Last week I posted here the final chapter of my novel The Dark Veil that I'd been serializing, one chapter each Wednesday, over the past six months. It was my first attempt at authoring a noir novel, and I found after I'd finished writing it several shortcomings that I tried to fix in my next novel The Blue Hours. As far as I was concerned, the three principal problems were these:
- Setting of Story - The problem with setting a noir novel in present day New York City is that the town has lost all the grit that made it so intriguing a place to live. Now it's nothing more than an upscale shopping mall controlled by real estate interests who have no sense of the city's history and who have deliberately scrubbed it drained it of its vitality in hopes of luring foreign condo buyers.
- Weak Ending - The problem with having in the first chapter a penniless old man as a murder victim only became clear as I neared the end of the book and had to devise a plausible motive for the crime. In real life, no one in Manhattan would trouble to end such a character's life. In fact, no one in New York City would want anything at all to do with such an individual, assuming anyone would trouble themselves to notice a destitute senior citizen in the first place.
- Characterization of Protagonist - This was really the novel's major problem. In writing the novel, I naively created a protagonist who is fairly normal and a likeable enough person and yet who resorts to extreme violence at the drop of a hat. That led to an inconsistency that I was unable to resolve. I tried hard to remedy the dilemma in my next novel by introducing a completely different type, a drug addicted anti-hero, as the lead character from whose point of view the story was told.
Looking back at The Dark Veil, I can't see it as a great success, much as I'd like to, but rather as an interesting experiment that taught me a great deal about writing fiction. For that alone it was worth the time I spent writing it.
I enjoyed serializing The Dark Veil and hope those of you who stayed the course enjoyed reading it just as much. In September I'll begin serializing here another of my novels, Lucid, a fantasy that explores the phenomenon of lucid dreaming.