For the past week I debated writing this post because I was in a panic mode about shaking things up in Julius. The issue at hand is that my bad guys are not all that bad. They are your garden variety SOBs, and they share too many similarities with Jake, Corinne’s companion.

The problem I had was that both Jake and Doug Barron (the Op-Ed columnist for Julius) were interchangeable—same career ambitions, same political perspectives, same age, same metrosexual lifestyle. Something had to be done to change Fric and Frac so readers wouldn’t be confused or bored.

On the other hand, Craig, the obsessive conservative blogger, has been fleshed out. He’s showing signs that something is not right in his head, but that still wasn’t enough. To up the ante, I decided he should be a tad scary so I wrote a scene where he stalks Corinne.

That’s when the panic set in. The dynamics of the story where changing. I had to rein and steer it back to this whole red scare era isn’t really dead  theme, and not turn it into a psychological thriller of a crazy conservative stalking a comely communist.

The alarm bells  of an aha moment went off in my head when I read a short Wikipedia biography on Samuel Dickstein. This was a palm to forehead moment, and given  the title of the book, I knew I needed a stool pigeon. Now it all seemed so clear: the backstory I created for Doug Barron showed me that he was the perfect candidate for the job.

Now my bad boys are bad  in varying degrees: I have a vindictive and a delusional bad guy; I have an opportunist who is getting paid by the Feds to be a stool pigeon bad guy; and I have the garden variety selfish boyfriend, who isn’t bad, but merely self-centered.

My panic attack is gone for the time being (until I fall into another hole in the story) so let the badness begin …. And if you need some inspiration, here’s a little George Thorogood:


  • I love watching the dynamics of this story change and shift and come to clearer focus. When it gets published I’ll feel as though I were a Lamaze coach for the gestational period. I suppose I could post similar pieces about my sip memoir and what it’s really about. I just think, in my case, it’s better to do it internally.

    • @scmorgan Thank you! I struggled with this post, but then I thought to write it because someone might actually learn something from what I’ve experienced and not make the same mistakes as I did (and maybe finish sooner than me).

  • Yay! So happy you have sorted things out and found your stride.  The stalker element ups the stakes and I like how you’ve given the characters some extra quirks to contend with. As a reader, I enjoy the variety. 😀