Saturday, September 09, 2006

Probably between 100-200 words tonight. Hard to be sure because I was also removing notes. The notes were really chunks of the original detailed outline. I have them in the manuscript in blue and a smaller font, so they're easy to see. As I've been nibbling away at the unwritten parts of the manuscript, I've been removing the blue sections that were originally there to tell me what to write in that part. As I've been writing, I've occasionally added a note in blue concerning something that needed to be cleared up later (e.g., "Travel time from Houston to Phoenix in 1963?"*). Tonight, I jumped around, looking for those short notes and taking care of some of them. Now I can page through the file and have the pleasure of seeing quite a bit less blue.

(*Answer: Dunno, but it's about 20 hours now, according my road atlas, which assumes one will be taking the Interstate. Not much Interstate existed between those two cities in 1963, according to the Wonderful World Wide Web, so I guessed that it would be twice as long. Based on my own past experience, the 2:1 ratio is about right for regular U.S. highway travel vs. Interstate travel.)

There are still some major blue chunks, but the thing is finally starting to fel like a novel that needs some parts filled in, rather than an interesting outline with some parts fleshed out. I like the plot very much, but I really, really like the characters, and I'm determined to do them justice and tell their story properly and fully.

The writing today, such as it was, was therapeutic for me. This morning, my car, which I've been very happy with (2001 Toyota Camry, bought used as a three-year lease return vehicle), decided to get cranky and refused to crank. Starting motor is shot. Aargh. Car troubles and computer troubles can throw me for an unreasonable loop and cast me into a fit of depression. This did, for a few hours.

Writing this book has been part of my pulling myself out of a depression that lasted about two years. That one wasn't prompted by car or computer troubles (even I'm not that weird!) but by the commercial failure of my last novel, Business Secrets from the Stars. It's the best book I've ever written, by far, and I worked hard at promoting it, something I'd never really done with any other novel, and I let myself hope that this was the one that would make me rich and famous. The book's failure hit me hard, and as I was struggling with that, I was unexpectedly laid off. I was lucky enough to find a new job fairly quickly and settled into it and started trying to deal with my writing despondency again and trying to make myself write regularly again, and then I was unexpectedly laid off again. Once again, I was lucky enough to find a new job fairly quickly. This one is with Quark. The company is great, and so are the people. (See The Day Job for an more complete telling of my professional history.) Fingers crossed about the layoff thing.

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