The Book Catapult

117 Days of James Patterson – Day Nine

Day Nine, Chapter Nine
(One minute, 31 seconds)  According to the NYT Magazine article on James (see Day Eight for more), the process of crafting a Patterson novel (with a co-author) goes something like this: J.P. writes up a 50-something page outline (triple-spaced, of course – so is that really like a ten-page outline?), the co-author drafts out the chapters individually, sends them back to Patterson for reading, revision, & rewriting if necessary. The end. He’s pretty much a glorified editor, I guess.

“If you want to write for yourself, get a diary. If you want to write for a few friends, get a blog. But if you want to write for a lot of people, think about them a little bit. What do they like? What are their needs? A lot of people in this country go through their days numb. They need to be entertained. They need to feel something.”

Alright, blogger-related insults aside, this is a pretty noble approach. However I must reject it for comedic purposes. Besides, in 2008 he purchased a 20,000-square-foot home in Palm Beach, FL for $17.4 million – he’s in this thing for the benjamins, my friends.

Okay, back to work – Chapter Nine: Lindsay sees the “WCF” written in lipstick on the windshield of the victim’s car and ponders the significance. She gets a little freaked out thinking about “the bad old days” of San Francisco of the ’90’s when the “Backstreet Killer” terrorized the city, murdering & leaving notes, but never getting caught.

“The letters ‘WCF’ meant nothing to me, except the fact that only wacko killers deliberately leave a signature.”

Ah ha! I’ve solved it! I know what WCF means! Did you watch the James Patterson video that I told you about yesterday, faithful readers? (If this thing’s going to work, you have to play along, people.)  I won’t spill the beans – it’ll be fun to see how long the suspense gets dragged out.

Lindsay & her partner, Conklin, decide that there was no robbery, just a double execution. While “questions were flooding (Lindsay’s) mind”, her BFF, Medical Examiner Dr. Claire Washburn comes roaring onto the scene in her coroner’s van, “tires screeching.” Awww yeah, the Women’s Murder Club is now in session y’all! (Uh, Yuki Castellano is also in the club. Sorry, this is my first time.)

“(She) got out of the van wearing blue scrubs and a Windbreaker – black with white letters spelling out MEDICAL EXAMINER front and back. Despite the odds of a black woman succeeding in her profession when she first got started, Claire had done it. In my opinion, she’s the finest forensic pathologist west of the Rockies. She’s also the friend of my heart…”

Claire begins to take photos, crying silently. Lindsay can’t remember the last time she saw Claire cry – that’s how you know this shit is bad. Claire notices a strange stippling pattern of gunshot residue on the mother’s neck – what does this mean?

“Means WCF has some rare kind of gun.”

And…scene.


Go to Day Ten.

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2 comments on “117 Days of James Patterson – Day Nine

  1. aaryn b.
    May 7, 2010

    “If you don't want to read the story, it is not worth writing. If you think it might be good enough for other people, that people might like it, it is not worth writing. If you consider the audience of your story to be anyone other than yourself, you are inviting compromise.” -Ron Carlson, “Ron Carlson Writes A Story”

    Something tells me Patterson hasn't read Carlson's book.

    This project is as good as my morning coffee.

  2. Seth Marko
    May 7, 2010

    Be still my heart! A Ron Carlson quote on the Catapult from somewhere other than my own keyboard! You've made my Friday.

    How were you studying with RC in Italy, I forgot to ask? He's still running the UC-Irvine program, isn't he?

    I had the supreme honor of rapping with him when he came to W for a signing last June (for “The Signal”) His talk ended up as a great lecture on writing craft, pretty much right out of “Ron Carlson Writes a Story.” It was totally awesome.

    Watch it here! (with the other 6 people who were in attendance) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NSOzX63_xzE

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This entry was posted on May 7, 2010 by in 117 Days of James Patterson.
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