Long Black Train

04 Nov

This post is in direct contrast to my last post, which was complaining gloomily about Rome. I’ve figured out what to do about Rome (write it steadily, but by hand. Takes longer, but gets there instead of failing).

THIS post is me talking about my first day writing The Nondescript.

Everything about this book has been a dream, even before I started writing it. My research was exciting and my dates worked perfectly. I needed certain things to be happening in October 1940 and, as it turned out, they happened in that month anyway. So I get my perfect story elements combined, along with accurate history.

(1940 was the first year the United States draft went into effect: It was also one of the final years of the privately owned carnivals moving around the country)

So the research goes perfectly. But even better, somewhere in there, I hit my crap threshold and said “***** it!” and am gleefully working on The Nondescript with no concern for how anyone likes it.

I don’t think the beginning has any discernible hook. It doesn’t have a really catchy opening line (although it does have a fun opening line). The paragraphs are thick and full of information. ALSO, and I really enjoy this, I decided that what the heck, I am in the novel as the narrator. I have a small line where, quietly, I just speak to the audience. They may not notice. But I noticed, and I wrote it anyway and like it. Problems with it? Well, they can go hang. I’m having fun.

Here’s my first paragraph, because even if it’s not catchy and even if it’s not the final first paragraph, I like it and it’s being kept.

To the red country of Oklahoma, the last rains had come gently and they had not cut the scarred earth. That had been during the summer months, when the days stretched on and on, the nights never cooled enough to matter, and the only relief was the falling rain. The ground never softened much and this year, it had been a bad year: The crops grew poorly in some places. Elsewhere, they did not grow at all. Farmers prayed for a great rain to bring their food back to life, else they would have nothing to eat, nothing to sell. And the great rains came, but they swept through in powerful storms, and cut down the crops or pounded them. The hard rains were the fists of giants. The hailstorms were the crushing heels of monsters.

So there you go. I’m writing this as confidently and comfortably and happily as any of my serial work. I’m writing it without fear and with the idea that I know exactly what I’m doing. This has been completely unheard of at any point prior in my novel work.

I’m an extremely happy camper right now. And I’m healthy again which means you kids best start writing faster, because I’m going to be catching you up. (Although my numbers on the chart for this week certainly do look abysmal…!)

Right, off to work some more. And spend a happy afternoon with my wife, and son, neither of whom work today.

Love, Pete!

ADDENDUM: I just had a plot breakthrough and realized who it is among my cast of characters who gets hanged later on, and it broke my heart when I knew who it was. It actually made me sad. This is very interesting. I don’t want it to happen now, even though it surely will, but actually going “Aw, damn it…” when the realization came to me is a new experience. The Nondescript is working, in my brain and heart, a lot differently than Rome did, or my other works. This may just be because I’m early into it (maybe I’ll hate it later), but I suppose we’ll see.


Posted by on November 4, 2007 in Uncategorized


8 responses to “Long Black Train

  1. tjwriter

    November 4, 2007 at 8:26 am

    Keep writing and keep being happy, Pete.

    I’m going to see if I can’t get something done. I just have this feeling that Sleeping Toddler will wake up as soon as I double click my WIP.

    Maybe I need tea.

  2. Pete Tzinski

    November 4, 2007 at 8:29 am

    Sleeping Infant also wakes up the moment I open the document. But since I don’t have Mother Genes, I don’t mind letting him fuss and jabber for a bit while I work. πŸ™‚

    You do need tea. Here, have some French Plum. This stuff is surprisingly good.

  3. tjwriter

    November 4, 2007 at 8:44 am

    I’ve already had my pot of coffee, but my head still hurts. I’m tired and I’m not feeling great. Not sick, but you can see my blog for details. I try to keep the majority of the moaning in one location.

    Unfortunately toddlers are mobile. Which means she’s trying to climb over the baby gate if I don’t fetch her within the standard alloted time frame she gives me. Which is usually something like 2 seconds. Plus she knows how to vary her volume and she’s good at it.

    Maybe some Peppermint tea will make me feel better. I think you should offer a tea education page on this blog, as I know nothing of tea.

  4. Pete Tzinski

    November 4, 2007 at 8:48 am

    (Don’t tempt me, I keep wanting to review teas as I try them, but don’t want to bore anyone)

    (You tempted me too much, end of November, a tea-geek page is SO going up)

    I saw your blog post, you poor dear. πŸ™‚ Peppermint tea should help!

    Or, you know what’s really good, if you have the time, inclination, and…er…no more life than I do? You make a mug of really good hot chocolate and a mug of peppermint tea. And either you sip off each, or you pour some of your peppermint tea INTO the hot chocolate. It doesn’t always mix well (sometimes it just wrecks both, it depends on the hot chocolate and the peppermint tea) but if it comes together right, it tastes delicious. Then, all you need is a roaring fire and to be eleven years old on Christmas Eve.


  5. tjwriter

    November 4, 2007 at 9:31 am

    Don’t worry, Pete, I’d read your dictionary of tea. Minty chocolate is also always good.

    Alas, I fixed my cup of tea and the toddler woke up as soon as I stuck the bag in the water. Never fails. The husband is also up, though he’s on the phone so I’m assuming he is leaving.

    I will be cleaning the house now so that it is presentable when company arrives. Perhaps I will be done by early afternoon.

  6. Arachne Jericho

    November 4, 2007 at 12:25 pm

    Yay Pete, on getting past writer’s block! And being healthy again.

    I could do a section on health teas.

    Ponder…. HEY! We could do a tea blog series!

  7. Pete Tzinski

    November 4, 2007 at 1:15 pm

    I have mentioned so many times, in passing conversations — online and in Meatspace — that I would love to do a Tea Blog…. πŸ™‚

  8. MidnightMuse

    November 4, 2007 at 3:27 pm

    Excellent idea, Pete, a Tea Blog ! I love trying new teas. Love, love, love them. And surprisingly, I’m also a coffee drinker. But tea – God, I do so love it. In fact, I had my own description of a tea, what it does for me, that I’m going to blog. It’s banging at the back of my head, but I’m trying to set it aside just for November. We’ll see.

    So happy to hear you’re banging out words now with gleeful abandon!


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