The Bad Guy in Tenderfoot: Who is it?

When I began writing Tenderfoot, I had three characters. Jules – the narrator, Andrew – the love interest, and Nick – the man of mystery. They established their personality traits fairly quickly. Nick’s voice was the most challenging to pin down, in keeping with his ‘difficult’ nature, but with a little work, they had voices. Then I diagrammed the possible relationships between the characters until I settled on the ones Tenderfoot was written around. But that left one question: who was the bad guy?

Since the basis of the story is Jules’ discovery of her paranormal abilities, she couldn’t be the bad guy. Andrew, the athlete who dreams of earning a spot on the Olympic fencing team? Nope, that would be unfair to the readers. What about Nick, the campus rock star who annoys the living daylights out of Jules, a freshman on campus trying to find her bearings? That sounded great! Except for one thing. I, the author, developed a soft spot for Nick and couldn’t pull the trigger. (Whoops! That’s okay, I don’t feel bad about it. Nick has that affect on people.) The position Nick’s character occupied was the natural choice for a villain. With it filled, I was left where I started. Who was the bad guy?

I kept stumbling over this assumption about Nick until I found a way to use it to my advantage in Tenderfoot. Why not Nick? He’s pushy, he crosses lines, and he doesn’t apologize for doing so. But what if he had a reason for his behavior? What if all his actions were tied to one goal? What if that goal had something to do with a… bad guy?

In writing Jules’ story, the bad guy makes a single appearance. Like any good villain, this one, a Backahasten, serves his purpose. He’s menacing, he presents an obstacle to the main characters, and you never know if he’s right around the corner.

The best part about the bad guy? He’s back for Blinded, the sequel to Tenderfoot! I can’t promise the readers will meet him more than once, (although it’s possible since the book is in progress) but I will leave you with this: the bad guy’s story will finally be told.

Blinded Update

Update – working hard on BLINDED. Okay, maybe just working on it.

And when the brain (or hands) cramp, there are always other things to do.

Like take typing tests. I average 72 wpm with bursts over 80 wpm when I know what the heck I’m typing. Take that multitasking – I can type some unknown passage from Aesop’s Fables and hit the commas and caps and blasted hyphens all while glancing at the type-o-meter to watch it jump. One of my coworkers commented on my typing speed, so of course, I had to go find out. I type at twice the “average” speed, whatever that means.

Back to BLINDED.

Word count until Andrew thinks “Son of a bitch!” = 1,198 words.* I’ll let you guess who he’s referring to!

Typing Tutor III. I think that was the program my parents bought for me in the 5th or 6th grade. That was on the Apple IIc. Or the Commodore 64. See? I’ve been typing for so long the computer I “learned” to type on is forgotten. Actually, I didn’t learn to type with it. I concentrated on playing Bananarama ad nauseum while I designed game levels on Lode Runner.

Word count until the mythical War Horse makes an appearance = 757 words.* Elof got tired of waiting. That horse, he’s miffed he got sidelined in TENDERFOOT. He doesn’t respond well to slights.

When did I really learn to type? I’d like to pretend it was when I typed up my (bad) high school novel written during a year long creative writing class where most of the kids passed notes or did homework. But no, I don’t think it was there.

I believe I learned to type when I signed up for service with GEnie, an AOL competitor for about 20 seconds, in 1993. My handle was “Bearcub.” I made a general nuisance of myself, at $3 an hour. Yes, it was the internet Dark Ages. However, it was also a great test of imagination, wit, and typing skills to keep up with the authors and fans hanging around. No point frolicking in ascii if you are 4 or 5 lines behind everyone else. Note: They call them “msgs” now.

Word count until Jules screams, “Don’t fight!” = 4,286 words.*

*Word count subject to change once it has been revised nine times.

Blinded – May 1st!

As promised, I began page 1, chapter 1 of BLINDED last night!

The outlines are complete. Outlines, you ask? Why yes, this book has two outlines. TENDERFOOT was told in chronological order with some flashbacks and summaries thrown in. I wanted to challenge myself and try something new for Book 2. And my little idea requires two outlines!

With the opening paragraphs written, I’m off to throw a little action into page 2!

Good News!

First page, first chapter, Tenderfoot. This is why all writers must learn to edit!


The writing for BLINDED, the second of four books in the TENDERFOOT series will begin by May 1st.

Based on how long it took to write and edit TENDERFOOT, I anticipate the release of Book 2 by November 1st, 2011.