From Bad to Dangerous

on August 30, 2010 in Misc

I wish I could say that I’m writing about me in this entry, that I’ve finally turned into a dangerous and thus more interesting woman.  But nope, it’s Layla who has gone over to the dark side.

beck use

As you know I’m editing The Compass Master.  Mostly the task calls for weighing every word and sentence, checking for consistency in my (ridiculously) complicated thriller plot, and other good stuff.  As you also know, I decided a few months ago to share my nasty injury with Layla.  She too will know what it’s like to have a collapsed lung and fractured ribs:  once in her past and again after a fight scene.

It’s the first injury that happened to her right after college that makes her turn to the (semi-) dark side.  While the physical injuries heal, it’s the circumstances of how she was hurt and the subsequent legal wrangling that strips away any innocence she still had and makes her cynical and vengeful.  By the time we catch up with her in the present day, she is definitely a woman who knows how to take care of herself.

b&w knife

This may sound disturbing, but I loved writing Layla’s new dialogue in which she casually admits to stabbing thugs who have attacked her while she’s on a job.  She doesn’t kill them but instead only cuts them enough so that she can get safely away.  No big deal to her.  What if she ever has to kill someone in self-defense or for another extreme reason?  She has a premonition that this will come true someday, and it doesn’t bother her.

Because I toughened up Layla I could get rid of some original passages that were making me cringe.  Why did I write such formula descriptions in the first place?  Maybe I wrongly assumed that a couple of my female friends/readers would only relate to a softer, gentler female lead.  Well, I underestimated my friends’ tastes and my own abilities.  Layla has gone from bad to dangerous and I like her much more that way.


Here’s a quickie update on my lock picking efforts.

1)  It’s embarrassing that in my last entry I mentioned that I would attempt to pick the lock on my bathroom door.  What a joke.  Turns out all I had to do was put in the torque in preparation of picking it and the lock popped right out.  I could’ve opened that baby in two seconds with a bobby pin.

locked door

2)  I had trouble picking the lock on the doorknob of my front door and also the one on my outside kitchen door.  You’d think that those simple push-in-the-little-round-button locks would be a cinch.  Well, maybe they are but I haven’t yet learned the trick.  On the other hand…

3)  I picked open the deadbolt (that’s right folks, the DEADBOLT) lock on my kitchen door in 30 seconds flat.  Which means…

I’M FINALLY DOING SOME REAL LOCK PICKING!  And don’t that make me feel real hot.  On the other hand…


Granted, it’s only a single deadbolt and not a double, but suddenly I don’t feel very secure in my own home.  It’s my own fault.

4 Responses to “From Bad to Dangerous”

  1. Robert L. Read says:

    Congrats on the lock picking success.

    You were never safe anyway, so don’t worry about your lack of security. Ha.

    Maybe your skill will lead you to seriously understand the most cost-effective way to make your house more effective. Maybe you have some friends who will let you try to bust into their houses. Won’t they be charmed by your sub-30-second talents?

    I think you are seriously taking a step toward becoming Layla, and making Layla more realistic.

    I would offer to allow myself to be casually cut without being killed, so that you could practice that as well, but I doubt my wife and kids would approve.

  2. Helena says:

    Robert — Great idea about picking the locks on friends’ houses. Course if I mess up their locks I’ll pay to replace them.

    And thank you so much for offering up yourself to be “casually” cut, but since I like you so much there’s no way I’m gonna hurt you.

  3. Ben says:

    Sorry it’s been so long since commenting!!
    Good job on the deadbolt! Are those usually really tough locks? I know nothing about locks, so I wouldn’t even have a guess.

  4. Helena says:

    Ben — Of course you haven’t been commenting because you’re so busy at you new college! Hope that’s going splendidly.

    Locks can vary from easy to tough to pick, and deadbolts are tougher. The odd thing is, the same key opens both my front door and kitchen door, but so far I can only pick my kitchen (deadbolt) lock. I think the difference is that my front door’s lock tends to stick even with the key, so that makes it more of a challenge.