Derry, Northern Ireland

Derry, Northern Ireland
A book I'm working on is set in this town.

Friday, October 9, 2015


I did as much as I could on OT, today, then began to zone. It will be done by the end of the month. Period. Including letting it sit then going through it to proof for typos before sending it out. Then I'm getting onto NaNoWriMo.

I've set myself up for the 2015 challenge, and I'm doing Underground Guy. I've got it plotted out and sort of started, so I'm not working from zero. And it will give me the impetus to finish a draft. I've even worked up a possible cover. Not the best I've ever done but a beginning.

I'm kind of itching to get back to work with Devlin, Reg, and Tawfi. They're such a disparate trio -- Devlin a rapist finding out he can't justify his actions, anymore; Reg a decent cop who's married and thinks he's aware but find he isn't; and Tawfi the epitome of style, sophistication and entitlement who believes himself immune to human reality...but isn't.

Each already has his own voice and is willing to lead me places; I've been putting them off till I got done with OT. Now I can set the date to rejoin their conversation...November 1st. It won't be easy and I may not make it, but I'll have a good start and a nice long round-trip to Hong Kong to focus on it, because according to Cathay's website, my plane has an AC outlet under the seat.

If you gots the power, you gots to use it...

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Enough is enough...

I've been smashing my head against the wall of OT for too long; it's time for the book to be finished. So from now on, I'm not rewriting anything except to correct typos or inconsistencies. I've fallen into my old trap of reworking the story down to the point where I'm changing a single word on a page...then the next day changing it back. That's not writing; that's psychosis.

So I'm giving myself till the end of the month to finish this draft and send it out for a second beta-read. It's almost like a new book, as compared to the original draft I sent...and copyrighted. Almost. The same basic structure is there, as are the vast majority of characters and events. I just dropped the lecturing, which I'm sure no one will miss, and made Jake's search for his uncle more important to him.

I had one beta-reader dismiss the "disappearing uncle" bit as meaningless. "People disappear all the time," he said. And he's right about that...but that's beside the point. Jake goes looking for his uncle because the man backed him up when he was outed and kicked out of his home and went to jail. Owen means something to Jake, and my lead's not the kind of guy who will just shrug important things off.

Another reader noted that Jake makes some easy connections between things, and she was right. So I'm trying to make his knowledge and awareness and realizations grow organically from the situation and his research. He's got Tone and Matt to back him up and gather info for him to process; he doesn't need to be brilliant.

Nor do I, really...which is hard for me to accept...

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Movie Therapy

The first time I saw a Hitchcock film in a theater, it was a double-bill of Rebecca and Notorious. I went back to my roots to get past the mood I'm in...and now I'm back on track.

I have Notorious on DVD, but you can see it all on YouTube. The scene on the balcony, where Cary Grant tells Ingrid Bergman what's expected of her, is one of the most subtly vicious moments ever in film. Because without saying it once, she's told by the man she loves she has to have sex with another man, and if she does, he will hate her but if she doesn't, she will let down her country...and the decision is hers to make. So no matter which way it goes, she loses.

Ben Hecht wrote the script...and it is damn near perfection.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

In a bad place, right now...

I got nothing done on OT during this round of jobs, and Saturday I'm off to Seattle then Boston in what promises to be a lot of tough work so doubt I'll get anything more done. I don't know what it was, but I could not focus my thoughts during this drive -- 1270 miles in 3 days. No radio. But my brain still wandered all over the place. Drove through some nice country with the leaves just beginning to turn, but it was all the sort of Oh, that's nice in passing kind of enjoyment...which is minimal.

Maybe a lot of this has to do with me not eating right during this trip. I don't really do breakfast and I've skipped lunch twice, nibbling on crackers and DP to make do till dinner because I wanted to keep to my schedule. Get in, get out, get on with my life...and I managed to work it okay. But I now feel very on edge and unsure of what to do next.

Then I got home and found La Quinta's being a pain in the ass, again. Seems lately any time I have to change a reservation with them, it gets screwed up. I got billed for an extra $158 for my stay in NYC, last week, because they say I didn't tell them I was only staying 4 nights instead of 6. Fortunately, I hadn't trashed the updated reservation, yet, so I can send them that in the morning, but it's irritating as hell and shouldn't be necessary.

Then the hotel I stayed at in New Haven didn't factor in my AAA discount even though they have my AAA card and it was worked in on the sheet when I signed in. But I stupidly didn't check it when I got my receipt, this morning, so I got billed the full rate.

Then I called my brother in San Antonio and found out he will need cataract surgery...and that my nephew is having problems with the latest house he's trying to renovate and sell...and that little bro' had a near run-in with the cops because a CVS employee thought he was homeless and ordered him out of the store. He was there to buy a soda and said so. They got into an argument and the clerk called the cops...who agreed he looked homeless. He'd been working that day, in construction, and showed the cops he had money on him. He was just dirty from the job. Made no difference; they told stay away from CVS.

And on top of it all, the world is supposed to end, tomorrow, according to this doomsday cult who've only made the same damned prediction three times before. Maybe I'm just reacting to the growing insanity of the world...I dunno...I just feel like I'm ready to run amok and tear at my hair as I scream wild obscenities at life in general...

...Still clothed; I'm not that crazy...yet...

Sunday, October 4, 2015

First hints of winter...

Driving from Buffalo to Washington was nice, for the most part. The only bad moments came from drivers who seemed unwilling to consider others on the road and a jerk who ignored a "lane closed" notice until he had no choice but to move over, then forced himself into my lane two cars ahead of me. He was in a Mercedes, so I guess manners don't apply to people like him.

