“Hello, this is maintenance. I’ll need to come by your place tomorrow, for repairs.”
“Er. Why? I don’t have anything broken, that I know of.”
“You have a leak in your master bathroom’s plumbing.”
“What? I do. Er. How do you know?”
“It’s leaking through the ceiling into the empty apartment below you.”
So cheerfully, a man with tools is coming by in a couple of hours. He declared, entirely nonchalant about it, that he’d need to “get inside the wall,” which I guess I knew (I watch Holmes on Homes obsessively, after all) but was hoping against. So while I’m sitting in my soundproofed little closet office, writing away, he’ll be a wall away from me, working on making it rather less than a wall away from me, if you see what I mean. I have no idea what he’s going to do, or how long it’ll take.
While I’m killing time and waiting for him to show up, I have a screaming baby (he’s got to move out eventually), and a headache and none of the mental clarity, or at least operational ability to write. So you get a miscellaneous blog post, instead.
Let’s see. I hope I’ve plugged it here before, but Fast Forward TV is the finest television show, of sorts, on science fiction going. I spend more time watching what are really terrific interviews with all manner of really fine authors. In particular, I recently showed off their Dr. Brian Jacques interview to Lori and Kristine, because he’s a delight to watch and listen to. Even if you don’t enjoy the Redwall books (you don’t? you must be mad), then you can’t help but be utterly charmed by him.
Tom Schaad conducts the interviews, and he does a marvelous job of being intelligent and insightful all by himself, whether he’s asking questions of Neil Gaiman or Gene Wolfe, or inserting brief questions into the slow drawl of Bill Gibson as he slowly, slowly, talks about the world and gets it all right.
Go there. Watch all the interviews. Feel pretty good about being a writer. I don’t mind telling you that if I wind up on that show, long-watching and the intellect of Tom Schaad will result in me being too intimidated to answer questions usefully. But what a great place to be unable to answer questions. So it’s either an aspiration, or a fear.
There. By the magic of the internet, it’s now twenty minutes later. I have a screaming baby on my lap, but no tea, so I’m not sure I’ve come out ahead of those twenty minutes at all.
I was utterly miserable staring at the Nondescript, which again seemed to be stretching on away from me. Then I fixed the problem, just that easily. I realized I was trying to expand little scenes that didn’t need it, and as a result, I was failing to move from point to point on my sheet of “scenes between now and the end of the novel,” and wasn’t getting anywhere. So I crunched up a scene (which was stumping me anyway, because I didn’t really have anything for it) and got on with my story. So now it’s rolling again. There’s still so much to do, but we’re about to find out who Charley is, and then we’ll meet Charley, and that really gets things properly accelerating toward my ending.
The other nice thing I’m noticing is that there are scenes missing and themes that are poorly constructed…but I’ve made notes of them in another sheet of paper, for my editing stage (not really a second draft, though I guess you can call it that. I really don’t second-draft much). It’s nice, I like having things mapped out for the edit stage. Add in those scenes, tighten up one theme and one character, and I think we’ll have a pretty decent book, if I do say so myself.
I’ve started writing The Neon God on paper, because I switched the Nondescript back to the computer (I think I mentioned that). Neon God is going okay. Not very fast, because I always stall out in the first chapter while I figure out 1) where the first chapter is going 2) where my entry point is 3) what I’m trying to say. So while I’m probably in no danger of cleaning up in the Penman Shipwreck, at least I’m getting some forward motion. That’s got to count for something. It’s just gotta…!
Word counts are the devil. I need to go into greater length on that topic, but it’s probably an article all by itself. Word counts are the absolute devil. Trust me.
Fried chicken for breakfast, although it doesn’t seem like it at first, is also the devil. And I don’t expect any sympathy here, probably just a chorus of “duh.”
That’s it. I’m out of stuff. Time for some tea, some breakfast, maybe an hour’s quiet before the kid gets woken up, and then maybe sometime this afternoon, I’ll try that writing lark for a bit.
How are you?