clues at the scene

clues at the scene

Thursday, December 14, 2017


Left, a funerary urn from St. Columba's, Stewarton, East Aryshire. Photo courtesy Rosser1954 and hosted on wikicommons for the mere price of attribution.

Every image we craft in prose has a backstory.

We have to know it. It influences the behavior of the characters and the things about them. We authors know it.

The reader may discover bits and pieces but largely, the backstory is not for them.

My story tonight is all backstory so we'll parse it out in one decisive edit. There. Gone.

I have been left a fabulous hook from an unfinished tale.

Up to my efforts now.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Holiday Writing

At left, this evening's decadence: eggnog and rum. If you add enough rum you get that wonderful marbling effect.

I'm composing. I'm drafting. I'm writing.

He's how it works: I put my ass in a chair and I write.


Yes, there are lots of other distractions. No, I'm not responding to them.

Day job -- it's a good day job so there's that -- then gym, then a little household clearance, then library and desk.

I'm fixing old work. I'll looking at structure and twists and character development and changing those parts that have never quite worked.

There's a novel in the folder but through the holiday: short stories. 

Watch out. The body count is climbing.

The rum bottle is nervous it might be next.

Who can say?

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

First, Tell Yourself

At left, G. Lanting allows us the use of the road image for just the attribution. Thanks! Road image hosted on wikicommons.

This is the Old Strynefjell road in Norway. Good metaphor.

I have to tell myself the story before I can write it. I don't know all; but, I have a map: a vision.

I have a beginning, middle, and an end.

Projects I can see to completion have this map. Many of my still-wip projects did not and still do not have such defined elements.

I tell myself the story. I write a draft. I write another draft. The story becomes full, integrated, and comprehensible in the process.

Today, I picked up an incomplete project from the fall of '16 and in a revision, I managed to tell myself the story.

I've a map for the next one to compose now. I've characters and their traits. I have events and their meaning. I know the end. I know the killer. I even know the why.

It isn't important the reader know all those things even after finishing my tale.

It is important I know it before I compose the first full draft.

Feels better to me this way.

Might feel better for you.

Certainly it makes the hours in the composing mode much more enjoyable for me. It's easier for me to find the correct words when i know in advance what I want them to do for me.

Great looking road, eh?  I'm more a "drive along the valley floor" fellow than a "drive along the ridgeline" sort. 

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Stuffed and Trussed

At left, a copyright free image courtesy the Hassocks4589 as hosted on wikicommons. This was their Christmas turkey straight from the oven in 2006.

I'm writing tonight. It's a cool, calm evening and I'm at the desk finishing a story. Nice feeling (much better than finishing the run at the gym felt...).

My drafts are "stuffed." I've got lots of details and feelings and things I want to be important and little notes to myself and dialogue that is stilted but important so it stays and ...

It is stuffed.

Now, I know disciplined writers who have the core of their story in their first draft and that's it: the core. They add dialogue and characterization details and the environment later in successive drafts.

I wish them well.

I'd like to have the ability to stick "only" to the core plot events of the story.

I outline. I plan. I draw pictures. I draft.

And yet knowing how the story turns before I begin the composition does little to keep the first pass from being bloated and slightly over-done much like most Thanksgiving turkeys.

I don't even like turkey all that much. I'm a baron of beef or standing rib roast sort of fellow. I eat turkey for lunch every day because my metabolism has slowed to a glacial pace and it seems I can't eat anything but carrots and turkey-hummus roll-ups for lunch.

Come Thanksgiving, I can't wait for turkey. I bet you're the same way.

I'm embracing my bulging drafts. I'm looking on them as great starters for a pared down late-night meal of leftovers which -- in my experience -- becomes the best part of the show.

You've got a little cranberry dripping out the sandwich there ... too late. That should wash out. Oh, dry cleaning? Sorry. Gift giving opportunity for the rest of us then. You look like a medium extra-ink stained.

Over stuffed isn't a bad thing. Avoid dry and under seasoned; but, overstuffed? Go right at it.

Careful carving solves all ills.

Happy Thanksgiving to the ink-stained crowd.

Mind the family. We all have them.

Two drink minimum.

Write something this holiday even if just the germ of a new story. You'll feel all the better for it.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Something Wrong With Us

At left, a public domain image from Firebelly (thanks, 'belly) hosted on wikicommons.

