Thursday, September 28, 2006

Can't think of a silly title. Maybe I won't bother with those normally.

Just over 800 words tonight. Not bad, especially since the part I wrote included a fairly coldblooded murder, and I had been concerned that I wasn't keeping up the gore component sufficiently. This book requires a considerable amount of gore, or at least serious nastiness. This section also introduced a minor character who may or may not remain minor. I've always enjoyed it when a minor character takes on depth and substance and becomes important. This guy may grow.

I think I have all the difficult parts either written in some form or sufficiently plotted/pinned down/imagined in advance. I should be able to write steadily until it's done, now. That's a comforting feeling. Until I reach this point in a book, I always fear on some level that it won't become a book, that it will end up as a partially complete book, lurking on my hard drive, haunting me for years.

Job stress continues. At some point, the deadlines will be past, and then presumably the stress will be over. I don't know for sure. I haven't been working for this company long enough to have a handle on such things yet.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Can't think of a silly title. Maybe I won't bother with those normally.

Just over 800 words tonight. Not bad, especially since the part I wrote included a fairly coldblooded murder, and I had been concerned that I wasn't keeping up the gore component sufficiently. This book requires a considerable amount of gore, or at least serious nastiness. This section also introduced a minor character who may or may not remain minor. I've always enjoyed it when a minor character takes on depth and substance and becomes important. This guy may grow.

I think I have all the difficult parts either written in some form or sufficiently plotted/pinned down/imagined in advance. I should be able to write steadily until it's done, now. That's a comforting feeling. Until I reach this point in a book, I always fear on some level that it won't become a book, that it will end up as a partially complete book, lurking on my hard drive, haunting me for years.

Job stress continues. At some point, the deadlines will be past, and then presumably the stress will be over. I don't know for sure. I haven't been working for this company long enough to have a handle on such things yet.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006


Since every other blogger tries to come up with an ambiguous title for each blog post, I thought I'd better do the same.

Just over 900 words tonight. Not great, but not bad. I've been working on what had been a plot blockage, that was solved by Mitch Wagner's excellent suggestion. So progress is being made.

Lots of stress and extra work connected with the day job right now, which doesn't help with writing fiction. No doubt some writers react the other way to outside stress - by producing fiction at a furious pace, and benefiting from that emotionally. Unfortunately, I've never been like that. I need calm and peace and nice stuff. On the bright side, while I write, I've been listening to a classical music station in Johannesburg, South Africa over the Internet. That's the area I lived in before coming to the U.S., and it's nifty to hear that accent again and the local place names being mentioned. And to hear them pronounced correctly!

Another stress, and the explanation of this post's title, came from Google today. About a month ago, I signed up for Google ads and started adding the code to the pages of my Web site. That required much fiddling with the existing HTML and CSS to get the pages to look right with the ads added. The ads weren't earning much, but it was something, and it looked like it would cover my ISP bill, so it would be a net gain and would make all the work on the pages seem worthwhile in the long run. But today, I got e-mail from Google saying there had been invalid clicks on my page (implying that I've violated the user agreement by clicking on the ads myself, which I most certainly have not done), so they're killing my account. I appealed. They acted like Dubya Bush responding to an appeal from someone condemned to death when he was governor of Texas. I've been looking at posts online (in a Google group, ironically) from other people who've had the same thing happen to them. There are a lot of them.

Very upsetting.

The only revenge I can think of it to write a bestseller. Then they'll be sorry. Well, no, they won't care. But I won't care about them, either. I suspect that having a bestseller cures a lot of ills.

Saturday, September 23, 2006


Why don't bloggers have links on their blogs that make it easy for people to spread the word about their blogs? I've been putting such a link on every page on my Web site for quite some time, and it's not uncommon on Web sites in general, but I don't see that in blogs. This blog has such a link now.

I've also added a link to Monkeys In My Pants, the blog of Mitch Wagner, a writer who makes his living as a computer journalist. I've known Mitch online for ages, but we've never met in the flesh - a phenomenon that seems to be very common in the modern world, thanks to the wonders of the InterWeb.

