Sunday, August 8, 2010

FID: Story Boards: Book #2 - Flight into Darkness

Four years ago, I began the process of developing the story for FID (first titled "The Golden Gate", for obvious reasons--once you read the story). At the time, it was to be a stand-alone aviation suspense novel. Since FTP was a love story, I wanted to experiment with different genres. The inspiration to write a suspense/thriller hit me after reading "Intensity" by Dean Koontz. I wanted to write a story that took place in less than a 24 hour period and was packed with suspense--an "edge of your seat" type of story.

The rough draft for the story has been complete for over 2 years, but I never finished the rewrites due to the continued work on FTP. Everytime I thought FTP was complete, I found a reason to do another rewrite--more story enhancements and fine tuning. I yo-yo'd from FTP back to my suspense story for years. I should note that there was more than one time that I considered scrapping FTP.

Much of the back-and-forth was due to my working with a New York agent who liked the story but asked me to "punch it up", especially in the scenes where there were female emotions envolved. So, I hired a female reader and we spent 7 months, meeting at least 3 times per week. She read the manuscript, stopping when necessary to give me a female perspective on the emotional reactions of the female characters. I must say: I would have never understood without her help. I took notes as I read along with another copy of the manuscript. Every line, every scene, every chapter was "punched up", with special emphasis on the female characters.

I then spent a month rewriting the story and presented it to my agent. The agent told me that the story still needed to be "punched up" more. I was willing, but the agent decided to bail on me (later I learned that this agent was ready to hang it up). The entire process took almost a year. However, I will have to say, without that last rewrite, the story would not have turned out as it did. I chalked it up as a year well spent.

I returned to my suspense story--now titled "Flight into Darkness": the second book of the newly created Flight Trilogy.

In this post I wanted to share a part of the process for developing story #2. Two key locations that have consumed my research efforts are the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, and Istanbul, Turkey. I won't go into detail about these locations as I don't want to give any spoilers for the novel.

A large picture of the Golden Gate Bridge hangs in my office as a type of motivation for the story. One glance at the picture has a way of helping me focus.

The reason for Istanbul is due to the villain: Samael Janus. Istanbul is where he lives. When the villain is introduced in Chapter 5, he is in Istanbul.

From the story board (above), you can see some of the research for this novel--physical locations in the story. One of those locations is the Pierre Loti Cafe (below) overlooking the Golden Horn River. In chapter 6, Samael meets someone there.

The Pierre Loti Cafe overlooking the Golden Horn River where Samael has a meeting.

On the map below, the cafe location is at the top left corner of the map.

Other boards are used for different settings and for different purposes. I also use flow charts and diagrams to keep me on track and focused as I write each scene, chapter, and section. I will hopefully share these at a later date.

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