Tuesday, February 28, 2006

An Amazing Discovery

On Feb. 20th I ended my post saying I was going to read what I had written so far.  I didn’t do that.  I don’t know why.  Instead I continued to bluff my way through this novel.  That didn’t work.

On Feb. 24th I said I was going to read some books that might help me. So yesterday I sat down with some of the books that I’d ordered and received and my manuscript.  I thought, why not read it first.  So I did.

Part way through I realized that the key to what I wanted to write was a throwaway line in Chapter One.  I went back and looked at it again.  Yes.  This could work.  I went on and read the rest. 

I’d been right.  The small bit in the first chapter was what I’d been searching for.  I couldn’t believe it.  I can’t believe it.

Two things. 1. I’m still going to read some of these books.  I’ve already started that. 2. It’s not exactly what I thought I was going to write but it’s in the same vein.  And I like it better than what I’d started out to do.

I can’t say how excited I am by this discovery.  It means I have a lot of changes to make to what I’ve written so far.  Also a lot of inserts.  But that’s just fine.

I still don’t know how it ends, but I don’t want to know that.  This isn’t a whodunnit but it will come to an end and things will need to be sorted out, characters attended to, loose ends tied up.

I don’t think I’ll pick the chapter titles out of the box anymore.  But I might.  I’ll have to see how it goes.  Lots of work before the next chapter.  I probably won’t start writing until next week because I want to read some of the material I’ve collected.  I could move ahead now as the books I got don’t exactly apply to what I’m going to do.  But there are things I can learn, things I already learned about one of the character’s profession.

I find it completely amazing that I had it all the time and didn’t know it.  Will miracles never cease?

Friday, February 24, 2006

A Rotten Horrible Week

Nothing got better.  I continue to not know what I’m doing.  It’s frustrating and demoralizing.  I can’t get a real handle on this thing.

What I have to do is read a few books on the subject.  I’ve ordered some and hope they come soon.  Not fiction.  In other words, I have to take a course, a class. My own.  I’ve done this before.  When I was getting ready to write Donato & Daughter I read a lot of true cop books.  It was very helpful.  I couldn’t point to any part of the novel now and say “this is what I learned from blank blank” but the studying of the cop books gave me an understanding, familiarity and confidence that I hadn’t had.

Before I wrote my first P.I. I read all the P.I. books I could.  This time they were novels.

So, I’m going to try this method again.  It’s one thing to not know where you’re going in a form you know how to write.  Another to not know where you’re going with a form you don’t know how to write.

I hate having to stop to do this.  It gets me all off schedule.  But there’s no schedule to be on if you don’t know what the hell you’re doing.  So if I’m going to give this book a chance to see the light of day, I have to go to school for about a week or two.

Good thing no one is waiting for this one.



Monday, February 20, 2006

What could I have been thinking?

I can’t write a book of this type.  Who do I think I am?  Just because I can write and I can get published doesn’t mean I can write this kind of novel.  I love reading them.  But that’s probably where it ends. 

Can I write a literary novel?  No.

A romance? No.

Science Fiction? No.

Fantasy?  No.

Historical (before 1900?) No.

Of course I don’t want to write any of those.  Still, just because I want to write what I’m slinging on the page doesn’t mean I can do it justice. 

I’m going to read what I have so far and if it isn’t completely awful I’ll continue to not know how to do what I’m doing.  If ya get my drift.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

This Week's Work

I had a pretty good three day week.  Pieces and people are connecting now. 

Yesterday I was knocking it out and a friend called who was in trouble.  It was the kind of call I couldn’t not take.  The call lasted an hour.  When I turned back to my screen I realized I couldn’t go on.  My energy and my focus were gone.  Mostly my focus.

Today I picked up where I’d left off.  I was slow getting into it.  The energy I’d had the day before wasn’t there.  Not because of the phone call, but because it was a different day.  Eventually I was able to complete the scene and it wasn’t bad. When I finished I wondered if I’d not been interrupted yesterday, would I have written the same thing?  I’ll never know but I don’t think I would have.

It’s a new concept to me.  On different days we may write different things about the same material.  I never thought about it before.  Maybe I would’ve written something better yesterday.  Maybe worse.  But I’m sure it would’ve been different even though I wouldn’ve used the same people.  That’s not even true.  When I finished the scene I’d been working on before the phone call I put in a break and started on a new character and scene.  Would I have gone to that place, that person yesterday?

On the other hand, perhaps it was a good thing I was interrupted yesterday because what I wrote then might have taken me in a whole different direction that wouldn’t really advance the story or even be necessary.

This is what I think.  You have to wear blinders and earplugs and keep your eyes and mind on what you’re writing.  Let nothing interrupt you.