In a comment, Mitch handily solved the plot problem I was whining about in yesterday's post. In spite of that, I want to add something to that post. I had meant to include this at the time but forgot.

This plot trickiness of getting a character into a place that's difficult to get into doesn't seem to bother TV script writers at all. They just have the character appear where the plot requires him to be, wearing the appropriate costume or uniform, accepted by all the secondary characters as someone who should be there. Oh, yeah, he's just another cop/doctor/teacher/government official/superduper scientist. Treat him the way you treat all the others of that kind. I'm usually grudgingly willing to accept that for the sake of enjoying the show, but it still annoys me. Maybe I'm annoyed because a prose writer can't get away with that and has to come up with something at least partly convincing. Or should, anyway.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Trees 'n' Time

Or Time 'n' Trees. Or Time-Traveling Trees. Trees through Time. Time and the Tree. I'm loopy.

I'm done with the Web site fixes. There's still work to be done, but it can wait. The stuff I felt was urgent is finished, and so am I, very much. Back to the book.

But first I took the time to put up this tribute to a tree we just lost: Big Beautiful Cottonwood.

The blue chunk that was facing me when I put the ms. aside deals with a time traveler from 2097 trying to insert herself into a top-secret research program around 1940. Think Manhattan Project, but private, and even more paranoid. The paranoia is the problem I have: how does she get in? I'm sure it was easier to get an ordinary job in 1940 than nowadays. Fewer checks, less concern with a paper trail, less obsession with credentials for most jobs, and so on. But the sort of place she's trying to crack is a different matter.

She's a science whiz by 2097 standards, so knowledge and ability aren't a problem. If anything, she'll have to be careful not to reveal that she knows the solution to the big problem the secret project is working on. But despite her qualifications, she can't walk up to the front gate and ask for a job. They would want a paper trail. They're also wacko killers.

So either she'll have to jump back far enough to establish a paper trail, which will slow things down badly, or I'll have to come up with some convincing scam for her to use. I'm not good at scams in real life or my fiction, and this character is not good at them, either.

I suppose all of this is why I convinced myself that that Web work simply had to be done right now.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


I'm still spending my spare hours cleaning up my Web site. I've been adding pages to it for years, thinking I was being consistent and careful, but apparently I was kidding myself. Many of the problems stem from the way I've changed my Web-creation style over the years. It'll be worth the trouble, I hope.

It's a useful break because I'm confronting a couple of plot problems in Time and the Soldier that I'd been putting off dealing with. Now I've reached the point where I have to deal with them. So I need to think about what to do rather than concentrate on producing words.

That sounds very convincing!

Today, in an online forum, I saw a NY editor refer to me as "a minor pro." Ouch.

I have no illusions that I'm a major pro. The description is accurate, and it's better than being referred to as "Who he?" or "Liberal Loon Toon Kook." Still, next year will mark 30 years since my first novel was published, and after 17 books, it's painful to be reminded that all that has added up to is being a minor pro.

But I must take away the lesson that I need to concentrate all the more on the current novel, the one that will take off like a rocket and bring me fame and fortune! Yes! And if it doesn't, then the next one will! Woo hoo!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Trollope didn't have a Web site to maintain, either. (Gee, I'm getting defensive.)

I was looking at stuff on my Web site and found numerous pages that were in need of major fixing, so I've been doing that instead of working on Time and the Soldier.

As it happens, in my day job, which is nominally tech writing, I've been spending a lot of time lately fixing up HTML pages, including adding some nifty JavaScript. I do enjoy that so much more than writing instructions about doing this or that. So I've been doing that kind of work all day, and then I'll be doing hours more of it in the evening. Life can be a bit odd.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Around 1800 words tonight, which is pretty good for one evening but not all that good given that I didn't write the two previous nights. I was working late because of a deadline at my paying job, and then I spent my free time vegging out in front of the TV as a way of recovering. That actually makes sense because the shows I was vegging out to were Eureka (science fiction) on Tuesday night and Blade (vampires) on Wednesday night. Recharging my batteries, you see.

