No, HBC and LBC are not new cholesterol acronyms or new TV networks. They stand for “High Body Count” and “Low Body Count.”
Every time I start a new book, Rudy, my former boyfriend who still reads my works-in-progress, asks: “So, does this new book have a high body count or a low body count?”
The first time he asked, I replied, “Huh?” Then he pointed out the body count differences in the books I’d already written. For example, my Ghost of Granny Apples books tend to be LBC (ghosts notwithstanding), while in my Odelia Grey series, the number of corpses can fluctuate greatly from book to book.
When I write the books, it never occurs to me to count the dead bodies. I simply write what comes and let the corpses fall where and when they may as the plot progresses. Of course, I always know ahead of time the featured victim – the one who gets the ball rolling – but the others are often left up to the muses. Although there are times when I get three fourths of the way through a manuscript and think: “Hmm, another dead body might raise the tension. (drumming fingers on desk) Who shall it be?”
When Rudy received the first several chapters of Murder In Vein, the first book in my new vampire mystery series, he made a sniffing noise and said: “I can smell an HBC coming.”
Well, duh! It’s about vampires. Of course, it will be an HBC!
How about you? Do you know ahead of time whether your new book will be HBC or LBC?
Sue Ann Jaffarian
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