This is an American Irish Pub. How can I tell? Real Irish pubs have Carling's Black Label on tap. Yep, Black Label. The same $14 a case beer your buddies bought in college (or I bought if I was your buddy).

I once went fishing with a buddy, got stuck in the mud during a squall, and had to walk out. We had a cooler in the truck with most of a twelve pack of Black Label left on ice.

When we got back to the truck someone had shot a hole in the front window, rummaged through the glove box, and taken the cooler out of the back. We drove the truck out of the now dried mud.

The cooler thieves dumped the cans of Black Label beside the truck. Nope. Dead serious. That's the true story of this one.  There was something wrong with those guys.

Something wrong with us, too.

It is Friday night and I'm writing here with a feagle (that's a short foxhound who looks  a lot like a beagle) at my feet. I should be out having fun. I should be out with friends at a bar.

I'm here at the keyboard composing.

What is wrong with me? What is wrong with you? Why must we lock ourselves in the basement utility room and scribble passages about adventure in Peru instead of talking to someone in a social setting about going to Peru?

Well, Peru ... maybe not. It can be cold and Americans tend to pant like dogs down there.

I love Estes Park in Colorado. It's the gateway to the eastern part of Rocky Mountain National Park.  Great place at 7500 feet above sea level.

At attitude, I don't enjoy drinking. I go straight from having a couple drinks to hangover. No drunken revelry in-between. Drinking and now .... hangover.

Right. So back to this writing thing. Why are we drawn to this solitary devotion?

What is wrong with us?

It's got to be some sort of curse. I must have stepped on the wrong shadow. Must have.

Off to the prose. The story doesn't write itself.

Have a drink. Skip the hangover.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Amid the Ruins of Our Own Making

At left, an image of Whitby Abbey, ruins, as photographed by Juliet220 and hosted on wikicommons. This meets the criteria of a quality image.

I'm writing tonight. I've notes all over my desk that I've amassed solving a plot hole (Add Bob back at the cabin , give him a shotgun, put Lucious in a shipping container and find out what Diazepam tastes like).

The abbey was destroyed during the reign of Henry VIII after his little falling out with the Pope.

Lesson: getting in the way can be a problem. More than that, your characters don't know when they are in the way of trouble.

I've off to write. Darkness won't last all night.

You know what I mean.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Night Writing, Morning Edits

At left, some of my working area.

It's a busy time. I'm walking back through my USCG Navigation Rules,  my Chapman Piloting and Seamanship, and now a replacement copy of Basic Coastal Navigation as my old copy got away from me. My Annapolis Book of Seamanship is downstairs by my bed.

I'm planning on sitting my navigation exam in December and it has been ... er ... several years since I had to pass such a course.

So, a little bit each day.

Which is where we are tonight.

I'm in composing mode. I have several tools to share that help with this task.

Toggl ( here ) is a free time tracking app that is free, has a mobile app component for all you app folks, and is completely free form. You pick the category,  hit start, and time "butt in chair" effort. If you are a words-per-day sort of person this isn't something you need.

After a good decade back in the chair, I find I do better not focusing on the stress-laden w-p-d count. I use a time-on-task count. It worked in school ( you spend three hours a day on statistical thermodynamics and your grades will go up markedly in that arcane subject as well).

While we're on it, let's talk composition and words.

I use Scrivener. ( here ) I love it. It has scene/chapter/project word count totals. It produces a dozen formats. It integrates with Dropbox if you should like (I just do a manual drag to my local Dropbox folder after a writing session and select an option to allow new-to-overwrite-old on copy. Syncing happens quickly and ... cloud backup achieved! Good enough.).

I format my Scrivener output in a custom wash with a couple of post-production Powershell scripts added in and I'm ready for a couple of my favorite LaTeX typesetting production formats. ( LaTeX here ).

I compose into the evening. I try and keep from working too late because, like you, I have a day gig.  That's important.

I edit in the morning with coffee in hand. I read aloud in my library and fix the immediate issues from the prior session. Sometimes I make notes and set the new material aside for an "immediate revision" session in the evening after a little thought.

I stick with this process until I am in a hole from which there is no escape. There aren't many of those anymore because I am willing to cast aside large volumes of ineffectual text if the blind rush of impulse has lead to .... dull.

Time discipline and stability in the mechanics of the writing process serve me well to keep my creative energy "on the page" and not in tampering with what the hell I'm trying to do: write.

I have no idea if this works for other people. I think a lot of you might be like that to: we have some idea of what works for us sometimes but we don't understand why and we don't understand what other writers do.

