A Method to My Writing Madness and a Little Taste of Something…
Today, I will take you on another journey through the depths of my sometimes devious mind, as we discuss one of my favorite parts in assembling a finished work. Drumroll…please! Chapter titles and the abbreviated version on two reasons why they are important to me…and hopefully the fans as well. 🙂
The creation of chapter titles is important for me because of two main reasons. After I have created my outline and all the names of my victims are chosen…err…I meant main characters, of course, I visually play out the interaction of each person, bouncing it off my outline. Now, remember I haven’t written down one word of the story, so my memory is pretty much what I utilize. This can sometimes be problematic, especially if you have three girls at home fighting about which Disney Channel show to watch, and the youngest is screaming at a decibel level somewhere along the lines of an opera singer reaching her crescendo. Needless to say, sometimes I have to remove the words Spongebob or Finneas and Ferb, that somehow found its way into the rough draft. After I’m satisfied with how the chapter flows, I usually pick three possible chapter titles, then systematically eliminate them until the one I should have picked first is the one that’s left. (I did entitle this “Writing Madness.”)
Okay, the other reason the titles are important is this. I simply love to have some foreshadowing for the readers. In my latest re-released work, Death Prescription, the first chapter is named “Anatomy of a Killer.” Well, the readers have hopefully reviewed the back cover blurb and know the story is about a serial killer, so when they see the chapter title, they automatically know this chapter is designed to talk about the killer’s thirst for blood. It gives new readers some insight without divulging all the deets!
For my next book, I’m trying something a little different by not using individual chapter titles. I don’t know how that’s going to work out, but only time will tell…
Btw, I promised you a taste of something, didn’t I? Well, here is the first chapter of Death Prescription…enjoy, as you are well aware…death is only a click away!
Anatomy of a Killer
Darkness and death were comfortable roommates for the stranger hidden in the dense foliage. The downpour that spewed from the heavens scattered the masses in various directions, as they sought refuge from the Almighty’s wrath. Outstanding! The art show was the perfect venue for him to collect his next victim. Rubbing the coin between his fingers, the man cherished the preciousness of the moment. He valued life less than the worn fifty-cent piece, which he had taken from his first conquest. The death of the young woman made him powerful, almost like he was deemed to be untouchable by mere mortals. Murder was how he chose to define the nickname his mother had labeled him with when disciplining him so many years earlier. Lucifer. She taunted him with the condescending name for so long.
He recalled his first “masterpiece” as he prepared to kill again. That night had been similar to this, with one exception; the rain had been gently bouncing off the streets in a way that had almost seemed acrobatic. A tall, young woman named Angela Deeds was carrying a dark umbrella in one hand and a set of keys in the other. Her light blue pantsuit hugged her figure like a second skin, leaving almost nothing to the imagination. She ran toward her yellow sports car, trying to avoid the falling raindrops. Not getting wet would be the least of your worries in a few short moments. The destiny of this female was to be his first masterpiece in a line of many that would follow. There had been a previous death, but it was not worthy of the effort. He watched her approach the vehicle, coming even closer to where he was hidden. All the muscles in his body tensed. The two instruments he had chosen to start his new craft with seemed to weigh down his hands. Get a hold of yourself.
He peeked through the bushes and remembered how exquisite she looked. Angela’s hair was the silkiest and shiniest he’d ever seen, like those unattainable women advertising shampoo in a television commercial. Lucifer was excited as he tightened his hands around that night’s weapons of choice, a small syringe full of his paralytic concoction and the silver nickel-plated 9mm semi-automatic handgun. He hadn’t held a firearm for many years and only wanted to use it in case something went wrong.
He had planned the assault in his mind for many days, watching her walk from her vehicle in the morning, knowing she left at the same time every evening. Lucifer walked past Angela’s place of business and purchased some items from a lingerie store adjacent to her office. He even made eye contact with this striking beauty at the coffee shop just a half block away from her designated parking area. His future victim was only a few short feet away, as Angela tried to hold the umbrella and open her car door at the same time. She fumbled with the keys, as they slipped out of her hand, clattering to the ground.
Lucifer slipped out from his hiding spot and approached her undetected. A sudden movement later; it was too late. The young woman tumbled to the cold wet pavement and landed on her back. She looked up. Lucifer noticed the anguish in her eyes, relishing the fact Angela seemed to recognize him from somewhere, but with the onset of paralysis, time was running out for cognitive thought. Lucifer smiled as he towered over his victim, and decided to use the handgun instead of waiting for the drug to take effect. He pulled the silver slide back, as the clicking sound of the bullet being chambered into position thrilled him. Lucifer watched as Angela Deeds’ breathing became labored, and she clutched desperately at her throat, trying to force out the last bite of air. Almost the end.
Her hands relaxed, and he knew she would never be able to move again. Lowering the firearm, he pointed it between her eyes. Passionately, the man gazed into them and beamed with delight as her pupils dilated. Lucifer eased the trigger back until a deafening explosion erupted, propelling the blunt projectile through the front of her skull. The impact of the small round scattered her brain matter upon the saturated pavement.
Lucifer was pleased with his performance and how his victim had been unable to react. He fingered through all of her belongings, locating several fifty-cent pieces scattered in the bottom of her blood-spattered purse. He placed one in his pocket. “This is how I’ll honor all victims. Taking a piece of each, making his or her death a part of my life forever.” That was the first day of his new life. Lucifer would keep the fifty-cent piece with him always to commemorate that day—until the day he died.
* * *
Lucifer finished his performance for this evening as well. The killer had returned to his apartment and stood at the kitchen sink, meticulously washing the remnants of human carnage from his hands. “Unexpected deaths.” Lucifer hadn’t considered two other people would be in the park, but so be it. He improvised, and now they would also be enshrined in his collection of “masterpieces.” Cleaning off the battle-axe, and drunk with excitement, he stared at the wooden table. “Ah, three new prize possessions,” Lucifer whispered.
He picked up the first item. It was a worn silver Zippo lighter with the initials J.P. etched on the right side of the lid. He held it for a few seconds, careful to return it to the proper place before reaching for the next. The killer inspected the plastic neon band, tapping the bright face of the time-keeping device. Raising it to his ear, he could still hear the repetitive sound of a working battery. This treasure had come from his youngest victim ever. Lucifer set it back on the table and smiled.
The third and final item would, hands down, be the most cherished of all his new tokens. He ran his fingers along the canvas, careful not to damage the small masterpiece. The artist had created a wonderful work, which Lucifer admired. I have the perfect place! He decided to hang it on the wall in the cramped closet that held his “collection.” What a productive night. Lucifer was skilled with many of the tools reserved for creating pain and torture. Tonight’s performance was no exception. This sample of work was but a preview of what was to come. Tomorrow, he would start his hunt for another victim, learning all possible details, becoming one with his prey. But now, even the killer needed to rest.