Monday, January 31, 2005

A Mess

I think I'm in big trouble. This novel is a mess. I'm on page 142 and not only don't I know what's going on, I can't imagine writing at least another 250 pages of this.

Nothing makes sense. I've written myself into so many corners I can't see how to ever write out of them.

If it wasn't so depressing, and if I didn't have a deadline, I think I'd junk this novel and start again. I honestly don't know what I'm going to do. I should be working right now but instead I'm doing this.

I feel I've been fooling myself, thinking it would work itself out. I don't see how it can. I've never been in quite this position so early in a book.

I remember the writing of another book and running around the house yelling "I don't know how to catch him" meaning the killer. But that was a very different matter. And I did catch him.

Now the problem is I don't know how to go on. I knew I shouldn't have started a series. I hate writing a series. But that's what publishers want and This Dame For Hire screamed series.

In this made up world it's the summer of 1943 in New York City and I need to make you believe it. That's another problem I'm having. Still, I know I can deal with that part of the novel in my first rewrite. What rewrite? You can't rewrite a novel if you don't have a first draft.

My advice to another writer in this predicament would be to press on. Do the best you can. And when you come to The End worry about all this then.

All right. I'll try.

Saturday, January 22, 2005


 "We are a species that needs and wants to understand who we are. Sheep lice do not seem to share this longing, which is one reason why they write so little."

Anne Lamott

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Two Days?

I've managed to lose the better part of the week. I wrote Tuesday and Wednesday, but not today and I won't tomorrow. So this has been a two day week. My shortest yet.

Part of it is beyond my control. Actually, it all is except for Monday which I took on purpose.

I don't want to be sitting here on the 4th of July rewriting as I was last year. I want to have a summer.

Okay then. Pull myself together, right? Right. I'll try.

But I don't think this novel is gelling. Something about it is very wrong. Maybe I'll figure it out over the next three days. I'm reading a good novel. Sometimes that helps. Still, the way I feel today (depressed in case you didn't get it) I don't think anything will help.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

What About The Writing?

I was so focused on the cover art problem yesterday I didn't say anything about writing .  Nothing about how the week went.

It was another four day week, but not because I went to the movies.  Each of the four days was hell.  I eked out about 3 pages a day.  The day I missed was because I was very tired and I just didn't want to write.

But did I follow my own advice and sit in front of the Word document for three hours? No.  I played with my computer.  Not games.  Surfing.  Writing email.

On the days I wrote I used a trick that I recommend.  I stopped at a continuation point each day, rather than stopping at a completion point.  What I mean is I left myself a kind of cliff hanger in the middle of a page.  So when I did write I made the starting point easier for myself.

An example would be:  I was surprised when I saw him because he looked so

Or:  I didn't know what I'd find in the bedroom but I slowly opend the door.

This almost always gets me going.  And it did but I didn't stay with it long enough.  Usually that trick has me hitting the keys all morning.

One thing I do have to remember is that I can't write as many pages in a morning as I could some years ago.

But who knows?  Perhaps next week will be different.  Of course it will be a four day week again.  As readers of this blog know I take every holiday I can.  Januar 17th, Martin Luther King's birthday, is certainly one I'll take.

On Tuesday I start a new chapter. It will be a new day in the book.  But I know what Faye has to do. 

I think.

Friday, January 14, 2005

End Of A Dodgy Week

The bound galleys of This Dame For Hire arrived on Wednesday. They look great except for one thing.  That damn hemline.  They still hadn't changed it and these galleys went out to booksellers and all the important people that make or break a book.

I know that the wrong hemline won't make or break anything.  In fact, probably no one will notice.  But I know.  What was so hard about shortening the hemline?  I've come to believe the artist doesn't know how to draw legs.

There are great quotes all over the book and my editor has written, in glowing prose, a letter at the front of the novel about me and the book.

The whole package signals the book world that this is a special crime novel.  I'm not saying important because it's not that.  But it says this is a book to consider.

The alternative to the cover art the way it is on the galley would've been no art, only a blue or red or whatever color they decided for a nondescript cover.  So having the galley presented the way it is is wonderful.

