I began the art of writing by learning screenplays. I never got an agent, though, except once when young because I had an “in,” but I ended up living real life plots and dangerous adventures. Aside from a Murder She Wrote episode, nothing really got forwarded to producers. The vivid, scene-by-scene imagination needed to conceive a motion picture, however, I have found is indispensable in investigating crime. Each action must be imagine when recreating it in order to conceive what happened and who is responsible. I bring this approach to nonfiction writing in an attempt to accurately though not melodramatically illustrate what truly happened.
In HorrorScope, the case chapters open with what in film would be called a teaser or prologue. They usually end with a dissolve or the credits and then the plot tempo commences. The following is the prologue for the Faraday-Jensen case, which is Chapter 2 “Sadistically Gunned.” It’s still rough, but it serves to help bring you the flavor of what it was actually like on that freezing December night.
It’s reality, not drama. If it is dramatic it is only because the incident was. I’m tired of crime cases being rushed past the reader because they serve only one purpose. This is to introduce the author’s “suspect.” The ZODIAC Killer is somewhat glorified, and he is so because he has become the real life comic book arch villain– hood wearing, jesting, boasting– something worthy of Gotham. But he must be presented as he really was: cold blooded, cowardly, ruthless.
Prologue for Chapter 2 (“Sadistically Gunned”) — HorrorScope by Gian J. Quasar.
In the darkness, at night, in the country, everything is in suspended animation. Trees, scraggly and bare, emerge from the inky anonymity only momentarily in the glare of passing headlights. Bushes are arthritic. Fence posts as rigid as grave markers. Darkness bites into the headlights. The subfreezing temperatures make their bloodless light sharp and cold. Headlights are a cold light anyway. Together, Lake Herman Road was black and white, trees of black silhouettes daubed with the shroud-like white light of a passing car’s headlights.
The darkness of eternity returns.
A flashlight beam streaks about, weak and round. There is shouting. Two gunshots. Shouting. A struggle. A head, an ear, close up. A gunshot. The beam is speckled with dot-like shadows. A shriek. Running footsteps. A teen girl runs from the blurry fringe of the halo of flashlight beam into the darkness. The speckled beam slices through the ink and glows with warmth as it finds the bright purple of the back of her gay dress. Gunshots soil the bright cloth with red. One, two, three— the girl slows, staggers. Gunshots— four, five. The bright purple of the dress drops from the roundel of light into the ink. A shot hurls through the dark. The beam coasts over the frozen road. A girl lies bloodied in her purple miniskirt. A boy moans. The beam dashes to find him. He is on his back, blood trickling from his head, the slightest spirit of breath from his lips. The light has only weakly captured the station wagon by his feet. It coasts over the profaned and bloody gravel and stops at a brown car. Shoes, heavy under the weight of the villain, turn on the gravel. The flashlight beam snips out. Footsteps crunch on the gravel in the darkness. A car door opens. . . . and closes. An engine starts.
* * *
Since 1990 Gian J. Quasar has investigated a broad range of mysterious subjects, from strange disappearances to serial murders, earning in that time the unique distinction of being likened to “the real life Kolchak.” However, he is much more at home with being called The Quester. “He’s bloody eccentric, an historian with no qualifications who sticks his nose into affairs and gets results.” He is the author of several books, one of which inspired a Resolution in Congress.