Anyway, I came down the 390 and along the 15 to connect with the 83 to hit Baltimore and then did the Washington Parkway into DC. It's hilly till you hit the Susquehanna River, and the trees are starting to turn Fall colors. Now instead of huge blocks of greenery, I saw the beginnings of patchworks of red and gold and orange and brown and crimson and yellow and even some blue. It's nowhere near its peak; my hope is when I come back from Seattle into Boston and drive up to Portland, Maine, I'll get the full effect.

Damn...that's a week from tomorrow. I'll be taking lots of pictures then, I hope. Today was not a day for stopping, however; I wanted to get to the hotel by dinnertime. As it was, I didn't eat till 8pm...but it was a damn good 5 cheese lasagna with meat sauce. Which is amazing considering my hotel is not on the street it claims its address is on...and which GPS led me to...even though all the street signs say it's a different street.

I'm somewhat used to streets changing names from one block to the next. And part of Robertson has numbers in the 200s on one side of the street while on the other side they're in the 800s, or something like that...because on one side is Beverly Hills and on the other is Los Angeles. But to claim a street is what it isn't? That's fresh.

Sometimes when I go to other cities I feel as if I'm participating in an absurdist comedy.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Simple things...

When I write a first draft of a script or story, I tend to throw in everything I can think of to keep the plot moving. Comments. Actions. Details. Directions. You name it, I got it in there. Then during my rewrites I tend to cut back. Trim out the unnecessary stuff and aim for lean and mean. I don't always make it...but that's my goal.

Of course, sometimes everything just falls it did for HTRASG. Curt exploded out of me and I did very little in the way of cutting him back or even trying to rein him in. Fact is, once his story was down on paper, the only thing I was doing on the rewrites was making sure his voice was consistent.

With LD, it was the opposite; I wanted the story to be chaotic, like Daniel's mind. Ace's patois was a deliberate part of that, along with his snide commentary about everything and slow revelations to himself of what's going on, so it took a while to get close to being right, and even now I could rework it. It's not a simple read...even though I honestly thought it was...but it works.

With OT, I seem caught in this never-ending spiral of rewriting and trimming and adding and smoothing and adjusting and clarifying and back to rewriting and trimming and on and on and on...and I have no idea when I'll be done with this round. I got through the second chapter, today. That's all. And tomorrow I'm driving down to DC so won't be able to revisit it till I get to my hotel, which will be late. So I don't know what to think about what's going on with it.

BC took me years to write, but that was a pretty heavy book about a tragedy that I did not want to be a tragedy. But I got the first two sections done. Then it took me years more to figure out how to do the last section, one I knew was needed even though the first two sections seemed fine unto themselves. But it was finally completed...and I use that to remind myself that eventually OT will be, too.

My process is not the same for every book or script I write. Some are born ready to run; others need lots of special care and therapy; others are just a pain in the ass and will never be happy with themselves.

Looks like Jake's story is one of those high-maintenance ones.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Line by line...

I went back through chapter 1...the intro to the story...and trimmed down some more. Not a lot, and some was just consolidating or restructuring sentences to made the reading smoother. I'm also working up a step outline from what I have written so I can more easily cross-reference what I've done. Relying on remembering what it is just isn't hacking it.

Man...I'd been honing that logical flaw in the story from the outset, and to be this far along in the writing before I noticed it has made me pretty damned unsure of myself. I know I'm prone to trying to make my work perfect and getting so lost in it I can't see the glaring issues, even as I polish up the minimal ones, but this was one instance where I should have handled it earlier. Before I send this out for its second beta read, I want it to be as close as possible to the final product.

Long day at work getting ready for the next round of jobs...and then the Seattle Book Fair...and another job popping up, not to mention my plans being changed on me by my boss so that I'm going to be on the road longer. I'm actually at the point where I have no firm idea of what I'm doing the rest of October and November, just highlights.

Sometimes I feel cross-eyed...

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Returned to sender...

Back home. Tired as hell. 203 boxes weighing an average of 50 lbs each are now ensconced in a safe place to prepare for travel, and I ache all over. Next week's jobs will be simplicity, in comparison.

I tried to work on OT during the train trip to Buffalo, but finally had to doze for a while to keep from drifting too much. I did make it through the first section...of 4. Lots left to do, and now I'm paranoid I might be missing another logical flaw. I guess the story was too complex and detailed and...really...fussy for anyone to notice. Positive aspect is, I'm now hiding what the new detail is in exactly what the problem was.

Not gonna be a long post; I need to shower and sleep.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

I have to stop thinking...

I just realized I have a massive logical flaw in OT and have to go back through it to correct it. Damn. Damn. Damn.

I think I think too much.


I finally got through this rewrite of OT and now can begin polishing it up to make sure it's consistent. I dropped the total page count by 24 and the words down to just under 119,000. It's a bit leaner and much cleaner, if still pretty complicated, but I think the ending is completely earned, now.

I need to have an honest page count before I can find out what the cost is to make the book as a hardcover. At 520 typed, double-spaced pages...I think that'll work out to about 350-400 pages in a book. After this next polish, I'll reformat it to see what it comes out as, because I'll need to add some blank pages for the back of the section headings. I'm also doing it in block form, this time, to make it look more professional.

I better do some research on other books in hardcover to see how they work, and I should start publicizing the book to stores -- like Mystery Pier in West Hollywood, and other books shops that sell mysteries. That'll be a lot of work, in and of itself.

The packing job is almost done, thanks to the two helpers I had. They doubled my speed so that I only have 8-10 boxes left to pack. I'm not going in till 1, tomorrow, so can do some other things in the rain. It's pouring, right now, and is supposed to tomorrow, as well. Hope it doesn't on Thursday; that's the pickup day.

Now I'm ready for bed...