you’ll catch a sharp sword to the midsection

I got a haircut on Saturday at Franco’s, on the corner of Hampshire and Prospect in Cambridge. Franco’s remains the only place I go for haircuts, because I can walk out of there with a haircut that I like that day. Not two days later once it’s grown in. Plus, they only charge about $5 more than SuperCuts.

I compromised between short hair (which Melissa and John, whom I’m marrying in two weeks, like) and long hair (which I like). It’s short on the sides and back but still has room on the top to play with.

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As mediocre as James Patterson is, Tess Gerritsen is exceptional. I mean that literally: she excels at the qualities Patterson lacks – believable dialogue, interesting characters, accelerated pacing. Where Patterson will take forty pages to make two things happen, Gerritsen unfolds a dozen fascinating plot points in sixty pages.

After hearing her deliver a talk on turning plots into premises at Muse and the Marketplace, and being told that I ought to read more thrillers, I Kindled The Surgeon and tore through it. It’s a genuinely gruesome serial killer mystery and a medical thriller sewn up into one. Excellent beach reading.

From these novels I’ve read so far, I’ve learned the following (for the thriller I’ve been editing): every chapter must advance the action in some way. It should either end in a cliffhanger, or a momentous revelation, or a plot twist, or the plot being forwarded. In the initial draft, I devoted entire chapters to characterization. I can’t do that and keep the reader engaged, though. Characterization needs to come along with the plot. I can’t ask the plot to take a time out while I get inside someone’s head.


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