Thursday, March 5, 2015

Wanna See WHAT YOU SEE?





HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: It’s  “What We’re Writing” week—and I’m slam in the midst of copy-editing the new WHAT YOU SEE—which, I’m thrilled to say, has a pub date of October 20. And ta-dah: Here’s the current (work in progress) cover!   
I think a lot about structure of my books—because it’s a crazy difficult balance. My stories are completely chronological and linear. They begin at point A, and end at point Z. What makes it a balancing act is working to tell one essential story from several points of view.  There's Jane Ryland, the smart and determined Boston reporter. Jake Brogan, the honorable and determined Boston detective. Then—three more.  Different voices. New voices. Some of those characters survive the book, some don’t.
The goal is dramatic irony. Each character only knows what he or she knows. But the reader knows it all.   Which means the reader sometimes knows if a character is making a mistake. Is making an unwise decision.  Is on the wrong track. It’s how I build suspense. I hope.
So in each book, my task is to create three delicious new point of view characters…people who’ll you’ll come to know and care about—or at least be curious about. And you might try to predict their future.
Here’s someone you’ll meet in WHAT YOU SEE.  As we open, there’s been a fatal stabbing in a Boston park. You know Jake’s already there.  He doesn’t know it--but you do--Jane’s on the way. What they both don’t know—there’s another person of interest already on the scene. Remember, the book is titled WHAT YOU SEE.


                                                 Chapter 2
     He’d gotten the shot. Totally what happened—well, not exactly totally, maybe. Bobby hadn’t been at Curley Park from the exact moment one. But how cool was it that the bus was late, and he’d been running behind for class anyway, and he always had his camera ready just in case. And blam, he’d clicked off, like, twenty shots in a row.
     Had he gotten a good one of the stabbing? Of the person running away? He thought so, even just the back of him. Or her. He couldn’t wait to see, but he couldn’t afford to look yet. If he had? This’d be big.
     Bobby Riaz tried to look small and inconspicuous, his red sux T-shirt, with, like, the same typeface as Red Sox, so people sometimes didn’t get it, morons, was pretty much covered by his work shirt. Plus, nobody was looking at him right now. They were all looking at the dead guy under the Curley statue.
      Television had that “Send it to 2” thing, where they’d show your photos or video or whatever. All he wanted was to be part of it. Get discovered. Move to LA and hit the big time. Photographer to the stars.
      So far he’d been on “Send it” once, last winter, when that truck jackknifed off the Longfellow Bridge, and he’d gotten that photo from underneath, some kind of hot liquid sizzling down into the snow from however the engine worked, and those two huge tires hanging off the edge into nowhere. They’d put his actual name on the screen, photo credit Bobby R, for about five seconds, maybe more, but then they’d put it on the Web site, too. So it was almost like having a published photo, right? All except for the money. And he bet he could get big money for today’s. From someone. He just had to figure out who.
      Luckily it wasn’t as hot as it had been, even though the sun was a bitch today. He twisted his camo cap around so the bill was shading his eyes, then turned it the cool way again. Life was all about the image. The sun was making weird glares on everything, and the trees, totally leafy and totally in the way, didn’t help. But he’d gotten something, he was sure. He had the eye. Even his mom said so.
      His mom also said he’d get in trouble someday with his picture taking, but she was wrong, what did she know? The paparazzi were all over television, got big bucks and hung out with rock stars. Well, not exactly hung out, since they were always suing them and shit, but he was gonna be different. He figured that if you were nice to people, let them know you understood their fame, they’d let you take their pix.
      And this moment, this very moment, might be the time his future would begin. But who would he be when that happened? He had to plan.
     Who he was now? Bobby Riaz. What a sucky name. His mom’s name was Jones, even suckier. Maybe he’d be Rob Something, maybe. Rob Avedon? Which was totally made up and didn’t have anything to do with who he really was, but Avedon was a famous photographer, he’d learned that in class, and maybe people would think he was related. Who’d know? The guy was dead. Maybe he could be Bobby Arbus, after Diane. She was totally cool, and dead, too.
     Kodak, that was too weird. Bobby Polaroid? He burst out laughing, then choked it back when some lady beside him took her eyes off the dead guy long enough to frown at him. Right, laughing at a murder, not cool. He coughed to cover it up. Pretended to talk into his Bluetooth earpiece. “Oh, so funny,” he said to no one. “But can’t talk now.”
      Oh. He had it! Bobby Land. Like Polaroid-Land, which he’d learned in class, too, a guy no one even knew about anymore. No one could argue about Bobby Land. He’d just let people think he was from a famous—and rich—family. Couldn’t hurt, and might even help.
     Bobby Land the famous photographer. What was the Boston thing? One if by Land? He laughed again and got another glare from the stupid woman. He clicked off a shot of her when she wasn’t looking. Take that, sweetheart. There’s one by Land.

