Monday, May 29, 2006


So, the second draft of the current novel weighed in at nearly 124,000 words. The first draft ended at approx 113,000, so it grew more than I anticipated during the re-write. Minus the prologue and epilogue, the 20 chapters averaged about 6100 words each.

I listened to very little variety in music for this book. It was basically three scores, over and over. Compared to the twenty or so I used for "Darkland" this kind of surprised me. Or maybe not.

"King Kong" - James Newton Howard
"The Blue Max" - Jerry Goldsmith
"Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" - Patrick Doyle

Towards the end, I added two others for when I needed sneaking around music:

"The Interpreter" - James Newton Howard
"Shadow Conspiracy" - Bruce Broughton

And that was it on the music front. "King Kong" and "Blue Max" were the main ones. This amuses me, as I used to think of "Blue Max" as the score to this novel I came up with years and years ago (and will still write some day) called "Heaven's Debt" that was inspired by being in the redwoods and hearing "Blue Max" for the very first time. The score seemed all about lost innocence and the military to me at the time. And here, I used the music almost strictly for writing Reisher's sections... well, the military flavor was quite applicable, but lost innocence? Um, no. Interesting how fourteen years will change how you hear the same piece of music.

I wish I'd kept track of how many tea bags I went through... probably in the hundreds over the last seven months. I think I averaged 3-5 mugs a writing night.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Oh happy day!

Or night, or morning, or whatever the hell time it is. I've lost track.

I just finished the second draft of my current novel.

Who cares what time it is?

Listening to Duran Duran's "Love Voodoo" right now. Fits the novel, oddly enough. I don't really like 95% of "modern" Duran Duran, but I dig this song, and it nicely concludes the epilogue. Sort of end credit music, even though there's almost nothing I hate more than movies that have orchestral scores throughout, then end on some fricking song. Annoys me no end. Ah well. Still fits.

Still work to be done, I was making mental notes on things I need to change, but that can wait awhile now.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Frustrations? What frustrations!

I'm through! No jury-rigging, either. Just threw out the old, re-imaginged it, and then buckled down to a lot of hard work. I revised and rewrote three chapters last night and this morning to follow the new scheme of things, and, while it's not perfect, it's in one peice and it's decently coherent. (I hope.)

Which leaves just two chapters left to revise. And that puts me nicely back on schedule. I will finish by tomorrow night, maybe even by tonight, if I keep going with this momentum.

I forgot how absolutely ecstatic one gets when the end truly *TRULY* is within grasp. When the big hang-ups are now behind ("You're problems are all behind you now." -- James Bond, "Diamonds are Forever") and it's just the normal everyday minor revising and tweaking left. La-la-la-la!

Must eat lunch. Immediately.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006


You know you're screwed when you start asking too many "why" questions and you don't have answers. You know where you want the story to go, you know where it must end up, but when the whys and hows of getting there were cheated on the first draft, they're going to remain cheated on the second if you only work with the existing words. Simply trying to backthink it all and insert more logical whys is plot jury-rigging of the highest order, and it DOES NOT WORK.

And that's where I'm stuck at.

What I need to do is back off a bit. The answers are there, right in front of me, but due to artificial time constraints, I'm attempting to patch and jury-rig it, rather than gutting the ship properly and rebuilding it, which is what it actually needs.

Sunday, May 14, 2006


Not by Kirby -- by Billy. Because sometimes you need someone young and straight-forward to remind you of something simple you were overlooking.

And all because I was thinking I needed to write one Green Room story per month, and while pondering May's story, Billy popped up and said it would be about him and the reward he'd get for solving my novel problem. And I said, "huh, you?" And he nodded earnestly and said, "Yep, cuz I AM going to solve your problem." And I went, "huh, you?" And he pointed at the keyboard, and so I wrote exactly nine lines of Green Room dialog, not even 80 words total, and as I trailed away, staring at the dialog I'd just written for him, Billy smiled and said smugly, "See? Problem solved."

And damned if it wasn't. And it was all because Billy wasn't in my story "Reckoning" and, more importantly, the reason he wasn't in the story.

The boy is a genius.