I did know one fellow who wrote in pencil starting each session with three sharpened #2 wooded beasties. He wrote until the pencils were dull enough that his longhand -- he wrote quite small -- was filled by the large flat loops of his script.

I'm an ink fellow for longhand because ink's contrast shows better in poor light.

As to why this process of mine and these lovely tools will from time to time fail me and I will go weeks without working on a single composition, I don't know. Sometimes I can no longer bear to sit at my desk and face my own writing for one minute more.

I know that over time, I'll come back to it.

I keep very good notes now so I can pick things up quicker the next time around if a spell of "absent heart" strikes me.

Keep the ink flowing. Night when everyone is in bed and morning before they are up makes for some productive volume if one is manic enough to keep the interest in place.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Tides of Ink

At left, Hemingway in a motor launch, 1931. Courtesy the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library. Public domain image.

I didn't have a good picture of a writer sailing. This image is what I could find without much work involved.

I work on project A. I have ideas for project B.

Somehow, that just seems wrong. If you had ideas for project B and spoke to me about them, I'd understand you to be sabotaging my effort. Got it.

When I have ideas about project B in the middle of project A, it is merely the process of an undisciplined mind moving on in the normal half-complete state I seem to live my life.

It is if I depart on a boat and am never to reach my destination.

I've solved this problem this time.

I've got a secret tool. It's called a map.

I'm following it.

Don't stray too far from the path. There are bears in the woods and sharks in the waters.

I haven't much else witty to say tonight. I have to write a scene where I tell a new widow that she is one.

See, I have a map.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017


Public domain image from wikicommons at left. These are Bulgarian sentries in the snow in 1913. They're having a blast.

The military has a phrase for the middle third of our composition process: "Embrace the suck."

Life is unfair and unpleasant and there are times -- especially in the military --when one must just "do" rather than "desire to do." So the story goes, anyway. I only know what I read.

We writers uniformly are excited when we start a long-form project. 

We've plots and twists and plotty-twists and diet Mountain Dew or a recharged Starbucks card. We've often only a germ of an idea that we know will become whole through those tenuous mind-holds we create as our prose crosses the page.

One material element, then another, then another.

In the process, our freshly sharpened pencils dull one by one and we've decided that our opus consists of a loosely formed collection of plot holes more or less occupying a related set of electrons on our computer's hard drive.

We know that first drafts of anything are messy (except those of the authors who lie about their first drafts sucking -- those are flow-of-consciousness "gems" which just come into being in a wonderful songbird accompanied peal of joy).  For we normal writers, our first drafts suck.

Somewhere between one-third and two-thirds of the way through, we see more holes and flaws and should-have-been bits than we can stand. It is here that many of the unfinished Great American Novels end.

Embrace the suck.

Anything can be fixed with the exception of the untold tale. Unfinished means nothing. Unfinished does not exist.

You had an idea. It didn't work. Fine. Drive on because the only chance of making it work is to finish the story. 

And then what happens?

Steve Almond says writing is decision making.  

I say the most important decision is the one where we decide to write. Not discuss. Not blog. Not tweet. Write.. 

I'm watching a friend struggle with her prose. She's hiding from her pen. She's complaining about it.  She isn't embracing the suck. She has lots of life suck going on. Surprise. She's not alone.

She doesn't read this blog.

I don't offer unsolicited advice to fellow writers. I watch them thrash in silence as fish on a dock with their life motivation slipping away as they wet the boards with the silhouette of  brief, damp, desperate life.

 I turn back. I embrace the suck. My ink only runs in my own veins.

My ass hurts. My toes are cold. My fingers cramp. My illusion of self-worth crumbles as I think I've no business picking up a pen. 

I think of drinking instead. I think of sitting on the deck, lighting a pipe, and reading from my favorite authors.

I remember they too had to embrace the suck. I sigh. I stretch. I spill some ink upon the page declaring myself talentless and my story trite and unimaginative.

I'll fix it on the next draft just as my heroes have done, after I finish this draft.

Just as you should.

Embrace the suck. Everyone whose fiction you read had to give the suck a big unpleasant hug at some time in the process.   

This time it is our turn. 

Sunday, October 15, 2017

The Moving Friends

At left, public domain image from wikicommons. Early moving truck, Salt Lake City, Utah.

Not the best day to move. Always seems like snow and rain when the deed is required.

