying to get to sleep and in a flash I realized I knew what my theme was going to be and part of it was going to be a fourth level fuck over for my main character.
A smile crossed my face and I went to sleep.
By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked, this way comes.
Check out my Technothriller Devil’s Gambit. It’s less than a cup of coffee on Kindle.