There are no topics I’m afraid of, no themes I won’t touch.
But I do get nervous writing about certain details…
I don’t want to put ideas in any
imbecile’s impressionable reader’s head.
F’r instance, thought most of my writing is aimed at the Young Adult audience, I am extremely reluctant to discuss the issue of cutting.
I know most kids have heard about it.
I know they can find out about it in less than .54 seconds via Google.
I know many have discovered it for themselves, with no outside help.
I still don’t want to put it in a story & have some kid who previously hasn’t heard of it learn about it & mutilate themselves because of it.
Likewise details re extreme sexual practices, occult theology, drug manufacture/usage, & criminal behavior.
I have no problem writing that such things exist, I just feel squeamish about providing a how-to for readers who may be lacking vital impulse control skills.
Which brings us ‘round to The Horse Story and arson.
The Bad Guy commits an act of arson with the intent of forcing Our Gals to respond.
It’s important for The Bad Guy to start this fire without anybody being aware he’s responsible.
Since it’s a contemporary story, there’s a very, very simple incendiary device he can make.
You can find plenty of descriptions online. If you’ve seen the movie Stalag 17 you know exactly what I’m talking about.
The knowledge itself is so common I’m not really worried about that.
No, what worries me are the steps The Bad Guy takes to make sure the device can’t be linked to him even if it fails to ignite.
I even have him turn off his cell phone and his truck GPS so his movements can’t be tracked during the time he’s planting the device.
See why I’m nervous? I don’t want some pinhead to read this & take it as a check list of precautions to take before committing a major felony.
Oh, the info is out there, I’ll grant you that…
I just don’t wanna be the one who passes it along.
Now, here’s where I find myself writing things without really understanding why I’m writing them. Even though I thought it was a Bad Idea to include those details when I wrote the scene, I did so, thinking I could edit them out later if I still felt squeamish about ‘em.
But then an idea hit me, a wholly unexpected idea, where the biter gets bit, and The Bad Guy, thinking his has covered all his bases, doesn’t realize he has left one major big honking clue pointing straight at him.
And it will eventually trip him up.
And previously where the book was going to end with The Bad Guy merely getting thwarted, now I’ve got the chance to throw his ample behind in jail.
Ohhhhh, sooooo delicious…
But it still keeps the original writing dilemma in place: Have I offset any potential harm by pointing out nobody is smart enough to cover all their tracks?
Charles Napier (1936-2011) One of my all time favorite character actors & the guy I kept in mind when writing about The Bad Guy for The Horse Story project.
Update: Since making this post, I’ve enjoyed another flash of insight, a potential way to get The Leader back in the story. It involves a logical twist by the law involving her after she’s arrested, another logical twist by herownsef to get away from them, and because of that, it sparks a thought in the law’s head that leads them to the clue that will bust The bad Guy.
Will I actually write it out that way?
But it sure gives me a new option to work with…
 Oh, yeah, you wish there were links...
 Otherwise they’ll throw him in jail.