Writing In Public: Year 1, Month 1, Day 28

Friday

It was another day with my daughter, practicing letters and building a nap tent. While she was napping, I got some focused writing energy into Taxi Adventure. In the evening, we went to our usual Friday dinner restaurant, then I went to the side job for the last time for a while.

Writing

In the afternoon, I finished writing the scenes to complete the end of Taxi Adventure. It was challenging work because there were so many loose ends I wanted to tie off, and I wound up cutting and consolidating the information of several scenes, though it is not clear that that is the right thing to do. On one hand, the results seemed so inevitable or obvious that readers might chafe at a full scene to describe them. On the other hand, people read to spend time with characters, and cutting one of these scenes is removing time a reader could have spent basking in the glow with them. In the end, I have to go with what strikes my gut as the best balance, and in this case, less wound up being more.

I still have to go back through Taxi Adventure and remove the FIXME and CHECK notices and make the changes I listed to make the beginning chapters match the changes to the plot points I made in later chapters. That should take no more than a couple hours. I intended to do it when I returned from the side job, but I decided to let the story stew in my head for a few hours and tackle it tomorrow.

With all the cuts, the net words for the day wound up at only 900. I like to separate out the removed words and keep a clean count of new words, but I didn’t do that today. Nonetheless, to get to the end, I’ll take it.

What a good day!

What comes next

I want to build more momentum and skill before tackling my big series, but I don’t want to delay it long. I also have set a goal (that I have not been meeting) of releasing one new book every two weeks. So, I want to find a small project or two (or three) that I can finish in a week. Here are some candidates.

Threshold of Vengeance is one possibility. This got started decades ago as my first real attempt at a serious book. At the time, I was just writing into the dark, and the attempt fizzled out because I had no idea what I was doing. Lately, I have been rethinking the story, keeping the characters but changing the protagonist to Denis Grey, changing the plot to a murder mystery, and keeping the title and a few of the scenes (rewritten, of course) because that would feel like finally finishing the book, which would be cool. I really like my current vision for the book. My sense is that it will be fairly short, 50,000 words or so, and it feels like it would be quick and clean to write. Also, it has been coming into my brain a lot lately to talk to me, so it is a strong candidate for next.

Paper Cuts is another option. Also decades ago, this was my second real attempt at a serious book. Though I had a better idea of what it should be, with a cast of characters and a scenario to play with, I was still writing without an outline, and in retrospect it wasn’t very coherent. After I enlisted in the Army, I made a good attempt to finish it in the weeks before I left. I made great progress, pounding away on the story on my computer every night those last few weeks, but in the end I came up short, and what I did write was a meandering mess trying to figure out how to be a story. A few years ago I took it up again, intending to redraft as necessary and get it done, but I could not stay interested in the project. Something seemed off. Lately, I have liked the idea of changing the protagonist to be Denis Grey, and that idea has traction in my brain. He was my first choice for protagonist way back at the beginning, but I changed him to a minor role because he is a writer, and I thought stories about writers were lame. With Denis Grey back as the lead, however, the story comes together neatly. And, as you may have noticed from the previous paragraph, it becomes a nice series. I’d prefer to write the first book in a series first, so this project probably won’t come next. However, the outline is pretty complete, and that should make it go quicker, so maybe.

Spring Rains is yet another possibility. This one also goes back a long way. Back in 2005 I was writing a serial called Crusader (before the publisher literally disappeared), about a former Special Forces solider turned vigilante. The next year, I decided to write the origin story describing the events that first led this retired soldier to become a vigilante, and that became the novella Winter Kills, which was written as part of the 3-Day Novel contest over Labor Day weekend. I had planned to write another book to transition from the the activities of Winter Kills to the activity of the serial. The transition book would be called Spring Rains, and the serial stories would be modified into the next in the series, tentatively called Summer Storms. The plan didn’t work out, mostly because I lacked an understanding of what the story needed to do to work. Two things are different now that make this project possible. First, I understand how the story can say what it needs to say and still work as a solid story, and second, I have decided that modifying the serial for the summer novel is not a useful idea, and that leaves this story free to be whatever it wants to be. One reason I’d like to do this project next is that it’s been “coming soon” forever, and if I’m to be taken seriously, I need to keep my promises. Also, Labor Day weekend is coming again soon, and it would be neat to make it another 3-day novel. I could do it. Maybe I will.

I’ll make a decision soon.

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