I have a friend moving "back" to Seattle after seventeen years of being here in nearby Ann Arbor. It's a work thing and he's being recalled to Seattle to the headquarters of his firm. He's spent his whole career with one company and now is joining the senior executive ranks upon returning home.

I'm going to miss him. It is how life is. Seattle is too far to expect to see him with any frequency and his involvement in the past-times I have excited in him are too tenuous to remain for long without frequent re-enforcement.

We'll see.

I'm thinking tonight of the unexpected loss of an ally and the effect on a protagonist.

In the middle of our story's turmoil when we have the serial encounters with conflict and obstacles, how often do we think of the loss of ally as a driving factor in the transformation of our character?

I know the bit about taking away all of a character's friends then in the next chapter, shooting his dog.

I think back to Smiley in Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and I can remember the first time I read the story thinking that here -- in this part -- Smiley considers everyone he knows as a suspect. I remember the bottom dropping out of my stomach as I recognized here was a protagonist reduced to being alone by the process of his own reasoning.

I'm not able to execute so deft a turn; but, I can have associates arrested, or subject to a inconvenient demise, or just murdered. maybe having them isolated by the turn of their own mind isn't necessary for my purpose.

Would my protagonist continue without his trusted friend? Would he solider on filling the void from elsewhere in the cast? Would a former antagonist now become a friend?

I am not like my friend. He is placid and lacks a competitive nature. It makes him good for roles where the gentle hand of compromise is required through rapport and pacification.

I like to win.

At the moment, I am losing.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Harvey, Harvey, Harvey

At left, the mess that is my desktop.

I have a bill from the state for car tags because my state does it on one's birthday.

I've a trade magazine from the fly fishing industry to get through (No, I'm not "really" in the industry. My dollars are.) I've flies to tie - design in the background of the transcription palette. 

Also, I have to pass basic seamanship again. Yea. Again. Like, thirty-odd years on. I don't have the certification I need for the boat I want to lease and so insurance demands documentation.. That's the flag for India which means I am turning to port absent any other signal.

This has been an ugly week in the entertainment industry. I'm going to let the events lie where they may and take a literary approach: the fallen hero.

Studio mogul. Bum. It took what, forty-eight hours? Maybe seventy-two.

I've got some things I need to happen in the current work in progress. It occurred to me a fallen hero, a mogul, a fellow of influence, wealth, and accomplishment might be the exact sort of supplemental character I need to make some improbable events transpire.

I have a copy of Joseph Campbell's Hero with a Thousand Faces stuck on the arm of my reading chair right now.

The fall. The fall.

The devil is a most attractive character. Nobody gives a shit about the saints.

Off to the ink.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Writer as Islander

At left, Bogoslof Island in the Aleutians.  Image hosted on wikicommons as taken by U.S. Geologic Survey: T.Keith.

Pretty nice day.

I'd ask about deserted island book lists and deserted island foods and ...

Writers are themselves on a deserted island.

With the ink, there is no counsel beyond our own. We tell ourselves the story and then -- with luck -- receive notes on the polish and clarification necessary from our chosen advance readers.

We are not adrift; but, we are alone.

I rather like that aspect.

My composition style sees the story unfold as cinematic scenes before me.

Today, I have a fellow who is responsible for solving a murder but who is not a detective by trade standing in running shorts and a T-shirt near a corpse. I know her wears a Cubs T-shirt. That isn't germane to the tale but I see it. I also see the mimosa in his hand. Hey, have your on-scene fellow drink cold coffee if you want. My guy drinks a mimosa from fresh squeezed.

I occasionally remember the Meeting of Minds television series from the late 70's (in my case) hosted by Steve Allen on PBS. They'd run it during pledge time which oddly found me alone eating frozen pizza on more than one occasion. I'm not at all sure why that happened.

Anyway, there would be a cast of historical figures -- say Abe Lincoln and Kublai Khan -- around a table with the host discussing some issue or another. Hard to remember what they discussed but it was very much a talking-heads sort of affair.

I sometimes think of writers placed on a deserted island and the game they play to pass the nights is "storytime." They each tell stories a bit like Homer might have while sitting around the fire and eating the last of the day's catch of lobster or crab or -- ick -- seal.

I'd want to see Raymond Carver, Raymond Chandler, Stanislaw Lem, and Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. Maybe Jim Harrison. Certainly Jim if we could fish.

I'd like Hemingway there too; but, we'd fight.

