Monday, February 15, 2010

How long does it take to write a book…

Around Christmas, I got this idea for a book. I’d been writing plays like crazy – what was the final tally? around five or six? – so I questioned the wisdom of returning to long-form writing. But the thing was this: I’d been writing plays so fast, I couldn’t process them fast enough to try and sell them. I was creating a back-log of plays that were just sitting there, unread, unseen… until who knew when…

With the holiday passed, I told Vicky right around New Year’s Eve that I would next write a book. (She might remember it slightly differently – cause I’m old and stupid.) At first, making the switch from plays to novels was uncomfortable. In a play, you just write dialogue, which is easy for me. But in a novel, you paint the entire landscape and I always have a problem with details. But around January 15th, I was able to update my Facebook status quite happily with the news that I had completed one-third of the new novel, which I decided to call The Wrong Magic. The Wrong Magic is about a couple with no magic in their relationship who find that even the wrong magic is better than none at all. But more on that later.

With one month between January 15th and today, I actually completed the other two-thirds of the book, finishing it last night. A month and a half to complete a book is pretty astonishing. I chalk it up to having lots of free time, of course.

The Wrong Magic is the kind of book I’ve been shooting for for many years now. Very marketable, it is movie-ready right out of the gate. You could film it as a summer rom-com with B-list actors and make a decent return without too much work. It is full of whimsy and romance and comedy and drama; I’m almost tempted to say all the books before it let me to this… but it was also pretty random.

What’s next? Well, after I step back from it for a bit to get a little perspective, I’ll dive back in and go through my re-writing process. Since I do so much tweaking as I write, re-writing is a fairly painless process. Mostly, it’s about inserting all the crap I usually forget to include: details. What did the house look like? What did they eat? What were they wearing? As I said, I write dialogue very easily and sometimes I forget to do the rest. So, I’ve basically built a process that addresses my weaknesses.

After that, Vicky will proof it and also be my first reader. How long it takes her to proof the book will also tell me how good it is. For instance, Daughter of a One-Armed Man took Vicky nearly a year to proof – that was pretty damned frustrating, let me tell you! On the other hand, she proofed Last Ditch in about a month because she couldn’t put it down.

All told, I’m looking to start submitting this and trying to sell it in April, if everything works out right. We’ll see.

In the meantime, I’m going to back to plays because I like being ambidextrous in a way…

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Segregate moments…

That’s how I like to write blog entries, as moments segregated from the rest as in a theme…

Not this time.

The fact is I have no news whatsoever and yet find it awfully silly that I have a blog with no entries. So, fuck it. Let’s go potluck!

I’ve been having some very strange health problems of late. First, it was my left arm. Now, it’s my right arm. Pain and tingling all up and down. I thought I was having a heart attack from all the stress I’ve been under but then several days passed so I ruled that out. Back in the early 90’s, I experienced a similar condition and my doctor fixed it with anti-inflammatory medication and a neck brace. (Cervical spine compression caused by stress, Old Doc Ken says.) I still have the neck brace. (Who’s a packrat?!) So, I tried that. And it helped. But it’s not helping so much for the right arm… dammit…

What’s to be stressed about? Well, I’ve almost run out of unemployment benefits. How’s that? We’re waiting to see if I can get an extension but news on that is like women who want to fuck so… sorry, that was inappropriate. I’m stressed. I can’t find a job and, believe me, I’ve tried. After working my ass off to make a career out of writing, it’s all circling the drain. Fuck.

What else?

Oh, here’s one I know you’ll enjoy. I had some short plays read at the meeting of a local playwriting group. And they were met fairly universally with disdain and derisive comments. I suck, was the general consensus. Really put me in my place. Fucking good for them. I’ve checked my readership recently and found that a certain someone still reads – and I’m pretty sure that made it all worthwhile.



Can’t find a job. All my plans are crashing down around me. I’m having health problems. Fucking Terrific.

See. There was a theme.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Where I’ve been lately…

Has anyone noticed how “early 21st century” blogs have become. I think that’s because it’s just so much easier for me to update my Facebook page with something like “Halfway done with the new book” than to actually write something substantive on my blog… or my other blog…

By the way, I’m halfway done with the new book.

That’s where I’ve been lately. Planted in front of my keyboard. During the day, I hit the submissions are hard as I can. Then, at night, I try to hammer out a couple thousand words on the new book. The job search stinks so this is my Plan B, if you will.

Nothing new to report, really. Just plugging away and hoping for the best.