                                    **************.
HANK: So what do you know about Bobby?  One commenter will win an ARC of WHAT YOU SEE!  (And yes, thank you so much! WHAT YOU SEE is availabLe for pre-order!  Right here:

Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/What-You-Hank-Phillippi-Ryan/dp/0765374951

59 comments:

Joan Emerson said...

What an interesting character. One gets the impression that he always has his camera with him, probably hoping for that great shot [which he thinks he just got] but what I want to know is who’s the dead guy he saw get stabbed just because he was late for class?
How come so many people don’t like their name and want to change it and be famous? And I thought all Boston folks loved the Red Sox???

I love “What We’re Writing” week, but after reading such tantalizing tidbits it’s really hard to wait to read the rest of the story. Thanks for introducing us to Bobby; I’m guessing he’s going to be in a lot of trouble that he doesn’t even know about . . . yet.

Edith Maxwell said...

[Looks like something slipped through the spam filter...]
The kid is young by the way he talks and that he's headed to class. And that he wants to change his name. Half Hispanic. Look forward to reading the book, Hank!

FChurch said...

What I see is that Bobby has big dreams and wants a quick way to fame and fortune--he's trying to game his way there instead of taking his craft and perhaps his talent seriously. And he doesn't have much respect for people who can't give him a leg up (like most of the people around him). And like Joan said, I'm guessing he's headed for a boatload of trouble and will be lucky if it doesn't cost him his life.

Great read!! And love the title!

Deborah Crombie said...

Brilliant, Hank! I do the same thing--multiples characters who don't know what the other characters know, but the reader knows all. But had no idea that was called "dramatic irony." I think I need to take some of your writing classes!

Kaye Barley said...

Oooooooh - I am loving it!!! Thanks for the peek and I can't wait to meet the other two new voices. Bobby Riaz/Land is one wonderfully creepy dude character.

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

OH, this is so reassuring…thank you. That;s the key to a character--that the person's past and present and future have to emerge seamlessly.. If you can picture him? And imagine what MIGHT happen? Great.

And you know since I don't have an outline,e when I wrote this part, I had no idea,either!

Off to Channel 7--more to come!

Rhonda Lane said...

Ah, but the title is WHAT YOU SEE, and we all know you can't trust that. ;) Bobby thinks he's showing us what he wants us to see. He does love his mom. This is what he perceives as his big moment, and he thinks of her worrying about him. He's ambitious and a tad rebellious (the Red Sux tee shirt he hides), but does he really want to pay the price to be named later? There will be a price, a big one, a choice he'll have to make. I suspect this case will determine the kind of man he'll be, provided he lives that long.

Karen in Ohio said...

Blind ambition is what I see in this character. I love how his main concern is his name. Not how good he is at photography. Such an interesting glimpse, Hank, thanks!

Rhys said...

Great voice for this segment, Hank. And interesting to see that you're writing about the heat and summer--trying to warm yourself up mentally?

Kim said...