And yes, this means I am THROUGH the scene that's been driving me nuts since draft 1.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

close, but no cigar

Thirty-three pages left to edit. (I think that's around fifty in TNR-12). Such a seemingly small number, such seemingly insurmountable road blocks.

And I decided tonight, I've been wasting my anger threatening the wrong character. S is genuinely cooperating. And that makes this major road block R's fault. He's failing to ask the right questions. He's letting me down. So, we'll see how he likes being on the wrong side of my wrath for a change. He's neither sneaky nor clever like S is, so maybe that means he'll actually be helpful.

May tomorrow bring Kirby to the rescue, careening stolen trucks through check point gates. Hm, maybe not. I might start working on the wrong story....

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

I love writing!

So, I seem to have settled into an odd writing pattern over the past two weeks. Seems my new writing hours start around 9:30 at night. I get going somewhere approaching 9 pm, and by the time 9:30 rolls around, I'm going strong. 10-11 seems to be the most productive hour. But then, instead of going to bed at 11, like I should, if I intend to stay a useful constructive member of the workforce on weekdays... I keep writing. Somewhere between midnight and 1 am, I force myself to stop, back up the computer, and crawl into bed.

I suppose it's not all that unusual. I have always had problems writing during summer. I simply don't write well when it's light outside. I'm my most prolific during winter. In the dead of winter, I'm usually rolling by six, with several productive hours ahead of me. Once daylight savings time hits, once that sunlight keeps crawling on towards 8 and 9 pm, my writing goes to hell. So, this year, I seem to be countering the daylight shift by starting and writing later into the night, so I get my darkness. Unfortunately, that means my lunch break is turning into a desperate collapse-and-sleep-hour, cuz I'm not getting enough sleep at night any more. Upsides, downsides.

Whatever, I'm going like gangbusters right now. I jumped ahead in the novel last night -- need to let current chapter stew longer -- and got 18 and part of 19 done.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

two weeks left on edit

WOO! It's almost 1:30 in the morning! I got one chapter done, then decided to read the rest of the book to try and gauge exactly how much I really have left to re-write. Except, instead of looking at the functionality, I actually got caught up in the story and ended up reading the whole last bit for the pleasure of it, not the mechanics. I completely forgot I was the author and that I had a technical job to do. I read to savor what happens, even though I KNOW what happens. It still worked on me, and I didn't remember what I was supposed to be doing until I hit "the end" and was leaning back in my chair smiling. Then I went "D'OH!"

Yeah, sounds vain, but what do we write for, anyway? If we don't enjoy our own stories, who else is going to? And I really like the ending to this book. It came out tense and surprising and frustrating and satisfying all at once. Just what it should be.

Okay, late night sleepless exuberance worn off now.

Must. Sleep.

Friday, May 05, 2006

pulling teeth

I've hit a couple of chapters where editing has become a strange variant of trial and error. This consists of me re-writing the chapter one night, re-reading it the next night, seeing what worked/didn't, re-writing accordingly, letting it sit twenty four hours, then doing the process again. And again. I've done this for a week now. Same two chapters, re-writing and re-writing, waiting for the right combo to click. It hasn't yet, but last night it got much closer. (and I LOVE my daily draft files. I can go back to any of the drafts and see what I've changed from day to day.)

I actually like the first draft version the best but, for various reasons, it ultimately doesn't work. But replacing it just-so, is turning into a lengthy and frustrating endeavor. Sure, what it boils down to is I don't know what I'm doing yet in this chapter. As author, I simply know too much. I know where it all goes, who's planning what, and I've lost the ability to see only through the limited character's eyes. There's things I WANT to say, but they're not necessarily things the characters have figured out yet. I need to forget what I know. Forget the story's outcome. Forget it all, and write from ignorance. I'd really like to set the whole thing aside for a month at this point, let it all get muddy again, and then approach it fresh. I need objective distance, but I don't have that luxury, so I'll just keep on with the trial and error re-writes for now, pick one that gets the closest. It can all be re-written later if it doesn't work.

To gain space, I've been working on a fanfic story instead. Entirely refreshing writing NEW words, not editing old. It does pay to have multiple projects sitting around.