I am still working on my map and will show the progress so far at the end of this post. But I also continue to write the novel and research ideas relating to it. Indeed, in respect to Tempting in Shade I have reached 411 pages and can perceive that it is likely to end up almost double that. Will my mid-2015 deadline fall? I would not be surprised if it did. Having said that I want my first novel to be the best it possibly can be so that readers will come back for any future novels. So if it takes longer then it takes longer.
Kerphulu – my villain
In a previous post I discussed constructing my principal villain. I spoke about actors and the roles etc. they played and their influences upon my character development for the villain. Well currently I am rereading for the third time an old favourite of mine called Mind Hunter by John Douglas, It is the autobiography of one of the key players in the FBIâ€™s behavioural sciences unit. This is the man who started profiling criminals â€“ particularly serial killers. What I am hoping to get from this book is a profile of my villain.
Currently Kerphulu is a single middle-aged man, son of a now-deceased single domineering mother. He lives with his kooky aunt who helps him with his schemes and crimes. The aunt has two â€œsimpleâ€ children and Kerphulu loves them but resents them. There was a third child, a blind girl, whom Kerphulu â€œmodifiedâ€ when he was a young man. You see, he is also a medical genius. In a universe where magic exists, he is striving to rip magic out of those that have it and make it available to whoever can afford it.
He is aware of his own taste for sadistic nature and enjoys it for what it is. This ties in with a lot of serial killers. The domineering mother and then living with an older female relative also fit in with some serial killer profiles. He will have some sense of anger against women, I might tie this in to the cousin who fled from him when he modified her. He was probably in love with her and her rejection was beyond his ego to handle. In a world full of big violent men he feels little and ignored – though he is a fast and skilled fighter and can easily kill much bigger men.
Now the problems. His helper is a massive golem and he lives in the poor slums of Shade where he can select and experiment upon teen-age girls. Where this is a problem is that I now think that the locals would pick up fairly quickly that he is the monster among them and find a way of dealing with him. This will not do.
Perhaps I can have him living on a ship at a private dock in one of the nearby suburbs. And few people must know of the golem or connect it with him. Or else they are so terrified of it and him and his connections that he can do as he will. I will have him as an outsider and then team him up with a local villain whom I have already built into the story as someone he uses.
From Douglas’ book there seem to be some quite charismatic killers and then the opposite – mean antisocial ones. I want Kerphulu to be charismatic. I want readers to like and enjoy this appalling, horrid little man. If I can evoke such a dichotomy then I think that it will drag the readers along, much like they are with some Game of Throne’s characters. To do this I need to give him a motive to behave this way that readers can sympathise with, even if they reject its morality. I want them to feel sorry for him even as he repels them. I need to think on this more.
This is taking me more effort than I imagined. I have started colouring in the grey tones using different layers and opacities in Photoshop. I have also cut of the western side of the map as it did not feel real. For my urban areas I studied aerial photographs of Italian cities and tried to emulate. I have a Wacom bamboo tablet and stylus for my drawing in Photoshop. Anyway, this is my progress so far and I feel that I have a long way to go.