You always nail the voices, Hank. I'm impressed. And now eager as heck to read more! Can't wait for the new book. XO

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

OH, so funny! Writing about summer was hilarious. It always seems to be a different season than that one I'm in. When I was writing the very wintery THE WRONG GIRL (in the summer)--I had a yellow sticky on my computer that said IT'S COLD!

Susan Elia MacNeal said...

What a fantastic voice, Hank. I can't wait to read and get the rest of Bobby's story! And yes — I love to use dramatic irony, too.

Lucy Burdette aka Roberta Isleib said...

I didn't know that was dramatic irony either Debs:).

I'm worried about the woman whose photo he took...can't wait for october!

Bev Fontaine said...

Bobby is obviously headed for big trouble. He's ambitious without the talent/training to back up his big ambitions. And he seems to have very little grasp of reality. So when the murderer finds out about the pictures...oh boy. I can't wait to see what you do with this, Hank!

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

Oh, you guys are GOOD! Yes, the photo he took. Who was it? Wonder what happens to that?

I wrote that paragraph, again, I had no idea. But it turns out--it isn't anything you might predict. I hope.

It's so fascinating that the characters DO things..and then the ramifications --surprise!--come later. Or the moments when you realize you wrote something that was a clue--but you didn't know it at the time. Was this one of those times? Not telling.

Lynn C. Willis said...

Love Bobby already. And I LOVE the way you show the reader his character rather than the dreaded info/detail dump. The way he wears his "camo" cap backwards then turns it around to block the sun, then turns it back again because image is so important...BRAVO! Can't wait to read this one.

Jack Getze said...

I think Bobby -- young and naive -- is going to die.

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

Joan--yes, you are so right! I'd say most in Boston love the Red Sox. Hmm.

Later, Jake wonders about that t-shirt. "Probably spent forty dollars on it," Jake said, "to prove he's fighting The Man. Who does he think got that forty dollars?"

Sandra Cormier said...

Bobby seems representative of the generation that runs on instant gratification, like a Polaroid.

He won't bother to take the road to a photography career by the usual channels. He's looking for shortcuts. Maybe that'll be his downfall.

Or, he'd make a great comic relief sidekick!

Grandma Cootie said...

I love this week at Jungle Red! Hank, you know I can't wait for WHAT YOU SEE. Bobby is a fascinating, utterly annoying character and so far I feel as if he definitely has a red shirt on. He has big ideas but not too well-developed, he's not too mature, and unfortunately for him is probably too nice deep down (if you're nice they'll let you take their picture) which is going to get him in trouble. Thanks for the peek!

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

Edith, grr. Yes, I took the spam down. Thanks!

Flora: thank you! I am so happy with the title--it was the first one I chose, and everyone's first choice. Whoo hoo.

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

Kaye..yes, he's a bit creepy. (And I was very worried when Nightcrawler came out--sigh. But although it is amazing, it's not the same at all.)

Bobby is mostly...misguided. And the power of fame is so strong, isn't it? As well as the power of having a photo-or video!--of someone. Jane has a TV camera, of course. And how about all that surveillance? What if there are photos of everything?

In that case, is what you see--the truth?

Denise Ann said...

You have created a full character by simply exploring his thoughts in his own vernacular! I think he is an adult, but one with limited abilities or some sort of disability. I can so see him!!
This looks interesting -- I can't wait to SEE for myself.

Pat D said...

Bobby is ambitious and thinks a good name will get him far. He also thinks he's hot s**t and has a very high opinion of himself and his prospects. He's in school, so at least he's toeing the line in that respect. He took the woman's picture to be spiteful so don't know what he plans to do with it. I can't decide if he's wearing the red shirt or not. Oh I miss you Mr. Spock! We have to wait six months?

Mark Baker said...

Truth Be Told, I still need to read your last book. But I need to fix that pronto because this one sounds wonderful - as always.

