WIP update: Adam and the old man are fighting, now, although I’m not certain that it’s the best way to go. I might leave it open and rewrite that scene tomorrow. Maybe have Adam imagine a fight taking place and wondering whether he could take the old man, or falling asleep and dreaming it. I had it in mind that they’d have a conversation over roast partridge and there would be some revelations, but maybe the fight has to take place first to relieve some tension and work out nervous energy before communication can happen.
I have two thoughts on what’s going to happen next:
a) The skeleton under the floor is (predictably) Adam’s missing grandfather, who’d disappeared about thirty years earlier. The old man is his murderer. And Adam is able to bring a killer to justice, closure to his mother, and maybe gets back property that had been stolen from his granddad around the time of his death.
b) The crazy old man is Adam’s missing grandfather, and he’s really the killer. Maybe the original murder was caused by jealousy over a woman or rage over a gambling debt, or was committed in self-defence. Would he have gone crazy because he knew going back to civilization would mean going to jail for his crime?
The first option is, as I’ve noted, predictable, but comforting. The second is darker and more conflicted. I may have to write the old man’s back story somewhere and find a way to fit it in. This is where their conversation may come into play.
I don’t feel ready to hit the climax just yet, though. I mean, this fight could work as a turning point, except that the falling action needs to provide some answers and work out problems, and Adam’s not close to having those things. Or maybe he is! (tears at hair) But I want 50,000 words, dammit, and therefore the climax needs to start around 35,000 — I’m at 31,501. Can’t stretch a fight scene out for four thousand words . . .
Or can I?
I mean, what if Adam breaks free and takes off into the woods? If he steals the old man’s flashlight and follows his tracks back to the crazy guy’s shack. Maybe he’d find evidence there that reveals all. Letters, pictures, maps, tools . . . I can visualize something important happening there.
But the problem is that Adam is still injured, and he’s been hurt a little worse in his wrestling match with the old man.
Going to sleep on it. Hopefully after all of this percolates, I can focus on a plan of attack. I like the idea of the kid getting to a new location and making some discoveries. Hmm . . .
Also, still no title.
If anyone out there is a fan of Crabbe, Hatchet, or other outdoor-adventure themed books, and you’d like to beta-read for me, let me know in the comments. Maybe I’ll post another excerpt tomorrow.