Debut Novel Syndrome

Debut Novel Syndrome is, of course, well-known. You haven’t heard of it? Shame on you. Alright, I confess. I made it up. As far as I am aware, which is as far as the first page of the search I just completed, Debut Novel Syndrome is not a thing. It should be though.

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Inspiration

Inspiration. Where does it come from?

They say that everybody has a book inside them. I say, “Of course everybody has a book inside them, many, in fact. The trick is getting the bloody things out.”

 

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Characters – The Protagonist

Notebook II is filling up fast.

Several times, I have resisted diving into the manuscript and re-drafting. That’s what happened last time, and see where that got me.

I’m determined to put more effort into the outline, so that the characters don’t end up wandering off on tangents.

More importantly, I need to get to know my characters. They’re already much changed over the last couple of years. Their time in the cardboard folders has had radical effects.

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O is for Organised Crime

organised-crime

I know that this is obvious, but Organised Crime is not a good thing.

It is worth writing down, because Organised Crime has had, and still has, some fantastic PR. All sorts of romantic associations of Organised Crime as a brotherhood, as a family, as a coping strategy. Lovely ideas, but all nonsense.

Organised Crime is made up of nasty, grubby, greedy criminals.

Researching into Organised Crime for my novel, I was struck by how err…, organised these groups are. Long before management consultants were extolling ‘flat, responsive, management structures’ and ‘smart creatives’, Organised Crime was growing, spreading and diversifying. I can admire the ambition, scope and efficiency of these groups, but I am under no illusions as to the true nature of them.

The Godfather, The Sopranos and the like were great entertainment but they downplayed the true nature of Organised Crime. It trades in human misery. It enslaves, tortures, rapes and brutalises without compunction.

Increasingly, criminal activities are one aspect of wide-ranging organisations that contain many legal enterprises, giving the whole an appearance of legitimacy that obscures the true nature.

In my novel, set in the 1990s, Sean meets one of these organisations in Central Europe. What begins as exciting and fun becomes something else entirely.

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M is for Money Laundering

money-laundering

Organised Crime is about profit.

Status and power have a role, but ultimately Organised Crime Groups exist to get rich.

Ever since the FBI used tax evasion laws to nab and imprison Al Capone, criminals have strived to make their money appear legitimate. It must be quite galling to make millions from one’s nefarious activities but be unable to spend any of it.

Money Laundering is making the proceeds of crime appear legitimate.

In the best ever debut novel written by me, the hero, Sean has an opportunity to partner some unsavoury people as their laundry man. He is faced with a decision.

Straightforward you would think. Sean can do the right thing or the wrong thing.

I’m not sure that things are quite as black and white as that. Motive is a very difficult thing to pin down. Often different people have different definitions of what they see as right or wrong.

Let me leave you with a few questions to think on.

  1. Have you ever paid a tradesman in cash for a lower price? “Let’s call it a hundred for cash?”
  2. Bought cheap duty free cigarettes or booze from a friend?
  3. Picked up designer label jeans from a street market?
  4. Watched a pirated movie?

Quite probably all crimes.

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