Jackie Jones said...

oh, boy, Hank... Sounds like another winning storyline! I want to read WHAT YOU SEE now! Bobby is definitely looking for a quick way to fame. He is a fascinating character that we all want to know more about. These teasers always get my imagination running in wild directions!

Way to GO HANK!
Jackie J.(:

Stacy Allen said...

Man, I love your writing Hank. So fantastic. Can't wait for this one!
Best,
Stacy

judy hoyt said...

Looking forward to another faboulus book by Hank!!!great cover!!!!Interesting Character, almost always has his camera, but now a days who doesn't? Student, Red sox, geesh a surefire hit at least in New England!!!!

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

Thank you! And what's challenging about writing a NEW character--is that they're um, new. They can't sound like Jane, or Jake, or even like *me*, you know? They have to be created as unique. SO the voice has to be new.

And it's so intriguing--where does that come from in our brains?

Julia said...

Fabulous voice, Hank.

And you don't mention it, but I bet you find, along with the challenge of creating new viewpoint character so different from Jane and Jake, that it's fun to step inside someone else's brain from time to time!

I'm hoping we'll get to see Jane and Jake from Bobby's point of view...

Libby Dodd said...

Bobby is young and really naive. I suspect he is also about to get in way over his head with a murderer.

Rickie Banning said...

Hank, I hope that you can somehow make sure that the now one remaining Barnes & Noble store on Oahu (they closed all the others!) gets this book on their shelves. Sometimes when I go in there looking for your books, they don't have them displayed and so I order them. Islanders get bored (yep even with those beaches) and ALL those beachgoers and tourists surely can use a good mystery read while soaking up the amazing sun. Hope you had fun writing it as much as we will have fun reading it!

Lisa Alber said...

Oh Bobby Bobby Bobby -- I foresee a world of trouble for you, young man. And I love it! That's just what makes a great story. :-)

Yay, Hank!

I love writing in multiple thirds too. It's just fun. But like you said, a balancing act. Sometimes I get all tangled up -- it's quite challenging.

Like Debs, I had no clue that was called "dramatic irony."

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

Oh, this is why you all get the big bucks.

Yes, I an safely reveal that Bobby has his eye--right now--on Jane.

Any predictions on why??

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

Thank you, Rickie! It makes SUCH a difference when people order--thank you!

Does he make it through the book? Well, at this point in writing, I definitely thought yes.

Sue B said...

Ooooo do I see shades of "Blow Up" here? Bobby reminds me so much of some of the people I went to art school with although a bit young with a hint of a chip on his shoulder.
Of course it also stands to reason that whoever he thought he saw leaving the scene was not the perpetrator but merely another who stumbled upon the scene and they are both being observed by the actual murderer.
What you think you see is not necessarily what you get.

Kathy Reel said...

Wow! Thank you, Hank, for that amazing excerpt. I can't wait to see where Bobby Land is going to, well, land. He is obviously ambitious, self-centered, still wet-behind-the-ears, disrespectful, and more than a little creepy. He's completely caught up in the image he projects through his name and his clothes, with his clothes sending a message that makes him feel superior to the "dumb" people around him. I can only predict trouble for Bobby, but it will be interesting to read about how he spins a web of it for himself. I'm also thinking that you're one terrific writer, Hank, to convey so much about this character in so short a space.

I love your multiple character POVs, Hank. I also love the cover that you've posted. Your covers always hit just the right note of suspense and intrigue.

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

Sue B! I loved Blowup! (Would that I would have remembered it sooner....)

And Kathy Reel, thank you! Yeah, the cover. What do you all think? Speak freely, it's still a work in progress...

Keenan Powell, Attorney at Law said...

Thanks for explaining dramatic irony. I've noticed you and Deborah Crombie doing it but hadn't figured it out clearly.

