Writing Process: No More Speechifying

I have a tendency towards giving my characters speeches, or speechifying, as Tommy calls it. And it’s no good. It slows the narrative and, in the end, offers very little about the character. It’s really just me using them for my soapbox.

“To the mighty and fine Apollo.” Fitz raised his glass. “I look out at that river of ice out your backyard and think about those giants of millennials ago pushed off into the Davis Strait and into the great Atlantic, some of them the size of city blocks, whole towns, buildings and all, tankers, battleships, luxury liners, the works. They’re an impressive fleet, an impenetrable flotilla at the outset, only to gradually break apart, one from the other, going out into the bay, the strait, the ocean, down past Twillin’. But then they all come apart, not just one from the other, but the thing from itself. These mighty giants go out on their quest, out into the great unknown, just to dissolve, become bits and pieces, and then the water, gone like that. Seems to me that they might have a fate more suitable than that.” He opened another beer. “We’ll have another drink with you, and then we’ll be off.”

Writing Process: Knowing the Story

You think you know something and then you don’t. All stories are only that. He wakes up to some party or hands held out and then he has to do something alone not because he believes in life or strength but because he was lost.

It is as simple as sitting on the fire escape or the corner that he knows and remembering that no one was there for him but paid for her mistakes. She tried. Or she didn’t. But he just has to carry on and become something new from that.

Writing Process: At a Loss. And Then What?

I am coming to the end of Anori, Draft #5, a process that has taken ten months. I have had some satisfying moments – tightening up narrative, deleting unnecessary characters and scenes, building the arc and all of that – but it feels almost pointless in the end.

I will be hiring an editor once again. I will see what advice is there to get this thing published. After all, it has been some eight years since I started. It was called The Ark, and it seemed so remarkable to me at that time. It feels more a cage now, with Dee and the others just screaming to get out.

Writing Sex

The feeling came into Dee, a distant tremor, hardly there, and then deep and she held it long, making it straight, more fully inside, her truth in this raw pleasure. She dug into the bull-man’s shoulders, pulled on his arms, incredibly, childishly on that.

She held on and then didn’t, succumbing, sliding off, her chin jutting into her chest, all of that streaming out of her, jerking her hips up, thinking if she stayed still, she might climb back into that perfectness again

Pandemic Accomplishments: Final Edition?

With the pandemic winding down in New York, I thought It time to offer a final list of Pandemic Accomplishments.

Most importantly for me, I completed the final draft of Anori (well, almost).

Soon to be sent off for another professional edit

I applied for 80+ jobs across America (including Atlanta, San Francisco, Boston and New York, Europe (London, Lisbon, Salzburg, Rome, Zurich, Paris and Barcelona to name a few) as well as Kathmandu. Still looking. Hmm.

I travelled to Maine, Oregon, California, Rhode Island and Martha’s Vineyard.

Sunrise view in Maine

I raised the daily visits for this blog from 30+ views per day to 150+ views per day.

I had both of my knees replaced, had nine Covid-19 tests and was vaccinated.

Those empty train days

I have basically kicked my Fishdom addiction after reaching Level 2865. Although I might check in again one of these days.

Editing the Gangly Bits: Writing Process

I had a scene with some real problems. The background information was heavily front-loaded, and it was repetitious and awkward and gangly and sputtering and bad.

And so I hacked it up, rendered it down, patched it to another equally sputtering bad thing, did some cauterizing and cutting again and thought I was on the way to something new.

Silhouetted rocks on Oregon coast

But it had become a bald thing, nothing in it, the description and progression and dialogue trimmed to nothing, the conclusion non-existent. And so I started to write it all over again.

Exorcising Peach: Writing Process

I was 14 years old and in love with Peach Harper, a divinely beautiful blonde with blue eyes and golden skin. I obsessed over how to express my undying love for her and managed to convince her to come to a tiny log cabin I had built. (This is all true.)

Ahmic Lake cabin built by McPhedran in 1979.

I had lied to get her out there, telling her that I secretly wanted to be her, a painfully stupid ruse. I wanted to kiss her, and that was it. And maybe touch her golden skin and float off into Nirvana, if possible. Anyway, she was actually the one who asked me if I wanted to kiss her. I closed my eyes and leaned into her and kissed her…somewhere on the chin.

My mother chose that moment to arrive in her green tattered bathrobe and escort Peach away. I blubbered and gestured stupidly, realizing the glittering moment had passed. I had completely panicked and missed those velvety lips.

Everything went downhill from there. Peach met another boy who she brought to my party and went off into the woods to make out. I offered my hand to her when she came back and pushed her down the hill. I was furious at her betrayal – even if the truth was that she had wanted to kiss me and I had fucked all of that up.

I invested everything in Peach, had written letter after letter over an entire year and even bought her a Hotel California T-shirt on her birthday. And when the moment came, I was an abject failure. I cannot let that die. This might explain my habit to hide in my words and obfuscate my life. I am afraid to expose myself for the loser that I am. Oh, Peach, where are you now?

The Goldilocks Frequency in The Writing Process

“Thanks much” or “Much thanks“? I go back and forth between what Tony would say. I am never happy with either and continue the fruitless search through “Many thanks”, “So Much Thanks”, “Thanks As Always” or even “Kind of you”, until I end up back where I started. “Thanks much”.

Tony says things to get attention and pretends that he doesn’t. He mutters and stutters, his face forward to be listened to and then acts as if he doesn’t want anyone to hear. It’s a question of not overdoing that about Tony. Too much it’s caricature; not enough it’s obtuse. I need the Goldilocks frequency for this phrase.

The Cx Trilogy: The Book That Will Get Humanity Back On Track

As crazed as it sounds, that my deep-down aim for The Cx Trilogy. I can feel like I am insane not because I am but because of the insanity to which I am subjected. And so it’s not a burden as a release knowing these things, getting them out of my head so that I can help us get on with it and make things as they should have been a long time ago.

Fallen Greek columns in Termessos, Turkey

Get one with what, you ask? Why, treating people like shit because they don’t have power. It’s that simple. And it’s something we should have figured out a while ago, the 9th century at least. (Fuck all those plague/dark age excuses.) Okay, maybe the 15th century. But the 21st?!? Come on! How many chances can we miss? Allowing Hitler on the scene and then Trump and all of the other fuckers in between? Huh? What? And now we think we are close to being on track for what? Acceptance? Understanding? For anything other than obliteration? That’s just dumb and weird.

Inflatable Christmas penguins at The Brooklyn Navy Yard

Anyway, the book, yes, that, getting humanity back on track. It’s actually about leaving this planet on an generational journey to a distant planet to start anew. And it’s got everything in it: sex, exotic cats, epic action and deep fucking thoughts. And I aim to have it out for you by the end of the year. (If we make it.)