Tomorrow I’m going to the movies.


Friday, February 10, 2006

Update On TDH and How The Other One Is Going!

Yesterday my new publicity person at my publisher called me to introduce herself.  She was very bubbly and full of life.  I liked her.  My experience has been that this is the way publicity people are and should be.  The person I had on TDFH wasn’t like that at all. Perhaps that’s why she never got me a single signing, interview or reading.  But the new one sounds very gung ho about all those things.  It picked me up very nicely.  All of this is five months away but I know how quickly time goes.

Now the other thing.  The novel.  And, yes, it seems to be shaping up that way. I now have 60 pages.  Every one a gem.  Not.  Today the title pulled out of the box was Out of the Past.  Perfect for the direction I was going in.  As you can imagine from that title it could open many doors.  Probably does even if you’re reading this.

The first part of the chapter doesn’t reflect that title, but the second half, which I’ll write next week…Tuesday not Monday as Monday is a special day for me that I always celebrate…will definitely be influenced.  It’s amazing how the title gave me a whole connection of characters I hadn’t imagined before.

So today I don’t hate it.  I love it.  I think it’s funny and interesting and just exactly what I’d like to read.  But it hasn’t been easy getting here.  After my last mash note about it earlier in the week, I had some lousy days…one where I went from hate to love and back to hate all in the same writing session.  And you’ll read my complaints and hatred again.  Nice having one thing in your life you can count on.

I knew yesterday when I finished the chapter that I’d be all right today.  I didn’t know precisely where I’d be going because the pick of the title hadn’t happened.  Still, I felt it wouldn’t matter.  I got lucky.

I’m reading more than ever.  It’s almost a frenetic type of reading.  I don’t want to do much else.  The books I’m reading aren’t wiping out my own characters.  They’re helping.  I can’t explain that.

No movies today.  What’s to see?  Harrison Ford?  No thanks.  My celebration on Monday usually includes a movie, but I can’t think what I could stand to see.  I’ve seen all the good ones.  Maybe I’ll have to come up with a different kind of celebration.

But for now…excuse me while I go read.


Wednesday, February 08, 2006


"Writing is like crime. The page is about what you can get away with. We break and enter, transgress, autopsy the living and dead, rob, exchange identities, lie, confess, steal. The arts of writing and successful crime are the same. Opportunity. Robbery. Seizure. Con. Misdirection. Theft. Fiction is a form of fraud, the most elegant, exquisite and complicated forms of creative fraud."

Kate Braverman


Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Friday, February 03, 2006


This was a three day week…including today.  Yesterday was a nightmare because of questions about Too Darn Hot from the assistant of my old editor.  I’m not going into it here because of the trouble it caused the last time when I got too detailed.  However, I’ll say this: it’s never over until it’s over.  When the book is between hardcovers then all you need fear are the reviewers.

Today I’m going to the movies as I so often do on Fridays.  This is a practice I had to give up writing the second part of TDH last year so I could make a deadline.  I have no deadline now (except in my head) so I’ll continue my Friday afternoon movie going unless there isn’t anything to see.

The three days I did work were terrific.  I was forced to rewrite chapter one because chapter four changed everthing.  I didn’t mind at all.  I don’t rewrite as I go along I just keep pushing ahead.  I used to have a sign on my bulletin board that said, “Advance the Story.”  And that’s what I try to do in the first draft.  But I had to rewrite chapter one so that I could write chapter five and have it make sense to me.

Chapter four has changed the whole tenor of the novel.  It’s even changed the title.  It’s now a type of sub-genre crime novel I’ve always wanted to write.  I hope I can pull it off.  I’m heading in the right direction but I’m still in Act One and that’s the easiest part. 

I find myself thinking about these characters all the time.  This is much more involving for me than the Faye Quick books.  That doesn’t mean I didn’t like those books or didn’t care, but this is a different type of project.  Writing Faye wasn’t a new sub-genre for me.  I’d done six P. I. novels before I began TDFH.  So even though I didn’t know who the murderer was when I started I still knew the form very well.

This book is new territory for me.  And it’s not a whodunnit.  I don’t know anything.  The book is telling me everything, leading the way.  The titles I pick from the box are also leading the way.  It’s amazing how well that is working.  This is turning out to be very exciting.  Don’t think that means it isn’t work.  It is.  But, so far, I’m look forward to getting on with it.

I also need to do some research.  I enjoy that.  The novel is set in present day, so the research is different from what I did with the Faye Quick books.  This has more to do with a character’s line of work.  It’s something I know nothing about.  I’ll be reading about it over the weekend. 

Monday, unless some horror greets me, I’ll write again.