I also hit the stationary bicycle last night. I need to hit it more often. It must have been resentful at being neglected, because in the middle of the night, it hit back with a really, really bad cramp in one of my thigh muscles. I know that I need aerobic exercise and mustn't limit myself to lifting weights, but, sigh, I enjoy lifting weights and I hate aerobic exercise and always have. It's like taking an awful-tasting medicine that you know is good for you, but it still tastes awful.

The blue chunk I eliminated tonight was another important section that I was a bit hesitant about attacking, but I think it worked out well. There are some nity (well, I think so) repetitions of scenes and themes covered earlier from a different pov. Tommy has gone back in time and manipulated the events that were described earlier from another pov, including his own earlier one. I'll admit upfront that there's an echo of the Back to the Future movies. I loved those movies, thought they were brilliantly done as well as very funny. Of course, there's nothing funny in Time and the Soldier. Just war and death and gore and violence. And a bit of sex.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Liberal Loon Toon Kook

That's me!

This isn't the type of blog where I would normally post something like this, but I thought it was such a hoot that I couldn't resist:

Monday, September 11, 2006

I think Trollope wrote his novels sequentially, so measuring his progress by the number of pages per week made more sense for him than for me. I think that's almost convincing.

Only two or three hundred words tonight. Again, I was focusing on getting rid of small chunks of notes in blue, rather than writing a large section. I think I'm coasting downhill toward the finish on this book, at last - and rather to my surprise, because I had been thinking I was only in the molasses middle.

My intention has been to balance having lots of nitty-gritty detail in order to make the made-up setting real (a particular necessity with time-travel and alternate-history novels, I think) with giving the reader a dreamy and detached feeling. On rereading, last night and tonight, I decided that, in the interests of the dreaminess thing, some of the sections I had yet to write and thought would be very long would be better handled in brief, with those parts of the story told by hinting and implying. I'm not sure whether I'm being terribly artistic or just very lazy.

I've always had a terrible memory. Of course, it hasn't improved as I've aged. I'm finding notes in one part of the manuscript instructing myself to be sure to take care of some crucial detail, but the crucial detail is already taken care of in detail in some other part of the manuscript. Or the whole thing is repeated in another note somewhere else. This isn't due only to my awful memory but also to this novel having an intricate plot and there having been gaps of years when I wasn't working on it. Sometimes I'm afraid that I'll finish the book and sell it and it will be published and years from now someone will come up to me at a science-fiction convention and point to some really stupid contradiction in the plot that destroys the entire novel. Of course, I'll have to kill him.

I'm also experiencing something on rereading that I've experienced with previous novels. While I'm writing, what I'm producing seems much too light on action and much too heavy on introspection and psychological stuff and slow, quiet, thoughtful dialog. When I reread the book, it seems the opposite -- lots of movement and brief exchanges between characters who are rushing around excessively.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Not much in the way of words, so I won't record the pitiful number, but it wasn't a word-producing kind of day. I'm still looking for blue bits and getting rid of them, and it's feeling very much like a book at last.

One pleasant surprise concerned a scene I wrote a year or two ago and remember having a tough time with. At some later point, I reread it and added a blue note to myself that the scene was garbage and needed to be chucked and completely rewritten, in some undefined way that I wasn't kind enough to describe to myself in detail. Reading it again tonight, I decided that it's excellent as it stands, so instead of chucking the scene, I chucked the blue note. Take that! Whadda you know?

One curious thing I've noticed over the years, and I noticed it again tonight, is that when I reread material long after originally writing it, I can't see a difference between sections that flowed easily while I was writing them and sections that flowed like cold molasses. Fortunately, the ones the writing of which was labored aren't laborious to read. But perhaps I'm kidding myself.

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.

