January 13th, 2007


Last Night Off

Eldest home from school for the weekend because she's got MLK off. I think I'm on the only one in the house who doesn't have Monday free.

While she went shopping with her boyfriend for birthday presents for his mother and the youngest squeed over the latest new thing on Disney (and engaging in imaginative play while the TV acted like Muzak), Melissa and I went to the little strip mall nearby. I was looking for the January Locus at the bookstore.

It hadn't arrived yet, but I did engage in aggressive browsing and struck up a conversation with another shopper who was looking for the trade editions of Ian Fleming's James Bond novels. One thing led to another as we talked about the books and the movies, and since the bookstore didn't have a selection beyond Casino Royale in mm and trade, I recommended Nelson DeMille's Cathedral as a good book.

DeMille is one of those writers I enjoy rereading. Cathedral was the first book of his I found and it was so engaging I try to read one of his books around St. Patrick's Day every year. The original mass market had a custom cover representing the doors of St. Patrick's Cathedral in NYC. The were two fronts: one cut to two-thirds its normal size, representing the door partway open; the second depicting a hooded terrorist, armed with a submachine gun, looking out the door. Lift the first cover, and you'd see other terrorists and their captives. The book detailed a splinter faction of the IRA taking over the cathedral on St. Patrick's Day. Nearly all of it covered that one day and the writing was crisp and engaging. I still don't know why someone hasn't made it into a film.

As I've tackled the Fallen rewrite I've kept a lot of different things in mind; I want what I do appreciated. I want to entertain. Not only myself; I do that already, even with the stories that need serious work. And I think entertaining, writing enjoyable fiction, is the way I should go. I own practically every Doc Savage reprinted by Bantam, I own every Destroyer and look forward to the series moving over to TOR this spring. I'm geeked by The Chinatown Death Cloud Peril by Paul Malmont, which won by vote and coin flip the poll recently ran. I like the early thrillers by Ludlum --The Matarese Circle -- and DeMille's page-turners in Cathedral and By The Rivers of Babylon.

DeMille is ... more serious now than when he started. He still ramps up from time to time. Enough that I still find his work entertaining. He's grown. And I've grown along with him while still recalling my "childhood" as a reader with fondness. Hal Duncan just posted an interesting take on the notion of growth when he examined the rant by Laurell K. Hamilton. I understand his viewpoint; if someone doesn't like your book, they don't need to buy it. That they do buy it, complaining how they don't like it, easily could indicate their status as fans. LKH could encourage them, making them believe the changes in her books are part of a conscious plan. I suggested it's akin to the idea you have to go through hell to reach heaven. While that's possible, it's probably unlikely. LKH probably likes what she's writing, and since she's getting paid to write it, why should she stop. Duncan's logic is pretty good on this point.

So, what should you do? Tell people who don't like your books they shouldn't purchase them? Do that, and you risk losing what he calls the dufus dollar. Encourage them with lies? Doing so might indicate you're consciously writing to a market. Not for yourself. While we all want to sell what we write, I don't think anyone writes a story they don't like. A publisher doesn't put out a book they don't like.

All of which jibes with the idea that I shouldn't hold anything back

Not in this rewrite. Not in the next, which will see a page or two added at the end of "Sacrifices" before it see submission anywhere (probably F&SF again because of its turnaround time).

So ... after getting home from the bookstore last night and spending the evening relaxing with Melissa (since we don't get to spend too many night together in the evening because I'm writing, don't you know) I planned out today's work. Adding some background about the Battle of Arras in 1917 and 1918 and cutting an entire scene (about two or three pages) that I really liked the first time through. I won't subtract the cut scene and put myself into negative numbers for Novel In 90. While I like the concept of unwords, I don't think someone should consider them as something you should subtract. You either write X pages in a day or you don't. If you're making two steps forward and one step back, all that means for this challenge is that you need to take six steps.

Fallen -- In Word Meter

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
10,000 / 160,000

With tomorrow, I'll have run with Novel In 90 for a week. Current pace makes it look like I'll hit between 11-12k for the week. It's a good enough pace to put me in the ballpark to finish the novel. :-)