Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Writing Fiction

Finally, I'm writing again. I've not written any fiction, or rather, I've not worked on anything serious, in about four months. I've fooled around with some stories, but ever since I decided to shelve the recent WIP, I've been spending a lot of time doing research. The new story has some major plot elements that I knew nothing useful about. I've been researching how our Port Authority works, and I'm starting to look into Asian business culture, particularly South Korea. I don't have to become an expert on these matters, but I have to know enough to write with realistic detail where it's needed for the scenes and to give verisimilitude to the plot.

I've had plenty of time in the last four months to plot and scheme and develop characters. Seven hours of highway time once a week was great for playing around with ideas, working them through, scribbling them onto a notepad as I barreled down the highway at 80 mph.

Now that I'm actually writing, starting out on a new story that will hopefully be around 80K words when finished, it feels like sitting down to dinner with an old friend that you haven't seen in too long.

How you doing, Blank Page? Let's reacquaint ourselves.

I don't know yet if I'm starting at the beginning of the story or not, I'm not worried about that right now. I've got a destination in mind this time, and I'll enjoy the journey. I'm sure it will take me to some unexpected places, and I'm looking forward to it. I love the journey. My last WIP didn't wind up anyplace exciting, but the journey was worthwhile and certainly I developed my skills. Writing in first person POV was an interesting excercise, though I'm writing this one in close third. Third gives the opportunity to develop tension in different ways. I think it will work better for this story. It will have a thriller edge to it, though it's still a quest-type mystery.

I read one of Jason Pinter's novels recently, The Stolen, his third one, I believe. I haven't read the first two, so I don't know if they're written in the same style, but he alternates between first person POV for his MC, and third person for other people. It was effective in that it allowed him to develop tension by letting the reader in on what the other characters were doing while keeping the MC in the dark. I've thought about doing this, but I was afraid it might be viewed by editors as a cheap way to create tension, kind of cheating, in a sense. Shows what I know. Pinter got away with it, so I guess it's a legitimate strategy.

If you want some exciting news, check out Stuart Neville's blog here Conduit. What an exciting adventure Stuart is living right now. It gives hope to all of us.

Thursday, October 02, 2008


It's been a while since my last post, and many things have changed.

My father passed away two weeks ago.

I'm not going to tell a sad story, and this isn't a tribute post. I said the eulogy and that was hard enough; I'm not up for a tribute at this time. There are better ways to honor him.

In addition to the grief that everyone feels when they lose a loved one, there's also a strange feeling when both parents are gone. Kind of a detached feeling, like the last thread to your childhood is finally severed. I mean, I've been an adult for at least five or six years now, but when my parents were alive, I was still someone's kid. And there was some security in that. But now, the last vestige of that childhood security is vanished and it feels weird.

I have some big decisions to make. Normally, when I make big decisions I consult my father. I didn't always heed his advice. In fact, many times I didn't. Funny thing though; the older I grew, the more often I found myself agreeing with him. But, either way, I asked and listened to what he said. Now, that voice, the voice that was usually right whether I wanted it to be or not, is no longer audible. I have to seek to hear it in other ways.

And I think I do hear his voice. Not, like, in a crazy way. But for instance, tonight I was thinking about a situation I'm dealing with and some decisions I need to make, and I've been working through this for a week or so. Out of the blue, an idea popped into my head. Do it this way.

It was a different angle, perfectly feasible, and relatively simple. I liked it. And then I thought about what my dad would say if I presented the idea to him. He'd probably say, "Why didn't you see that angle from the git go?"

I could hear him say it.

So, I'll check it out tomorrow, work it through and see if it makes as much sense in the morning as it makes right now.

I guess I'll get used to it, after a while. The detached feeling, that is, not the voices.

So now life goes on and I know how to honor both my parents. One day at a time.