art from day of the dead.
Dia De Los Muertos Festival
Artwork at the Dia De Los Muertos Festival hosted by MECA in the Sixth Ward near downtown Houston Texas. Copyright by WyoJones. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

And some mornings, I see a dead person in the mirror looking back at me. And I’m a little surprised to be standing and breathing (not saying I don’t check some mornings before I look in the mirror). As I’ve mentioned before, I’m basically an optimistic person, so I eventually decide I’m going to live and then my thoughts turn to fictional endeavors, which—because of where my fictions trends—takes me right back to dead people.

So when the hubs posted a series of photos he’d taken from the “Day of the Dead” celebration from November 1st, it appeared my blog was going to head toward dead people, too, helped by this quote that popped up on Facebook:

“Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can see only as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.”
—E.L. Doctorow

And me being me, the headlights tend to light up potential fictional victims. It wasn’t always that way. When I was working on my second novel (THE LAST ENEMY), one of my daughters told me, “Mom, you need to kill someone.”

She was quite correct. So I did. (Fictionally!)

It was not my first fictional murder. Bodies were strewn about in THE SPY WHO KISSED ME. But those sort of just got mown down without my overt complicity, dictated by a speeding plot car. In THE LAST ENEMY, this my first “malice aforethought” fictional murder. I created a character for the explicit purpose of knocking them off.

I felt bad about that. They hadn’t done anything wrong, other than showing up for my novel. Luckily, I hadn’t had time to get too attached to them. And I was busy peering ahead, trying to figure out what happened next.

There are times when characters are meant to go down and they surprise me—and my fictional killers—by managing to survive. They exceed my expectations. Once I even had a killer elude me and escape justice (no, won’t tell you which book. That would be a spoiler.). He’s still out there somewhere. A nasty fellow. I keep hoping, that if he does show up in my plot car headlights, I can run over him and move on. Like a speed bump that doesn’t make it into a book. A most unpleasant fellow (can you tell I’ve been listening to a Dame Agatha audio book? My words sound a bit British inside my head. I should probably wrap this up before too much more creeps in.)

I would add to the above quote, that my plot car careens wildly all over the place, going off road, back on and sometimes right off cliffs. Thank goodness it is all fiction. I hate heights. I survive the crashes, put my battered car back on the road and take off again. I always mean to go slowly and figure things out with dignity and deliberation, but I seem to have a lead foot. Pretty soon I’m speeding forward again, ideas flashing past, bodies sometimes tumbling here and there. Stuff happening all over the place until plot and author collapse in a heap at The End.

It’s a bit dark, but also cathartic. It’s probably one reason I’m so optimistic and as mellow as my gene pools allows me to be. Of course, the hubs keeps claiming that I’m regularly offing him in my books, but it’s not true. I rather like him (oh my, there’s that British again. Definitely stopping this.). And he does take such fun photos, which he lets me use in my blog posts and on the covers of my books. Just don’t tell him I said that. I think he gets a kick out of wondering which victim he was in my books.

girl celebrating day of dead
Dia De Los Muertos Festival Copyright by WyoJones. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Have you ever wanted to be a fictional victim in a novel? (Ha, you didn’t see that question coming, did you? And I’m totally not clutching at straws.) Have you ever read a book and wondered? (Interesting side note: if you read Agatha Christie’s autobiography, then her books. Oh yeah. She used real people, or at least their quirks in her characters.)

Remember that all comments are entered in my monthly drawing for an AnaBanana gift basket ($25 value). If you haven’t popped over to her website recently, she’s whipped up some amazing new stuff, btw. Ahem, yes, anyway, I announce the winner the first blog post of the new month. 🙂

AnaBanana logo

Perilously yours,
Pauline

“A highly suspenseful, should-be-a-movie, totally entertaining tale of derring-do, The Last Enemy defies categorization–at least by me. All I can tell you is: I enjoyed every word and was sorry when I reached the end. If you really liked the movie, Romancing the Stone, then you will absolutely love The Last Enemy and be clamoring at Hollywood’s gates to make this book into the next “really great movie.” Very Highly Recommended, Under the Cover Reviews

Last Enemy cover
Haunted by the death of her child and stalked by a killer, romance author Dani Gwynne wants to want to live long enough to testify.

