Guest posts

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Mr. 8 - A Thriller by David Thirteen - Guest Post

Image result for David Thirteen Mr. 8Image result for David Thirteen Mr. 8

Title: Mr. 8
Author: David J. Thirteen
Genre: Psychological Thriller / Horror

Psychology professor Denton Reed has been pulled out of the classroom to find a killer. Bodies are turning up all over the quiet town of Bexhill. They are found dismembered and burned beyond recognition in a snow covered farmer’s field, by the abandoned mill, and under the train bridge. The only clue linking the victims is the bizarre figure eight patterns left behind in their homes.
Denton must use his unique profiling techniques to uncover the murderer, who the police have dubbed Mr. 8. As he begins to unravel the mystery, a strange pattern begins to emerge. Before their deaths, each victim was seized by dark obsessions and inexplicable changes in behavior. Whatever strange forces are affecting the people of Bexhill, they may actually be more dangerous than any killer.
As a wave of insanity sweeps the town, Denton will put his life on the line to get to the source of the madness and risk all to protect the woman he loves.
But is it already too late?

Author Bio
David J. Thirteen has studied English Literature, Film Making, and Media Studies. He has lived and worked in the technology field for twenty years throughout the North East, in both Canada and the U.S. Writing has been a hidden passion for most of his life.

Mr. 8 is his first published novel and will be in stores on February 5th, 2015. It was first written as a serial story on Wattpad, where it became a #1 ranked feature novel. He still writes and posts new stories on Wattpad every week.

David currently lives in Toronto, Canada and lives a bright life, while dreaming dark dreams.

Guest Post: Shifting Genres: Perils and Lessons Learned

When I began planning out my novel, Mr. 8, it became obvious that the story would experience a genre shift about halfway through. I couldn’t remove it or change it, since the plot hinged on this twist. But I knew this would not be easy to pull off and began to worry about dealing with it.

            A genre shift is nothing original. There are many examples in literature although it does tend to be a rarely used device. It occurs when a story starts out fitting neatly into one category and then because of a twist in the plot, it diverts into an entirely different set of tropes. A classic example is Psycho (the novel by Robert Bloch or the film by Alfred Hitchcock, take your pick). It begins with a noir tale of an embezzler on the run but quickly changes to horror, when she is brutally murdered.  And it stays horror for the rest of the story.
            In my own novel, things start off in the vein of a traditional crime mystery. An unlikely but skilled sleuth, Denton, gets mixed up in a series of murders that the police are attributing to a serial killer. But in the process of tracking down the culprit, he uncovers something unexpected and the plot turns toward the supernatural.
            There was a big risk in doing this. A genre shift has the ability to surprise and shock an audience, but it can also frustrate and alienate them. One of the key aspects of genre fiction is that there are certain expectations about what can and can’t happen; by flipping genres those expectations become subverted.
            Knowing the peril of pursuing this story, the fear of a possible negative reaction became as much a part of the writing process as plot, characterization, and scene setting. I knew I had to work out a way that readers would accept the twist and stay with the story. What I started to focus on was making sure the reader was in Denton’s shoes every step he took. Every surprise, discovery, revelation for Denton had to be felt just as intensely by the person reading. It pushed me to look at the narration in a way that I never had before. Getting in the head of my characters was nothing new, but trying to glue the reader into Denton’s head was.
            So what happened when the shift occurred, when the detective story was gone and the inexplicable took over?
            My main concern was that readers would not believe it. The story had been grounded in reality up until that point, so it seemed that introducing a supernatural element would only pull people out of the story and cause them to scoff at the ridiculousness of the situation. I needed to change that. I needed for the reader to accept it and to continue on with the story. They solution ended up being simple: Denton doesn’t believe it either. He is sceptical—despite overwhelming evidence he fights for the rational. He fears that it might be real…but it can’t be…can it?
            By anticipating a readers’ reaction, I was able to get out in front of the problem. The identification with the main character acquired depth from not just telling the audience what they should feel, but by mirroring their own feelings back to them.
            It was a hard fought lesson to learn, but once I got to the end I realized that it is a lesson about good storytelling that goes beyond just dealing with genre shifts.

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