‘Shall we begin?’
He isn’t speaking to me.
He is addressing Detective Constable Elizabeth Hunter who has so far stood quietly in the corner of the room, scrutinising my every move. With a clip of her heel, she steps out, gives a grateful nod to Drake and, after she has left, takes her seat next Benson. With professional distance, she stares coldly at me across the table.
I feel uncomfortable and force myself to look away.
I stare at anything. At the indistinct, wooden-panelled walls. At the mottled green carpet. At the prepared tape recorder sat on the table in front of me. At the light above us…
No. I don’t look at the light. That will only make things worse.
Benson clears his throat again.
‘I’ve read the reports,’ he says slowly, gesturing to his notes. ‘They tell quite a story.’ He forces a smile across the table. ‘I’m sorry for your loss.’
I nod my understanding.
He isn’t sincere.
We both know it.
‘Thank you,’ I whisper.
Hunter winces. The skin in her neck flickers as she tenses her muscles and she slowly exhales as she tries to control her feelings.
She can’t have been doing this for long to be so affected by it. She can’t have seen a dead body before, particularly not one left in that state. She is angry – she can’t understand how someone can be so cruel as to do that to another human being. Her anger is clouding her judgement; but her judgement is the best weapon she has…
I can understand it. I spend my life with people without morals and I understand that no guilt tripping or pleading to their better judgement will ever change the way they are.
People without feeling can’t be corrupted. That’s what Brosco says.
Benson drops his smile.
‘So, why don’t you tell me what happened?’
I shrug. ‘I already told the other officer.’
‘You need to tell me…’
‘For the record.’
I laugh. ‘So you can hang me out to dry, you mean?’
Benson’s eyes narrow on me. ‘Have you done something that warrants me doing that?’
In my last post, I announced the latest project that I have been working on, a serialised novel called Murder Under My Nose. Since then, I have had a fair amount of interest from some of my regular readers who want to know what kind of story is it, what they can expect from reading it etc.
So, to start with, I thought I would talk a little bit about my writing style for this project.
Every so often, you get given a project (or maybe you create one for yourself) where you find yourself in the great situation of being able to test out a few things, try some new techniques or generally explore your abilities as a writer.
Now, by and large, these opportunities normally present themselves in short fiction stories or in works that you start writing but never really finish or never get published but, for me, I decided to adopt a new technique for a full length novel and have a play around with how I do things.
I should mention quite early on that this was not entirely a decision that came about out of the blue – I would never naturally be so courageous with a project that I have been hired to write – but the nature of the project itself did lend itself to a little bit of experimentation.
The aim is, and always has been, to publish this story on a new publishing website called Senserial. Now, unlike many of the publishing sites out there, Senserial harks back to good old, traditional days when stories were published in serialised form in newspapers and magazines. As such, the rules that I had to write this novel with were already slightly different to those that I would normally use.
In the first instance, the novel was to be divided into twelve parts – each part representing an episode of the novel. One by one, these episodes will be uploaded on the Sensorial site until finally the complete story is available to read.
It’s a great idea and one that got me very excited when I was offered the job of writing Murder Under My Nose. But it did mean I had to adapt a little bit. I wasn’t now writing novels of thirty odd chapters that were between two and three thousand words in length, I was writing twelve chapters of between five and six thousand words in length.
What’s more, in order to keep people wanting to wait for the next episode, I was given the instructions to end each of those chapters with some sort of cliff hanger or unanswered question.
Needless to say, I relished the challenge this presented but it also gave me a little more licence to do things that I would normally do.
If you’ve read the passage above, you will already have noticed that I decided to dispense with my usual go-to style of writing in the third person past and, instead, opted to write in the first person present. Whilst this might seem a little bizarre to some readers (and writers in fact) the result is actually very pleasing for the story I want to tell.
Better yet, the moment I started writing in this way, I suddenly had a clear idea of precisely what story I wanted to tell. The decision to write in the first person present actually allowed me to develop my main character, MJ – or Mary Jane, in ways that I would never have dreamed to had I written it in third person. In fact, without giving too much away, the fact the story is written in first person is, in many ways, instrumental to the plot.
But what is the plot Nick?
What is it all about?
Well, I’m afraid you’ll have to wait for next the post for that one. In the mean time, check out the Senserial website. You never know, you might something that interests you somewhere in there.