Sunday, January 29, 2006


"If you are a writer you locate yourself behind a wall of silence and no matter what you are doing, driving a car or walking or doing housework you can still be writing, because you have that space."

Joyce Carol Oates

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

It Worked

I am writing chapter 3 from the viewpoint of the victim’s wife.  She will become a main character.  The homicide detectives are still there, but they’re minor characters.  We don’t know anything about them, except what a reader might learn from dialogue and the main character’s observations.

This works very well for me.  I’ll finish chap. 3 tomorrow and start on 4 if all goes well.  I feel so much better about all of this.

Saturday, January 21, 2006


"As I keep saying, fiction is truth. I think fiction is the truest thing there ever was."

Arundhati Roy

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Ready To Throw in the Towel

Today I slogged along hating what I was writing.  I decided this method wasn’t working.  Not only didn’t I know what was going on, I wasn’t comfortable with it at all.  Some days may be hard, but I have to feel comfortable. They’re two different things.

I called it a day.  Answered some email.  Went for the real mail.  Picked up the book I’m reading and then it came to me.  I hate the people I invented in this latest chapter.  They’re homicide detectives.  I don’t want to write about cops again.  At least not as major characters. 

The chapter reads so differently from the first two.  This one is stilted and slow and who cares?  Certainly not me and it shows.  I’m killing these cops.  Out they go.  I can keep some of this chapter.  I like the wife of the victim.  I like the dead guy's enemy.  I can do fine with them.

I have to think about this more and I’ll start again on Monday. Maybe the method will work afterall.  I was writing about these cops for two days.  Funny how blind I can be.  At least it’s not a total fiasco. 

I’m going on.


Saturday, January 14, 2006

The First Week

Those readers who’ve been through TOO DARN HOT with me know that it takes me awhile to get on my regular schedule of writing five days a week.

And the fumbling was true this past week.  I wrote on three days.  One non-writing day was because I hadn’t slept enough the night before.  The other, which began on Thursday was when I tried to back up to my CD drive and it wouldn’t take the new pages.  So Friday I spent dealing with this…I didn’t mean to get so involved and I didn’t mean to get on the phone with support, but I did. 

I have always been able to backup to a CD-RW so that it took my additions.  I’d get a question that would say: There is already a Chapter One on the disc do you want to over write it?  And I’d click yes.  Simple.  Now suddenly I couldn’t do it.  It was saying the disc was a read-only.  It made me insane.  The support person said he never heard that a CD-RW would do what I wanted to do.  WTF?  He said it was my software.  I knew this couldn’t be true but I tried it with another program.  Same thing.  Finally I backed up on a flash drive.  But I woke up this morning thinking about it, wondering what I could do. 

What has this got to do with writing?  Everything. It ruined my Friday work day.  Yes, I’m compulsive about a thwart.  Why couldn’t I write and deal with it afterwards?  Because.

Even so, I have two main characters and wrote 13 pages this week.  A pretty skimpy output for me.  But considering that I have no idea what this book is about and who these people are, not bad.

For anyone just beginning to read this blog, I’ve said before that when I start I know who the protagonist is, the place, and who gets murdered.  I never know who the murderer is until the characters tell me.  I don’t write outlines because I would find that boring.  I want to be surprised.

I may have taken the surprise factor too far.  This time I started knowing nothing.  Those little pieces of paper with titles on them are leading me into a story.  It’s scary but it’s also fun.  I hope next week I’ll get at least four days work done.  The Golden Globes are Monday night so I’ll get to bed later than I usually do, but I’ll let myself sleep later and I’ll sit down at my desk later.  Now that’s really scary. And Friday, if a good movie opens, I’ll have to go.  That means driving for an hour as our local theater doesn’t have matinees except in the summer.  So that inteferes with work. I did this all through TDFH and TDH, except with TDH I had to give up the Friday movies at some point so I could make my deadline. And I did.

