Writing Update and Other Stuff (this is a long one)
I have 49 days until my Sept. 1 deadline for Darlington. Now, here’ s the thing, as I’ve mentioned before, I don’t want to turn in a first draft. Maybe a second draft. I’d like to leave myself at least a week for a second draft. So really, I have 42 days to complete the book. To date,
I’ve written 25,000 words. My goal is 80,000. Pretty standard for a CBA supernatural suspense novel (code for horror . . . shhhh). I’m hoping this is going to be one creepy, scary story that packs quite a punch when it comes to the message behind the story.
And how is the story development going? Well, this is where things get tricky. You see, I have enough story in my head for the first third (which is done) and the last third (the build up to the climax and the climax). It’s that middle third that’s getting me a little knotted up. The middle third is so important because you don’t want a saggy middle. If things get the bogged down in the midsection the whole story could go caput because I’ll lose the reader. And the number one rule of suspense is: keep the reader turning pages.
So that’s where I am, on the precipice of that middle third squeezing every last drop of creative juice out of my brain, trying to come up with a twist or something that’ll propel the story to the last third.
Now, a question I often get that goes along with all this is if I outline my story ahead of time. Um, obviously not or I wouldn’t be having this middle third anxiety. Here’s what I do: I end each chapter with a cliffhanger then ask myself, Okay, what happens next? Writing this way is so much fun. And hey, if I don’t know what’s coming next, there’s no way the reader will.
So here’s my plan. In the publishing business, a typed page counts as 250 words. Period. It doesn’t matter if it is a full page (more than 250) or three lines on a page (less than 250), it still counts as 250 words. If I write 5 pages a day for the next 42 days I’ll be ahead of the game. Sounds easy, doesn’t it? Sounds, yes. But it isn’t. Not when you work full time, have a family to spend time with, church responsibilities, speaking engagements, vacations, a writing conference coming up, and, oh yeah, sleep. Free time is in limited supply these days. But I’m plugging ahead and will get there. I will. I will. I will.
Now, for some health stuff (I know this post is dragging on . . . forgive me). I’ve been feeling great. Recently, I had a sigmoidoscopy that turned into a colonoscopy (more on this below) that the surgeon was thrilled with and a contrast dye UGI X-ray that went well (that stuff you have to drink is like gulping liquid chalk).
In case you don’t know, for a sigmoidoscopy (a partial colonoscopy) you’re not put under any kind of anesthesia. You lie on your side and the surgeon (in my case) puts this flexible tube up your . . . ahem . . . and says, “Tell me when it gets uncomfortable and I’m out.” Well, he kept putting it up and putting it up and it didn’t feel that uncomfortable. Finally, he said, “You sure you’re doing okay?” I said I was then heard the nurse say, “Well, you just gave him a colonoscopy” (which they put you to sleep for). To which the surgeon replied, “Yep, there’s the appendix.” So I got a colonoscopy for the price of a sigmoidoscopy. What a deal!