I heard about the cover art on the galley before I got mine.  I was angry.  I asked my agent to call my editor.  She did and told me that it was not going to be that way on the finished book.

And when I talked to him my editor assured me that the final cover art would show the woman with a short hemline.  This must seem frivolous.  But it's all I have right now.  Later, there will be more things for me to be upset about re this book.  If they aren't obvious I'll search and find them.  Just watch my dust!


Saturday, January 08, 2005

Something New For Me

I've never had an audio sale.  I'm not sure why.  I have a terrific, hard working agent (she's not taking any more clients) but no one ever bought the rights to any of my novels for this purpose.

But my agent called me today to tell me that I'd gotten an audio sale for This Dame For Hire which will be published in June by Ballantine.

I was thrilled.  I'm not jaded, afterall!

Friday, January 07, 2005

Another Four Day Week

I've been very lucky.  My parents supported me when I went to NYC and wanted to be a writer.  Then I got a few different meaningless jobs.  The longest lasted for a year.  But I don't think I tried to write during those periods.

Later I supported myself through writing for TV.  Yes, some soaps.  The pay was great.  But the jobs were awful.

Eventually I sold my first novel which was a YA.  And I went on from there publishing many books.

The reason I'm writing the above is because I want to pay tribute to those people who have jobs and write, to those who run a household and write.  I'm finding running a household and writing at the same time incredibly difficult.

I don't know how people do this.  But they certainly have my admiration.  I don't have the luxury of not writing until my household returns to normal.  But I'm taking this day off anyway.  I can't face writing today.

I'll try again on Monday.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005


When in doubt, have a man come through the door with a gun in his hand.
Raymond Chandler

Back To Work

On Sunday I read what I'd written of my novel so far.  I was surprised.  I found that it was much better than I thought. Yesterday I went back to writing. 

It was very hard.  I wrote about two pages.  Today it was harder. What does that mean tomorrow will be like?

My editor said about my cover art that they were definitely shortening the skirt hem on the woman.  I'll take it.  Any other complaints I had I'll have to live with.  He didn't say that, I'm saying that.  I've learned to compromise.  You pick your battles. You grow up.  Damn.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Looming Again

I'm going to finish reading Case Histories by Kate Atkinson today. And then I'll read what I have so far of my own novel.  I will especially hate it after reading the Atkinson because she's so good you could never bother writing again.

Every once in awhile I read a book and think, I wish I'd written that one.  It doesn't happen often.  And the only other ones I can think of are Before and After by Rosellen Brown, In the Cut by Susanna Moore (forget the movie) and Looking for Mr. Goodbar by Judith Rossner.  I know these are three women.  There are also a few by men, but they escape me now.

Anyway, the beginning of writing again is less than twenty-four hours away.  I have to get my head back into the world of 1943.  And I have to go back to figuring out what the hell is going on. I'm hoping after reading the eighty-some pages I'll have a better idea.  Or any idea of anything.

As trying as this period has been it was nice not setting an alarm clock and staying up past ten.  Now I have to go back into training as though I were an athlete.  My focus has to change.  And I hope I won't be too distracted by the "discussion" about my book jacket.  They've put it up on Amazon which really makes me irritated. 

Focus, Sandra.

Saturday, January 01, 2005

The New Year

I made no resolutions.  Mainly because I don't have time to keep them.  On Monday I'll go back to writing the novel.  Do I dread it?  Guess.

Tomorrow, in preparation, I'll read what I've written so far.  I have to remind myself of what has happened and where I am now.  I have no idea.  I know who's dead and who hired Faye but that's all.  No. I don't remember who hired her.  I just tried to think of her name...I know it's a woman...and nothing comes to me.

This may be a function of age or more likely that I'm blocking it all out.

For obvious reasons, I haven't been recharged by my time off .  I did manage to finish one book I was reading and start another.  And I did watch a lot of videos and got to one movie with friends.

I have no desire to go back to writing.  I can't believe I have to do it in less than 48 hours.  Yes,  I'm counting hours now.

I know I have to do it.  And I hope that once I start I'll get into it and be a normal writer who has a hate/love relationship with her manuscript.