Category Archives: Writing Progress

Promotion & Relocation

Progress on the current manuscript is stalled because I’ve been promoted and am being relocated. I’m now a digital marketing manager at one of the top 50 “most innovative companies” as listed by Forbes (for the forth year in a row). So now my day job is filled with creativity and fun, and when I get home … I lack the energy to work on my fiction.

I’m okay with that, at least for the time being. My day job is rewarding enough. If someone offered a deal where I could give up my day job and write on my novels full time, I’d turn them down. Fiction writing is fun and all, but it’s not really that rewarding, and it’s a lonely process. There’s seldom if any immediate gratification to be had.

Day job: daily gratification. Constantly. And it pays really well.

I’ll continue plodding away on my current book, and I have two more I want to complete sometime within the next few years, and then… I’m good. I’m done.

At least that’s how I feel right now.

No Mercy

Working on A Wild and Untamed Thing

I’m well into the last quarter of this manuscript and it’s now time to mercilessly beat up on my main characters. It has to seem like there’s no way for the bad guy to lose.

No pain, no payoff.

Multi-Novel Plotting

I do have to say … writing three interconnected novels all at the same time is rather fun. In the later novels you get an inspiration that affects the other books, and since you haven’t published them yet, you can go in and make the appropriate changes … leaving all sorts of fun clues and foreshadowing that readers will scratch their heads at until they read the next book … and get that wonderful “Aha!” moment.

I also have to say that doing it without using something like Scrivener would have been rather difficult. Not impossible, but not as easy. You’d have to resort to the old fashion method of an entire wall of your abode used as a giant post-it note gallery, with yarn and pushpins to tie the various points together.

Come to think of it, that sounds like fun too.

I doubt my landlord would appreciate 10,000 push-pin holes in one of the main walls of my apartment, though.

Sasquatch Village

It’s just after 9 PM and I’m staring at my manuscript while listening to rain pattering on some metal part of my chimney. It tinkles, clinks, and clunks.

I’ve reached a stopping point, and need to ponder something.

In this part of the story I need to figure out exactly what a Sasquatch village would be like. The problem is in my minds eye, I keep seeing the Ewok village from Star Wars.

That is not what I want.

These creatures — at least, in my story — have long ago learned to live in such harmony with nature that the need for developing any kind of technology was unnecessary. They are the true shaman of the forest. I’m thinking that they don’t even need fire.

Would they build shelters? Or would they would live in giant burrows? I don’t see them living in trees because they share a common ancestor with bears, not apes. But does that mean they would live like bears? Not necessarily — we don’t live like monkeys.

This is where I need to simply go to bed and let my brain process it overnight. Tomorrow morning I hope I’ll know exactly how a Sasquatch village needs to be.

Villain Grandstanding

The villain in my current manuscript is grandstanding.

I am hesitant about this, but in the case of this story, I think it works. Plus we’re all conditioned to evildoers grandstanding during times when they think they’ve won – it’s in every single Bond movie, every single Star Wars movie, and I could make the argument you see it in Indiana Jones as well.

I’ve never done it before, so it feels like cheating. It feels like the villain is going, “Here, I’m going to dump some plot points on you.” But … if the character is truly an egomaniac (hell bent on taking over the world) and he thinks he’s in the right – to him, he’s not the evil one – his twisted sense of self righteousness is going to make him gloat over his win. In this case, though, instead of grandstanding before throwing the hero into a pool of laser-guided sharks, he is explaining that he’s won, and why he’s won, and why he’s going to let the hero live, and what exactly he’ll do to the hero if the villain ever sets eyes on him again. It all fits perfectly with the character, and so…

I’m going to let him do it.

Do you ever let your villains grandstand?

Break from novel, writing short story

I guess I jinxed myself with that last post about crossing the 50,000 word line on the manuscript. I’ve suddenly lost interest in it — again.

Time for a break. This morning I’m working on something I haven’t worked on for a long, long time … a short story.

I’m wondering if I can remember how to do it. Short stories and novels are two entirely different types of writing.

Happy Winter Solstice!

Today marks several things on my calendar. One of course is the turning of the days, as after today the nights will start shrinking and the days expanding. Don’t get me wrong, I love winter, but I also like warm days where the sun stays up longer and I can open all my windows without freezing into a solid block of ice.

Today is also the start of my long holiday vacation, during which I intend on doing a lot of work on my current manuscript. Yesterday was my actual official start of the vacation but you can probably guess what I did: work. I had a photo shoot in Chicago that needed to be done, as well as a time-lapse camera which had to be mounted and turned on to capture a project.

Time sensitive things wait for no vacation.

But today, on this chilly and ice-stormy Chicago Winter Solstice, I put another couple thousand words on the manuscript and slipped past the 50,000 word mark.

This novel, which I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, is tentatively titled “A Wild and Untamed Thing,” and is about a character named after my favorite cat, Wellington. In the story, he was born a kitten, but then changed to a human boy when only a few days old — so Wellington has grown up a human, but only externally. Internally he’s all mixed up — a magical chimera — something he’s had to run away and figure out on his own. Finally having come to grips with it, he returns to his home, a small coastal town deep in the heart of Humboldt County, California, surrounded by giant redwood trees, pot farms, witches, Sasquatch, and magic … to solve a mystery, and to heal some of the wounds he left.

One of which is his son, a black cat named Shadow born from a human mother, who from all outward appearances is a normal cat but internally has the brain and intelligence of a human.

Wellington’s nemesis in this, I think, is the most truly evil character I’ve ever worked on — and I can sum it up with this: I have never written a rape scene before, but in this manuscript, I’ve had to tackle it — and as ugly as that is, I made it even uglier. This guy is the worst of the worst, because he’s thoughtful, intelligent, and justifies it all to himself. He thinks he’s the good guy.

So, anyway, that’s what I’m doing on this winter solstice. What are you up to?