I thought I’d post a little excerpt of Out of the Shadows as an example of what I was talking about yesterday. This snippet of introspection is the result of a scene taking not one but two turns I hadn’t anticipated when I began writing it.
I like simple crimes: someone getting mugged in the park, a hold-up at a convenience store, a drug deal; stuff like that. Stopping these types of crime is usually just a matter of figuring out who the bad guys are and hitting them until they fall down. That’s typically followed by an anonymous phone call to the police and then I’m on my merry way. I don’t stick around to talk to the cops or the victims; I don’t like a lot of attention.
Crimes that are “stopped” generally qualify as simple; crimes that must be “solved” do not. I tend to stay away from crimes that must be solved because I’m not much of an investigator. I don’t have a crime lab back in my secret lair – hell, I don’t even have a secret lair – nor do I carry a forensics kit with me in my duffel bag. Leads and clues simply aren’t my forte. If you want someone punched in the face, I’m your guy; if you want something investigated, you’ll have better luck calling the Hardy boys.
Sometimes, what looks for all the world to be a simple crime turns into something complicated; an excellent example would be assault and battery on a prostitute turning into kidnapping and extortion. The problem is, once I get involved I can’t just turn away after I’m done hitting people, no matter how much I’d like to. Sure, it would simplify my life, but I wouldn’t feel like one of the good guys anymore.
I just realized that I could have gotten two more words if I’d used “Scooby Doo and the gang” in place of “the Hardy boys”. We’ll see whether that would have made the difference between glorious triumph and crushing failure come the end of the month.