Hang about. Didn’t I read somewhere you need to plan your novel, create an outline setting the plot points, and flesh out the characters?
I’m sure it didn’t say, sit down and start writing!
Time to find a writing pad, and put my thinking cap on.
I make a list, what’s the story going to be about? Who’s going to be in it, at least at the start?
Like a newspaper story, I need a who, what, when, where, and how.
I pick up the pen.
Character number one:
Computer nerd, ok, that’s a little close to the bone, a computer manager who is trying to be everything at once, and failing. Still me, but with a twist. Now, add a little mystery to him, and give him a secret, one that will only be revealed after a specific set of circumstance. Yes, I like that.
We’ll call him Bill, ex-regular army, a badly injured and repatriated soldier who was sent to fight a war in Vietnam, the result of which had made him, at times, unfit to live with.
He had a wife, which brings us to,
Character number two:
Ellen, Bill’s ex-wife, an army brat and a General’s daughter, and the result of one of those romances that met disapproval for so many reasons. It worked until Bill came back from the war, and from there it slowly disintegrated. There are two daughters, both by the time the novel begins, old enough to understand the ramifications of a divorce.
Character number three:
The man who is Bill’s immediate superior, the Services Department manager, a rather officious man who blindly follows orders, a man who takes pleasure in making others feel small and insignificant, and worst of all, takes the credit where none is due.
Oops, too much, that is my old boss. He’ll know immediately I’m parodying him. Tone it down, just a little, but more or less that’s him. Last name Benton. He will play a small role in the story.
Character number four:
Jennifer, the IT Department’s assistant manager, a woman who arrives in a shroud of mystery, and then, in time, to provide Bill with a shoulder to cry on when he and Ellen finally split, and perhaps something else later on.
More on her later as the story unfolds.
So far so good.
What’s the plot?
Huge corporation plotting to take over the world using computers? No, that’s been done to death.
Huge corporation, OK, let’s stop blaming the corporate world for everything wrong in the world. Corporations are not bad people, people are the bad people. That’s a rip off cliché, from guns don’t kill people, people kill people! There will be guns, and there will be dead people.
There will be people hiding behind a huge corporation, using a part of their computer network to move billions of illegally gained money around. That’s better.
Now, having got that, our ‘hero’ has to ‘discover’ this network, and the people behind it.
All we need now is to set the ball rolling, a single event that ‘throws a cat among the pigeons’.
Yes, Bill is on holidays, a welcome relief from the problems of work. He dreams of what he’s going to do for the next two weeks. The phone rings. Benton calling, the world is coming to an end, the network is down. He’s needed. A few terse words, but he relents.
Pen in hand I begin to write.
© Charles Heath 2016-2019