I did a word count this morning and discovered the novel has jumped up to 71K. How did that happen? It was only a week or two ago that I was lamenting that every time I checked, it seemed like I had gotten nowhere at all. The goal is 80-100K, so we're well in range.
Though I am still going to keep the title to myself, I will start referring to the book by its initials, BP & MJ. I'm actually in the final act, and right now it's a debate whether the race to the end will be another full one around the track or a sprint. I've had a clear idea of what I wanted the protagonist to go through and what life decision to make since the writing began in earnest, but I've always been a bit hazy on what would cause the decision. Last night, in that weird creative time between waking and sleeping, I had the realization that there was a random flashback earlier in the book that predicted the catalyst character who just showed up, a connection I had not made before.
I love that about writing, the fact that my subconscious is often several steps ahead of what I am aware of. All the way back on Cut My Hair I had discovered that my brain would plant clues for me along the way. I'd get to page 150 and realize that little aside 100 pages before was there for a reason, I just didn't know at the time that I would need it. Such it is with this flashback.
Funnily enough, that flashback was written in anger. I was mad at somebody and mad at myself for the behavior of mine that put me in the position of being hurt, and so I sat down and wrote this short anecdote that essentially parodied this particular aspect of my personality and when I was done I felt better about the whole thing. Had the person I had the conflict with and I had a longer make-up conversation, I would have noted that in reality, it was a good occurrence, I got something out of it. That's even more true now.
The only thing at question now is whether or not I stick to the original ending or let this third-act character hijack my intentions. In the writing, he's turning out to be a pretty persuasive fella, and that scares me a little bit. It means if I want the reader to have the proper reaction to my protagonist's decision, I have to make sure the argument in favor of the choice is rock solid, lest the audience revolt. Look how history has treated John Hughes for allowing Andie to reject Duckie. I don't want that to be me!
The other decision is whether to pause to read what I have or just keep going. I suppose it will be a decision that makes itself. Sometimes the writing can't be forced, and sometimes it can't be denied.
Last week was a long and lonely haul following the early news about Dave Stevens. I actually avoided blog activity to let the post about him stay up top, a moment of silence, as it were. Thanks for the folks who commented in the post and sent along their well wishes.
In the pause there, I forget to note that Madman Atomic Comics #7 went on sale. It's the silent issue. You can read a preview of it here. There's also been a good discussion of it at Mike Allred's message board.
Mike and I traded a lot of e-mails last week. He's been sending me #8 to proofread, and the issue is going to be dedicated to Dave. Mike wrote about our mutual hero, as well. In fact, we both also talked to our boy Bob Schreck, and then we all talked about talking to each other. I guess that's the way life turns at times like these.
If there is one thing that stuck with me from my own recollections about Dave, and about the drawing he gave me, it's how important it is for us to do those small things in life that can make a huge difference for the people around us. How often do we see an opportunity to lend a hand or extend a kind gesture for someone else, and how often might we let those things pass? The sad fact is, that most of the time, what is needed from us is an easy thing, something that would take very little effort or time on our part but that would work wonders for the person we did it for.
The tell-tale sign for me was that I had kept the post-it note attached to the drawing, and I had written my article and quoted it before I had even dug the art out of my files. As lovely as the drawing was, the note was what was really indicative of the enormity of the gesture. I finally understand why women get so torqued when there is no card included with a gift.
Friday night I sat down and read both of the Rocketeer books and watched the movie. It was a good time, and just the right medicine.
Current Soundtrack: shuffle bringing you the Cardigans, Ludus, Elvis Costello & the Attractions performing "Waiting for the End of the World"
Current Mood: hopeful
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All text (c) 2008 Jamie S. Rich