I’m doing Nanowrimo this month, basically I have decided to write 50k words over the next month – November. I have an idea, in fact it was my first dissertation idea – A Terrible Beauty.
On a night train from Paris to Munich two sisters are arguing, one is dying of kidney disease and the other is carrying the kidney she needs. This sister is also a serial killer on the run. Ash is a woman of 38 in a long-term relationship with a homicide DI and has been killing since the age of sixteen. A tall woman with a mass of curly brown hair, she ought to be easy to spot and remember, yet up to the point her boyfriend accidentally left her DNA at a drug bust after leaving her bed whilst on call-out, Ash had not been known as a ‘person of interest’.
Ash uses her sister, Jennifer, to get two tickets to leave London. They reach Paris and get on the train, but no no-one appears to be following, yet close behind, her lover is on her trail. She had left him a love-note, a killing, and he had got the message. He is now speeding toward her. As Ash boards the train she begins the transformation that will allow her to escape the police. She drugs Jennifer, and begins to make her masterpiece. Ash’s killings are always posed in re-enactments of Impressionist paintings; not the well-known ones, but the more obscure. She dresses and poses her sister, all the time keeping her alive. As she does this she remembers where she started and how she has become what she is.
Joseph, the homicide DI, is working at finding the serial killer, but once he discovers it is Ash he begins to drag his feet. Soon it is known that he has been sleeping with their suspect and he is treated as an outsider. He sees his career crumble around him.
Ash considers herself a monster, but her lover sees her as beautiful. Her sister has always seen her as ugly. But as Ash remembers her past, she begins to see that she is what she is because of her family’s moulding and that it is not she who is the monster, but the girl lying limply in front of her. Using her dog and her sister Ash creates a painting as a flesh sculpture and then changes her own appearance.
Joseph, her lover, reaches Munich as Ash disembarks as a man. As she passes him he catches her hand and squeezes it briefly before letting her go. She walks into the distance.
So the story is done and I have the chronological order of the deaths but I don’t know where to start. I don’t want to start at the beginning, and I have tried to begin at the end but it was uneventful and I don;t think does the story justice. In fact, I would even go so far as to say it is boring.
Instead I want to start with a murder – but which?
Not the last one because I want the final chapters to run chronologically. I want to start with the second to last. This is the only male killing in the book and it holds clues to the end and why Ash is killing, and on the run.
I am also worried about the amount in the book. There are at least 7 murders and a load of childhood issues to look at. The only way I can do that is by using flashbacks and allowing the reader to watch the police figure things out.. I want the book to be 70k to 100k words long and it is going to be packed in order to get all the info on Ash, her boyfriend, the police and the killings…
As I progress throughout November I’ll keep the blog updated as to word count and progress. Until then I am going to try to plan down to the last detail… Wish me luck – I may need it.