Winks 6 - Changing the view
"Physicists like to think that all you have to do is say, these are the conditions, now what happens next?"
Richard Feynman, Physicist (1918 - 1988)
SPOILERS AHEAD – if you’ve not read Full Disclosure yet, what are you waiting for?
When I write my thrillers, I use several tricks to create my unique style. My short, punchy sentences are one of these. Another is something I call Transposed Imagery. This consists of taking a ‘common’ acceptance of a situation and introducing variations that make it interesting. I also use this technique on story arcs as well.
In Full Disclosure I opted to break with the tradition, found so often in modern thrillers, of the macho Special Ops superman who could, and does, deal with everything with the same efficiency used to brush his teeth every morning.
We are introduced to Anson Moore in a situation that lays down two basic elements regarding this character: he has psychopathic tendencies and he has to kill someone he knows is innocent. The trap would be to let him go into ‘psychopath mode’, to quote his psychiatrists, and bump off the victim with nary a blink. Maybe, later on in the novel, he could reflect on this death and how it affects him. Both are clichés I wanted to avoid.
If you observe him closely, and are aware of common traits of psychopathic personalities, you will see how his reactions to certain events define him more than any internal dialogue.
Take for instance the scene at the end of the novel when he leaves Snow to take on the two soldiers single-handedly, while he goes off to stalk the Colonel. Or the mention of Snow following his lead without question in Afghanistan. His lack of consultation, or interest, in what others may have to suggest, is classic borderline psychopath.
My aim was to make him someone you could root for, but not like. Snow, who tortures and assassinates with a casual coldness (singing ABBA's "Dancing Queen" as she prepares to waterboard her captive!), is a far more sympathetic character. Moore tries (too hard?) to be liked by those around him, especially figures of authority – look closely at his relationship with Chief Walker throughout the novel, and particularly in the final dialogue with General Barret, what name appears on Moore’s uniform?.
Also Moore uses the smallest gun, the Sig Mosquito, whilst Snow’s weapon is huge; even bigger than her when she adds the suppressor. She kills everyone she aims at; he doesn’t shoot anyone after the initial opening scene in the tale.
One of the biggest Transposed Images was the final shootout. The deserted western town; two figures in a dusty street, armed with Peacemakers, shooting it out. Sound familiar? I love westerns and this scene is a classic in so many of the really great ones from the golden age of the genre. Now, it’s so familiar, my twists make it emotionally uncomfortable. Western town: yes, but present day. Deserted: yes, full of deadly nerve gas. Two figure stalking each other: yes, dressed in Hazmat suits. Colt .45s: try grenade-launching carbines and silenced pistols. All I left out was the errant tumbleweed.
Maybe next time...