Or maybe he needed to nail it down—yeah, greater specificity. He’d write a bodice-ripper, police procedural, court-room drama, or why not a memoir of an obscure person who became addicted to something or got sent to prison and who overcame great odds—or maybe a faux memoir with the words “Confessions of” in the title.
No, he had to establish it more specifically still. Say, if he wrote a police procedural, how graphic and hard-boiled could it be? Would he detail grisly crime scenes and autopsies or would he treat his plot with circumspection and taste? He’d have to decide who his readership would be and how wide a fan base he’d aim for.
Would the main character, the investigator, be a woman or a man? Would they be young, —hot or handsome—while wet behind the ears—not a desirable trait but it would open things up for a wild sex life—at least in terms of frequency, every 15 pages or so, with multiple, inappropriate partners. Or, would the protagonist be beyond middle aged, wizened, their best years behind them, but with the experience and guile to outwit the most wickedly brilliant sociopath?
How about their moral character—would they be a goody-two-shoes or would they constantly buck the system and so find themselves frequently called on the carpet in the boss’s office?
Would they be a big-city cop or maybe a small-town sheriff? Or better yet, how about a game warden or ranger who discovers mauled victims in the forest—something a grizzly might have done, but only the hero has the perspicacity to discern and prove the perpetrator is human? That would put a nifty spin on things.
But no, that had been done. Wait a minute. Hadn’t everything been done? The crux of the matter was not whether it had been done, but how well. That’s the ticket, he thought. Just pick something he felt comfortable with and then do it better than anyone else ever had. He’d write about something he knew. Isn’t that what they always said? Write what you know? Besides, research is a bore, too much trouble, even though necessary to achieve verisimilitude.
He continued to stare at the screen. After surfing the net awhile, he came back to the blank screen and glanced at the clock on the computer monitor. It was time for lunch. He could drive into town for a sandwich and watch the people. That almost always gave him an idea. By the time he returned he’d be ready to fill the page with his first 100 words. And it would be good.