Friday, September 08, 2006

1300 words, and if I do say so myself, they're really good words. Or I suppose I should say, they're common words but put together in a really good way. I've put Tommy through his most emotionally wrenching experience in the story, and now it's on to more plotty stuff - blood, gore, explosions, and maybe some sex.

What was particularly nice about tonight's session was that I finally got into the flow again, the swing of writing. The words came tumbling out. Luckily, my computer caught them. That's the most enjoyable way to write, as surely every writer must feel.

I said a few posts ago that I tend to write excessively detailed outlines for my novels and then write different sections of the book based on that outline. I jump around in the book, writing this part or that part, rather than doing it linearly from start to finish. When I first started writing novels, I did write them from start to finish, and that was exhilarating as what was going to happen next kept coming as an exciting revelation. It also resulted in messy plot problems that I had to fix up during endless rewriting - on a portable manual typewriter, on a small desk where the typewriter sat on a flimsy swing-out shelf that I had to support with my knee. Oh, how I've suffered for my art!

The method I use now means that I feel pressured to get the story written, the details of who goes where and does what with or to whom. The first draft tends to have all of that in place but lacks color, emotion, sensory impressions - the depth and texture that make scenes come alive. I try to add that during the rewriting.

The late, great science-fiction and fantasy writer, Poul Anderson, said something like (and I wish I could remember the quotation exactly), "Remember that the reader has five senses, and try to appeal to at least four of them in each scene." Or did he say "five senses, at least"? He seems to have a bit of the mystical touch about him. Sometimes, in Anderson's fiction, you can see the writer working deliberately and consciously at that. You can tell where Anderson told himself, "Oops, missed a couple of senses in that scene. Better add some sounds and smells." In spite of that, his fiction does come alive in a very sensual way, as in sensory.

I've never felt that my writing has enough of that in it, and I keep trying to remember that rule while rewriting. Unfortunately, I have a rotten memory.

When I decided to start this blog, I told myself that it was a frightfully clever idea, and that I was a frightfully clever fellow to have come up with it. For surely no one else in the entire world has ever done anything like this! Ho, ho. Google has cured me of that delusion. I'm a Johnny-come-lately.

Some of the other writerly blogs I've come across are blogs that are written by writers. I.e., they're fairly general blog-type blogs, albeit with more of a writerly tilt than the average blogs. But some do seem to be very specifically focused on the blogger's writing, and often that means fiction. It would be nice if some of the other writers who have blogs that are in some way similar to this visited here and, if they liked what they saw, offered to exchange links. The links to the right are rather limited right now. In fact, there's just one of them, and it's a link to a page on my own Web site.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Zero writing today, but that's because I had e-mail to catch up on and a recorded TV show I want to watch tonight, so I'm giving myself a break.

I'm telling myself that writing is like lifting weights. An occasional break from the routine is actually beneficial. Lets the muscles/brain recuperate so that one can then go on to even greater heights of muscle/book building.

That almost makes sense.

Trollope would have sneered, assuming he did sneer, but gentlemen in his day didn't lift weights, so what did he know? Anyway, I just reread the quote, and he refers to a week passed with an insufficient number of pages, not a day. That's very sensible. Maybe he gave himself days off, too. Surely he did. He must have. He was prolific and disciplined but also very human, after all.

There. I've talked myself into it. Today is not an eye-blister day.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Another 1,000 words. Not bad. Slow and steady wins the race. Of course, it's not the slow part that's hard, it's the steady part.

This book may not end up being 200,000 words long, after all. Could be closer to 150,000 words. But there's no point in thinking about that at this stage.

I'm in the midst of another plot-crucial scene. Tommy has to convince Frank and Ellen of some rather improbable things. So far, he hasn't even convinced me. He'd better improve his spiel pretty damned quickly. Get with it, Tommy.

I can't threaten to bump him off if he's not glib enough. He's the soldier in the book's title. There were supposed to be three equal protagonists, Frank and Ellen being the other two, but Tommy took over. I think it's always hard for a novelist to avoid having one character become the true or main protagonist. In the book after the next one, I hope to pull that off, but I shouldn't let myself think that far ahead.