No man is an island?

No for all time, no.

With pen in hand? Then, I must decline to concur.

I'll probably be exiled for that statement. Who would know?

Monday, October 2, 2017

Uncomfortable Concordance

At left, image of the Unisphere from the 1964 World's Fair as captured by Doug Coldwell and allowed for fair use here for just the attribution. Image hosted on wikicommons.

As writers of crime, mayhem, murder, and worse we face some scrutiny by friends and family when bad things happen in real life.

The world intrudes.

How do we handle this?

Senseless killing. What do we say?

For my part, I answer that all killing is senseless but that it is a core component of the human condition and has been throughout my life. Thus, I include this aspect -- unfair it may be -- in my writing.

No, I don't believe that my words propagate more violence. The propagation of violence was doing quite well before I picked up a pen. Cambodia, for example. Khmer Rouge?  Brutal, cruel, and had nothing to do with my writing.

Bad things happen. Sometimes those bad things are murders. I'm interested in the human response to the inhuman. I could write about aliens, or I can write about the intolerable cruelty humans inflict on humans.

Cruelty and sudden loss while regrettable are regular facts of our existence. In other parts of the world. they're even more common. Here, they're sensational as a result of the uncommon.

I've no respect for amateurs in the business of mass murder. That's perhaps a singular perspective.

Best we just don't tell friends and family our topics of choice.

Works better in the long run.

After all, a lie of omission is just child's play to a fiction writer.

We should always omit our topics unless they're fluffy bunnies. Happy, fluffy bunnies.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

I Know Them for Their Dogs

Peepe allows us to use the image of a Foxhound in the woods as hosted on wikicommons. Thanks, Peepe. Nice gesture to make this public domain.

I don't know my neighbors' names. I wave. Sometimes I smile (I forget this gesture frequently).  I say "hi" if they are in earshot.

I've met several multiple times but I don't know their names. I know their dogs.

This house is home to Ruger the Labrador. Jesse (Spaniel) and Roxy (portly lab)  live at the house that needs a large dumpster in the driveway for a week.

The French Bulldog (Babs) doesn't like anyone and so we don't stop to sniff if she is out.

Heisman is the shepherd that lives next door. I don't know his owners' name either.

I bring this up because I read a piece by an especially gregarious and extroverted writer this week. "Meet lots of people" and "avoid stereotypes" were tropes of the article.

I'd say: write.

Stereotypes are valid first-order approximations that are easy for a reader to grab until your more subtle details of construction are revealed. Southerners -- many -- do speak slowly. It frustrates some of us. Nothing wrong with using that fact in the introduction of detective Roy Summers from Waycross, GA. [ Waycross sits near the Okefenokee swamp: a great place to get rid of bodies in case you're hunting such a site.]

Dogs that growl sometimes bite. I'm not surprised if they do. If it enhances the story to have the dog not bite but have a chronic case of  crossed-signals, then use that fact. Else, have the animal bite someone. Your choice.

I've met lots of people. Enough people, I think. I can make my own and they won't resemble in detail anyone you've met because that's how I want my characters: uncommon.

I don't want the lady in line at the grocery store in my book because people still writing checks -- and still waiting until they get to the check-out to begin doing so -- are not especially interesting to me. Unless I have a stray bullet in a story.  I might have her be a victim then. Maybe.

For some, writing is a task of introspective world creation complete with action, reaction, sophist logic or even illogical reasoning on the part of characters.

In first grade, we'd already learned to lie. By high school, we did it well. So?  You don't need more models for your string of human templates. Cut them up and put them back together. You'll do fine.

Fiction is a lie.

Shhh. I won't tell if you don't.

The dogs know all and I know their names.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Winter is Coming

I've been hiding from my pen. Oh, I've written notes, snippets,little vignettes, and observations.

I haven't been finishing this year.

Not finishing has become almost a motto. I'm "the incomplete writer." Seems that writer is an oxymoron there.

This "desk clearing cycle" has me looking over drafts and re-writes that stand the test of time away. I'm pretty happy on the whole.

I need a reader I can trust -- and I have one. He isn't put off by my unfortunate sensibilities which are too like those of Raymond Carver, without the talent or the booze. I need to do my job and get material to him.

The picture above is from a wood delivery a couple years ago. That's Lou the foxhound giving the pile the once-over. He does about the same to my efforts though he urinates on my writing less than he does the woodpile.