As to poor Bobby, he's an half-Arab kid in Boston who wants to be a white star in Hollywood. Not to get too Oedipal, but one would interpret his consideration of taking his mother's maiden name in rejection of his father, who he doesn't acknowledge, as important. He's trying to fit in and at the same time prove he's smarter and more special than anyone else. I'd expect he's going to college to avoid working while he waits to be discovered. He'd be gullible and easily flattered and manipulate because of which I see bad things happening to Bobby.

Ramona said...

I was going to write "Oh Bobby, Bobby, Bobby," but Lisa Alber beat me to it!

Mary Sutton said...

Great cover, great title, great snippet, great voice. Yep, this one is going on the pre-order list.

Like others have said, Bobby strikes me as young, naive, talented, but looking for a "quick buck," not willing to invest the time and effort needed for true success. I bet he sees Jane as another route to "quick fame." And yes, this attitude is going to lead him into trouble - big, big, trouble.

Can you tell me what happened between Jane and Peter Hardesty? Will that come up? There was an interesting character.

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

AH, Mary. Peter Hardesty. Thank you. I am hoping we will be seeing him again. SO wonderful of you to ask!

Lisa Alber said...

Hah, Ramona! Great minds ... :-)

Sue B said...

I LOVE the cover..it is keeping directly in line with the previous 3 in the series and is easily recognizable as your brand and the continuation of the Jane Ryland series..

Kait said...

Sounds like a super book. Can't wait to read it. I know that Bobby is very idealistic with a heavy dollop of narcissism. I picture him in his Red Sux shirt and baggy pants, the kind that display his Stewart plaid shorts. He's got a great eye, and a native talent. He could go far if he lives to develop it. I sense that he likes to walk on the wild side, that could limit his lifestyle.I also think he's a gentleman. A young man with manners from the past. How'd I do HPR?

Kait said...

Lifespan, limit his lifespan. URGH!

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

You all are wicked smaht. Love reading these!

And thank you, Sue B, about the cover. Whew. That's what they're going for...any one else want to weigh in?

Kelli Jo said...

Oh, his mother is SO right - his photography IS going to get him into trouble! But will he get out? CANNOT wait to read this!!

Hallie Ephron said...

My land! Am I the only one who's heard that expression? Fabulous, fabulous excerpt, Hank. Cocky guy, not someone I'd wish to be related to... October, eh? (Think our snow will be melted?)

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

Oh, Kelli Jo. I've gotta say...well, I won't.

Thing is, I have no idea where he came from. I love that.

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

Hallie! Thank you! (Really?)

And hey--isn't your birthday..soon?

storytellermary said...

Bobby reminds me of some of my high school students, with big dreams but no real idea of how one works to bring them about. Life has lessons to teach him, but I'd prefer to see him live to learn them.
I do admire the way you move through viewpoints without losing the reader along the way. It's a gift, and I suspect also the result of much hard work.
I can hardly wait to read more. ;-)

Joan Emerson said...

I agree with Sue B . . . the cover fits the series perfectly.

As for Bobby having his eye on Jane: he sees her as providing him with an opportunity for that elusive fame he so desires? Or perhaps he's reveling in a bit of one-upmanship, gloating that Jane was not on the scene first and he'd been the one to get the important clue [the photograph]??

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

Thank you, Mary! SO lovely of you..xoo

And Joan, you are a such a dear. We shall see, huh?

Tomorrow--Debs! See you then.

and truly...thank you. Love you so much.

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

AND THE WINNER of the ARC (chosen by closing eyes and scrolling) is Sue B!

Hurray.

Email me (at h ryan at whdh dot com) your address…and it'll be this summer, okay? The ARCS are coming--soon. Ish. And you will be the first!

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

And everyone else--thank you!

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

And everyone else--thank you!

BBibel said...

Bobby is young with big dreams, but he isn't as smart as he thinks he is. I can't wait to see what kind of trouble finds him.

BBibel said...

Bobby is young with big dreams, but he is not as smart as he thinks he is. I can't wait to see what kind of trouble awaits him.