Time-travel novels are as tricky as mystery novels in at least one respect, I'm finding out. When I wrote my only straight mystery novel, The Cavaradossi Killings, I had to be sure I had figured out in detail what had really happened and which character knew what part of what had really happened. Also, when - at what point in the story - each character knew it. In this time-travel novel, with characters bouncing backwards and forwards in time, it's important not to have a character display knowledge of some past event that he hasn't yet lived through(!). Slightly mind bending.

(As it happens, the first mystery novel I wrote was a Sherlock Holmes pastiche, Time for Sherlock Holmes, that also involved time travel, but that was really an adventure story, and everyone moved forward through time, although at different rates, so I didn't have to deal with these complications.)

Continuity errors. You see them in movies and occasionally in books. Last weekend, I was exercising to an old alien-invasion movie, Strange Invaders, being shown on TV. It was an embarrassingly bad movie in various ways, albeit suitable for lifting weights to (one doesn't want one's mind too fully engaged while lifting weights), but one thing that made me laugh out loud was how the hero's gun kept changing randomly from snub-nosed revolver to long-barrel automatic. Did the movie makers really think the audience wouldn't notice? Or did they just not care?

My own encounter with the continuity error problem came while I was writing my second novel, The Green God. I wrote it on a portable manual typewriter, so making major changes was an awful chore. While I was rereading the manuscript, I realized that I had written whole chunks centering on an important secondary character whom I had killed off a few chapters earlier. I should have rewritten or eliminated those chunks in which he starred after having been killed, but instead I manufactured some reason why he hadn't really been killed, after all. Which is to say that instead of practising artistic integrity, I thought about the effort it would take to retype all those pages and rejigger the plot, and I cheated.

Oh, I'm so glad that we have computers! Writers can still cheat, but at least it's easier to search the whole manuscript and find every place a minor character appears, for example. In general, computers make fiction more flexible, more plastic. They eliminate yet another barrier between the writer's mind and the story.

Why does any writer reject the use of computers? Some do. Some even reject typewriters and write by hand. Why don't they go back to clay tablets and cuneiform? Or scratch their stories in pictographs on cave walls? Weird people.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Only 500 words today. Not quite blister-to-my-eye territory, but moving in that direction. That's only two standard manuscript pages. Also, if one extrapolates from yesterday, tomorrow I'll do 250 words, then 125, etc. Finally the day will come when I'll manage only a puncutation mark.

Actually, it was a good day because I plunged into a scene which is pivotal, both in terms of plot and the moral/philosophical crux of the story, which is what the working title, Time and the Soldier, refers to. I'm feeling involved again with the story and the characters, which is certainly a good thing. I had been away from the book for too long, and I had lost that connection.

I have an absurdly long and detailed outline for this book. I tend to do that with my novels. That lets me write different scenes or sections independently, in theory whittling away at the unwritten parts bit by bit until - behold! - the first draft is done. Sometimes, in practice, the unwritten bits prove to be very difficult to whittle away at, so it's always nice to start working on one of them and find that it's alive and real and begging me to flesh it out and put into words something that, in some sense, already exists in some other place.

A while ago, I wrote an essay on my Web site, here, trying to pin that phenomenon (the concept becoming real through words) down for myself. Writing that essay was interesting, but it doesn't compare to doing the thing itself, making the idea or concept into a story and characters embodied in words. Nifty!

Not really relevant, but I just remembered that years ago I was telling a friend that I had just signed a contract to write a vampire novel, and the contract specified that the book would be approximately 100,000 words. His eyes widened. "100,000 words!" "Oh," I said, "they don't have to be 100,000 different words. I'm allowed to reuse them."

I get a lot of mileage out of he and she and said and and . . .

Monday, September 04, 2006

So far, this is actually working.

I did just over a thousand words today. On the one hand, that's only 1% of what remains on the way to a first draft, and given that I had today off, I should have done more. On the other hand, I felt like really taking the day off and doing nothing, but thinking about this blog sitting here made me feel guilty and so I wrote.