I'm ashamed of "not finishing."  There. I said it. I'm ashamed.

Not finishing allows me to go along with my illusions unchallenged. I get to believe in a past which is without substance beyond "shows much promise." I can continue to be unjudged.

Which is a lie, of course.

Unfinished brings its own judgement and for whatever reason, unfinished is meaningless.

I will pick a project. I will work it to completion. I will send it off. I have no idea why I wait thinking something better will strike my imagination when in fact it is the act of writing that produces its own unsourced inspiration.

Winter is coming. There are few enough left. I shall work my next novel as a series of short stories. I know it is how I work best.

Another log in the stove. Another ten pages.

I have to stop hiding from my pen.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Ink Before Sunrise

Inspiration from Paris at left. Image hosted on wikicommons as created by Tristan Nitot. Image of the day for wikicommons back on 11 January, 2005.

Before sunrise the ink does not flow quickly; but, it does flow.

Summer fills every available minute with competing interests.

Trout call to me. Vocational concerns weigh heavily. Recreation and family obligations scream in competing chori.

There are stories that must be told.

The still of early morning is the time when I can tell them as the house is at ease.

The dog grudgingly walks the garden with me then collapses at my feet. A cat comes in, sits on an upholstered tuft, and waits for attention.

I'm at the desk. I'm working on the draft. It is important enough I'll stumble out of bed for the effort.

Best gift for a summer writer? A coffee pot with a timer.

It's easier to write when the coffee is waiting hot.

What are your writing strategies this summer?

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Entangled and Ensnared

At left, spiderweb as photographed by Albert Jankowski and made available copyright free as hosted on wikicommons.

The blog has languished. I've a couple non-fiction projects which have absorbed a great deal of time and energy. It seems disingenuous to write of non-fiction on the fiction blog so a quite period of inactivity ensued.

I'm back at the mayhem now. I've some new stories to come out. I've some old stories to recast again with the discipline to shorten, tighten, and present a more immediate flow of danger and deceit.

It is late spring here and summer looms with all the dark deeds that bright sunny days and cool water can host.

There's nothing like a meadow for a body. The juxtaposition is more than we can resist.

I've a confirmation to attend this weekend. I've a failed story of a killing where the bullet consisted of a large caliber slug formed of gold saints' medals pressed into a plug.

Let's put the body in a meadow on an early summer's day and see what flawed soul we can have search for killer, motive, meaning, and measure.

Let's have a murder: a web of mystery. Time to write a scene for the spider.

It's good to be back in fiction.

Sunday, February 26, 2017


At left, page image from Mary Shelly's draft of Frankenstein.

In my hands today, a draft.

Sure, there are enhancements to add, a punchlist of major corrections to detail, and then the inevitable line edits that result from just reading through the thing. But, it is in my hands: a draft.

Composition is complete and the revision and alteration phase begins.

It's non-fiction so the process is a little different from the tonal aspects of corrections in fiction where something "isn't quite right" or there is a tense lapse or dialogue needs condensing or ...

Nevertheless, there is the same thrill of having something that has moved forward after two-and-a-half months in the full composition bin which comes after three distinctive half-starts over the past two years.

Sound familiar?

Same thing with the novel.

Keep running at the wall. You will find a way through. You will find a way to say the things you wanted to say. You too will feel elated on the other side even though the remaining work is nearly as daunting as the piece just completed.

Draft. Say it proud. Say it loud.

Just don't say it to your friends: they only want to know when they can buy it.

You can say it here, however. I'll give you the slow clap of joy any day.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

In The Secret Lair

At left, British troops dismantling the German nuclear test reactor at war's end. Image hosted on wikicommons. Copyright free.

It's a stretch to call this thing a "reactor" as self sustaining capture and control of delayed neutrons was not yet possible given their design. Prompt neutrons were possible and they had a little trouble with the radiation from this beast's older brother.

I'm working on two non-fiction projects at the moment. One is wrapping up and the other is ready for its annotated outline this weekend transcribed from the volume of hand notes.

I'm writing non-fiction thinking of fiction.

I've figured out a couple problems with plots I've come back to as well as changing a couple of point-of-view characters in some fiction from the past couple of years.

Ever have a story whose character roles changed significantly when you revisited the tale? Happened to me.

I hope you keep your stories straight. Watch where you store the drafts. Those things can approach criticality if you're careless with how you stack them.

Stories blow up. So do reactors.

I've got prose to radiate. So do you.