But now I don’t have a deadline, which is one more scary thing.  Still, it’s freeing if I don’t think of the financial end of things.  I’ve been used to selling a new book on 100 pages, but I don’t know if I should try that with this one.  I guess by the time I get to 100 I’ll know more and if I think my agent can sell it.  On the other hand, it might be nice to have a whole book for her to shop around.  Of course, maybe she’ll hate it.  Stop it, Sandra.  Stay in the moment.

And this moment, or the next, is going to be about me reading a novel. A MILLION LITTLE PIECES.  Just kidding.


Monday, January 09, 2006

First Day

I did it.  I started a new … what?  Let’s call it a book.  I picked a title out of the box.  It was Asphalt Jungle.  That is chapter one.  I wrote four pages.  I have no idea what this is about. I’ll continue this chapter tomorrow.  I know the name of at least one of the characters (this novel may have multiple points of view) and will go on with him for now.

The galleys for TOO DARN HOT arrived today.  They aren’t like the galleys for THIS DAME FOR HIRE.  That one looked like the eventual book.  This is the usual galley which signifies nothing to booksellers except that this is another mystery by Scoppettone.  I can’t say that I’m surprised by this, although it would’ve been nice to have a galley that was the same type as the first book.

Sunday, January 08, 2006


I’m going to start.  For sure.  As sure as anyone can be about anything.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Not Yet

Thursday is no day to start a novel.  Those of you who’ve been keeping up with me know that I never start anything except on a Monday.  It was foolish to think I could begin this past Monday.  I think in the week after the holidays it’s hard to leap into action.

So, this coming Monday I’ll try my gimmick and see how it goes.  There’s a touch of excitement to it.  I’ve never tried anything like this before and it’s always exciting to do something new.

Anybody else ever kick-started themselves with a trick like I have in mind?



Wednesday, January 04, 2006

A Gambit

No words on a page yet.  So I’ve decided to try something unusual, to me at least.  I think I made it up.

Yesterday I found a list of fifty noir movie titles on the Internet.  I copied them and then pasted them in my Word program.  I printed the list, then cut them up into one title strips.  I put them in a box. Today I had nasty little errands, but tomorrow I’ll pick one of those strips and make it my first chapter.

I have no idea if this will produce anything worthwhile, but I’m going to try to just take a flyer on this.  Who knows.  It may amount to nothing.  But at least it’ll get me writing something. 

More will be revealed.

Monday, January 02, 2006

First Writing Day of the New Year

It wasn’t.  Didn’t sit in front of the blank screen as I said I would.  But I’m thinking.  Reading bits of things here and there and hoping something will catch my fancy.

I just read on James Reasoner's Blog that he’s written 185 books.  I’m astonished.  We all have different rhythms and no two people write in the same way.  But I’m in awe of this man as I sit here trying to think of an idea for the 20th book in my career.  I think he was born in 1953, which makes him 53.  Much younger than I.  I don’t know when he started writing but let’s say he was 18.  So that’s how many books a year? Oh, you figure it out it’s too much for me.

Then there’s Bob Randisi who has written over 300 books.  And Larry Block and Ed McBain and Georges Simenon and Ed Gorman who have all written many, many books.  I don’t see myself listing any women.  I can’t think of any who’ve written lots and lots of books.  Maybe I’m not remembering.  Oh, yes.  Ruth Rendell has written quite a lot but I don’t think she’s up there in the 100’s.

At any rate, I’m simply not that kind of writer.  I don’t mean anything pejorative by that.   I just can’t write that much.  Or that fast.  As I said on Reasoner’s blog, I don’t believe that speed has anything to do with quality anymore than lack of speed has anything to do with "literature."

But I do wish I could’ve written more in my life.  I didn’t and I’m not going to.  That’s not who I am.  I remember when I first started writing novels my goal was to write 20 in my career.  And here I am on the threshold of 20 with a totally empty brain.

That has to change.  Doesn’t it?