Also, I got past a scene that had been hanging me up rather badly. The final result may not stand as it is. It probalby won't; I'll probably change it considerably when I revise the manuscript. However, that's always been easier - and more satisfying - to me than the initial writing. So I got some momentum going.

It's 1945, and the character Frank Anderson just recruited the first member for the group he's trying to establish to help oppose the organization that is secretly trying to control the governments of the world. Little does he know . . .

I'm afraid that if I say more than that, the story - which is really serious, deep, thoughtful, philosophical, psychological, and other good stuff - will sound like a time-travel version of a TV soap opera, which I imagine might read something like this:

    While Brock rushes to the Battle of Hastings in a desperate attempt to rescue Jewell from the temporal kidnappers, Glory discovers that Slade did not die in the Zeppelin crash in 1916, after all.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

In his posthumously published autobiography, Anthony Trollope described the discipline he imposed upon himself when writing:

    When I have commenced a new book, I have always prepared a diary, divided into weeks, and carried it on for the period which I have allowed myself for the completion of the work. In this I have entered, day by day, the number of pages I have written, so that if at any time I have slipped into idleness for a day or two, the record of that idleness has been there, staring me in the face, and demanding of me increased labour, so that the deficiency might be supplied. According to the circumstances of the time,--whether my other business might be then heavy or light, or whether the book which I was writing was or was not wanted with speed,--I have allotted myself so many pages a week. The average number has been about 40. It has been placed as low as 20, and has risen to 112. ... There has ever been the record before me, and a week passed with an insufficient number of pages has been a blister to my eye, and a month so disgraced would have been a sorrow to my heart.

I read his autobigraphy years ago, and that passage, and in particular the phrase "a blister to my eye" (ouch!), has stuck with me. I've never kept a writing journal, but I'm sorry to say that if I had, there would be many a page of it that would be a blister to my eye.

Currently, I'm working on a rather large time-travel novel. By "large" I mean that, not only does the plot cover lots of time and space and deal with large issues, but also it's up to about 100,000 words and is probably only half done. For me, that's fairly large. I'm not sure what the longest of my published novels is so far, but I don't think that any of them is over 125,000 words. (They're all listed on this page on my Web site.)

The plot of this novel is turning out to be trickier and more complex in various ways than I originally intended - so much so that it's having a daunting effect. I started it, I think, about ten years ago. I've nibbled away at during that time, constantly putting it aside to work on other books. Now I'm determined to stick with it and press through to the end. I probably should add that for me, the midpoint of a novel is almost always the hardest point. I should be able to tell myself that I'm at the peak of the hill and it's easy coasting from here, but instead the peak seems ever further away, and the effort to get there seems overwhelming.

So I decided to try keeping a journal, but not a written account of how many words or pages I wrote today, or at least not just that. That sort of detail is good and important because of the blister-to-my-eye effect, but I also want to be able to ramble a bit about the specifics of the day's writing, about the plot problems encountered or solved, about the interesting and unanticipated developments in various characters.

Why not just do all of that in a private place where only I can see it? Why a blog?

Well, first, blogs are cool and I've long wanted an excuse to have one. But I wanted one with some sort of substance, or at least the appearance of substance. At the same time, I'm lazy. I don't want to maintain a blog that requires some kind of investigation or effort on my part. But there is one subject on which I am the world's foremost expert: the inadequacy of the number of words David Dvorkin wrote today.

Secondly, if no one else ever reads this blog, as I suppose is the case with the vast majority of blogs, then this is equivalent to writing all of this in a private place where only I can see it. On the other hand, if other people do read it, and especially if they're interested enough to comment, then not only will not having written be a blister to my eye, it'll also be embarrassing to the point of humiliation. And thus, I hope, this will make me pound out those time-traveling words.

If this blog continues, instead of fading away quickly, then eventually I'll have finished the time-travel novel. Next on my schedule is a horror novel, and I'll blog the progress on that one.