You can safely buy this book right now. (Only fictional characters died in the creation of this novel.)

I See Dead People (Who Were Never Really Alive)
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8 thoughts on “I See Dead People (Who Were Never Really Alive)

  • November 10, 2014 at 8:33 pm
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    I used to be a pantser. I never knew who was going to die. In my two latest novels, I became a plotter. Still can’t see past the headlights, but I do have an idea of who might be standing in the road because they are marked on the map. All that to say, we all have to die sometime, it might as well be in the interests of good fiction.

    • November 12, 2014 at 11:22 am
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      That’s a good attitude! Characters certainly seem to have short life spans. LOL I kind of kangaroo plot. I try to plot a few scenes ahead, with a destination point called The End. 🙂

  • November 10, 2014 at 9:44 am
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    The Baen authors are notorious for offering readers the chance to be “red-shirted.” Wen Spencer will pop up occasionally in her forum asking for male or female volunteers. She’ll usually get a few physical details as well.

    • November 10, 2014 at 4:17 pm
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      That sounds rather fun! I would probably volunteer to be red-shirted because in real life, I would go down fast. LOL

  • November 10, 2014 at 8:48 am
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    You know, it’s funny. My daughter loves to write fiction. She’s been writing since 4th grade when she and two other friends started collaborating together. Since then she’s continued her own stories, and they their own. But one of the things that developed out of that beginning was that she would regularly introduce a new character into her stories based on someone from school. Why? – because they asked. “I want to be in your story!” So she’d ask some personality questions and create a fictional bad-ass character for them. And since she also loves drawing, she’d draw them in character too. It got so popular, that she created a questionnaire form for people to fill out. Even some of her teachers are in there. Like Mr. Simon, who has head exploding powers and must be careful with his stare. She’s always had a level of humor in it. And friends who wanted to be werewolves or vampires or whatever. “I need a character who is going to die a tragic death after saving the world. Who wants to be it?” She’s 17 now. I’ve heard her tell me about her bits and ideas for years, but do you know she’s never allowed me to actually read any of it yet? She keeps telling me it’s not where she wants it yet. It’s not good enough mom! And she has this other idea she’s been working on for years too, that’s all her own. And I keep saying, honey – let’s get something together and help you self-publish! But she’s not there yet. One day….
    Julia recently posted…Your Priorities Are Killing YouMy Profile

    • November 10, 2014 at 8:57 am
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      Oh my goodness! It sounds adorable! She should totally get it out there!! Do the other people get to read it? Maybe you need to fill out the form so you can get in! I think I want in. LOL If she’s worried, maybe she should try Wattpad? Just try a chapter or two there? There a strong community of young adult readers there. But tell her she needs to share it with the world! Perfect isn’t possible. Trust me. I know. LOL

      • November 10, 2014 at 11:13 pm
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        I know right? One of these days, not only do I have to catch you at a convention, so we can actually have coffee or margaritas together, but now I think she needs to hear someone other than mom say – share! Don’t try to be perfect! LOL. Her good friends have read bits, but no one has read it all. Hmmmm…. I hadn’t heard of Wattpad, but I am definitely going to check it out and pass it on to her. Thanks ever so much for the tip. Do you ever do school presentations by chance? Interested in talking to a charter school full of geek kids? We don’t have a football team, but we have a nationally placing ocean science bowl team. 😉 Lots of Doctor Who, Steampunk and Comic Con kids.
        Julia recently posted…Your Priorities Are Killing YouMy Profile

        • November 12, 2014 at 11:27 am
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          i wish I could do school presentations, but I can’t afford to travel that much. If I wrote YA, I might try to pursue it more. I did a few school things early in my writing, but got looks like, why are you here? (grin) I have a friend who started writing some YA for her kids and posted it on Wattpad. Now she has huge following and is very published in YA and adult fiction. Dale Mayer. It’s really hard to let go of early writings, particularly in teens. That’s just a hard age! So I totally understand. But it sounds SO fun! You’d want to monitor her time there, of course, but you can set up there, too. Wish we could run into each other! 😀

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