Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Hallelujah and Pass the Whiteout!

Today, at the count of 95,250 words, the (very) rough draft of Dead Stop is done.

It is the largest novel I have written to date, but I assure you it will probably read faster than any of the others I have done. It is fast paced, and an almost non-stop thriller once it gets going. And it gets going pretty fast.

Dead Stop represents my foray into the field of zombie novels. As always, I did a lot of research and read a lot of them before deciding how to develop my own take on this genre. I wanted the zombies to be as authentic as possible and fearsome as well. I also wanted the story to be more than just a buffet of 2 dimensional characters fed to the monsters in a bloody assembly line....although there is plenty of blood.

In the end, Dead Stop does a lot that is classic, but it is mixed with a lot that is new.

It's the story of one slow night at the Textro Truck Stop, and how things liven up when the inhabitants of the nearby graveyard drop in for a bite. Things happen swiftly and over half the living people at the Textro are dead before the initial assault ends...leaving a small band of survivors trapped, cut off from the world, and with time running out. Armed with little more than the courage, wits, and skills they brought in with them, the survivors must find a way to escape by dawn.

While the rough draft is done, it is still a long way from being ready to publish. There is going to have to revisions, edits, and multiple tweaks to both actions and characters. There is also the matter of designing and producing a good quality cover. I have a couple of ideas in mind, but they're going to push my photographic and photo editing skills to the limit.

So there is a long way to go. I don't expect to have this book ready to publish until sometime near the end of summer.

But at least the story itself is done.

Now back to work.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

A Most Evil of Maladies

I suffer from a serious affliction. 

It is one that has haunted me for the past five years. It has caused me grief, frustration, forced me to miss deadlines, and at times has even made me difficult to live with. As much as I try to forget it, it rears it's ugly head from time to time so I can no longer pretend it isn't there. No matter how hard I try, I cannot escape it. It's just something I have to grit my teeth and suffer through.

You think I'm talking about my CMT? Nah, I've got that handled.

I'm talking about something that causes me even more gray hair and bouts of elevated blood pressure.

I call it Almostdoneitus

The cause of this horrible condition is unknown, but it's main symptom seems to be that the closer I get done to finishing a manuscript of any kind, the more I struggle and the slower I write. And as I approach the very end, it's like mental blocks start falling into place and I end up sitting and staring blankly at the screen or getting an uncontrollable urge to go scroll thru facebook.

I now have half a scene to go in order to finish the rough draft of my novel. It's the next to last scene of the story, and it has been giving me so much trouble that I skipped ahead and wrote the epilogue to get that out of the way. I figure it will take about three thousand words to finish that scene...something I could usually crank out in a day. But since this is all that's left, I wouldn't count on that.


Somebody needs to come up with a vaccine, because I hate this stuff.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Writing Music

Sometimes it takes a little music to help get the old muse kicked into gear. Here is what I am listening to as I try to work my way through the last part of my novel.

Losing ten days of writing this month, due to Mr. Laptop taking a vacation, has put my June deadline for finishing the rough draft in peril. But I think it is still achievable. Then I'll have the kids home all summer to help me with the editing!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

A Joyous Return after an Instructive Absence

I am happy to report that Mr. Laptop is home and healthy, and ready to resume work.

Remembering how long it seemed to take to get fixed when Mr. Laptop broke down in January, I was ready this time to make better use of the days without my electronic companion. I decided to brush up on my reading, with an eye towards improving my prose. And the man I turned to for that was F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Over the course of Mr. Laptops absence, I read "This Side of Paradise" and "The Beautiful and the Damned." Both are very worthy titles, if you can get into the idea that these are not what usually pass for novels nowadays. They are both more like character studies. They follow the lives of two similar main characters from boyhood to a crucial turning point in their lives. But while I found the characters, and the way their personalities shaped their fates, was also the prose that made these stories work. It was an education reading them.

Stephen King once said, "If you don't have time to read, you don't have time to write. Simple as that."  I'm really becoming a believer in that.

There is a lot to be learned from reading masters of prose like Fitzgerald, Chandler, or even Bradbury. After  ten days in their company, I looked at my current project with fresh eyes and see how it could be done so much better in places. So my Kindle now has a folder for "Literature", mainly for writers who I'll download for my own edification and to learn as much as I can.

Writing is good. But writing and improving is better.

I'm going to be sure and make more time for reading in the future.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Technical Difficulties

Due to circumstances beyond our control, service to this blog has been temporarily suspended.

In other words, Mr. Laptop went kerblooey! and has been sent off for repairs. This means that writing, blogging, Facebook (sob!), and other things that are taken for granted in the 21st century can now only be done with great difficulty as I try and sit on the floor and use the kids computer.

Please bear with us while we work to resolve this problem.

Thank you.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Aw C'mon!

Sigh, not the most productive of weeks.

I intended to start a diet today, but since my son's birthday party was yesterday the house is full of cake, ice cream, and other gastronomical land mines guaranteed to destroy my will power in seconds. So, instead of dieting my new plan is to eat it all up so I can start dieting after it's gone. Yeah, I know there is a flaw in that logic somewhere but it's a plan, and it's what I got.

And the frustration extends to the writing front as well.

Once again, my famous plague of Almostdoneitus rears it's ugly head. Just a few more chapters to go and the rough draft of my next novel is done. Of course, that means every word suddenly becomes a labor to write, and I'm down to churning out a feeble two hundred words a day. Gah! Some people have trouble getting started, while I always start struggling as I approach the end. And the hilarious thing is I know exactly how the thing ends. Fortunately, I gave myself a month to finish this thing and I think I will still make it in under the wire. That will give me the summer to focus on editing, and cover design.

Then I suppose I could dust off Argiope and see what I could do with that. Wouldn't that be awesome? Getting three books out this year? It's actually remotely possible. But for now, I will focus on finishing book two.

Assuming I can finish these last few chapters and not eat my laptop :P