Just let me know you


One of the many things my blog is not is a writing blog. (Highly awkward construction, yes?)

In fact, it’s pretty rare for me to talk about my writing in here at all. I tell you about what I have written, which makes sense since I’ve been posting it a chapter at a time, but I don’t discuss the process of writing much at all.

If you knew me in real life, you would find my conversation to be quite the contrast. Well … you might, if you wanted to talk to me about writing. My daughter Kimmie is a much more prolific writer than I am and we discuss writing all the time, often in highly technical terms. In my life at home, I am very much a writer.

(Nice to meet you.)

We discuss transitions, and how we select points of view, and the pros and cons of filler scenes, and the ins and outs of various different literary genres, and our differing techniques for characterization, and style and plot and voice and tenor and … and which scene we’re stuck, why we’re stuck and best methods for getting unstuck.

We even have Friday Night Fiction Parties, where we sit at the dining room table with our respective laptops and work on whatever work of fiction we are working on at any particular time. There are usually adult beverages involved, and many interruptions (rendered noisy due to numerous levels of frustration) for conversation about each of our projects. There is music, of course. And there are long periods during which the only thing that breaks the silence are fingers rapidly tapping keys.

There are a variety of ways I bond with my variety of children. This is one of them.

It’s taking me forever to write the book I’m writing — the sequel to The Rise of The Phoenix, which is called Children of Chaos, or Book 2 of this particular trilogy that I haven’t given a name to yet. Part of the reason it’s taking so long is that I keep interrupting myself. I took a 10-year break from it to run my business and then another 4-year break to go back to school.

Now that I have a job and am paradoxically much less busy, I have returned to the story, I am coming smack-dab against the second problem. The problem is middles. Middles of stories are very difficult, and that is as true of a trilogy of books as it is of a single novel. Generally speaking, we know how we want to start the story. Much of the time (one hopes most of the time), we know how the story is going to end.

Middles are fraught with peril. You have to worry about pacing. You have to worry about keeping the plot going, no matter how much exposition you need to cover. You have to worry about giving the reader enough information so that they know what’s going on without giving them so much information that you end up spoiling your own story. You can throw a few red herrings into the story but at what point do you cross that terrifying (for a writer) line at which you have broken faith with the reader? And you have to be very careful to keep your characters in character and not to make them do things that are out of character in service to the plot.

And, while you’re doing all that, you have to keep answering the punishing question, “Okay, now, what happens next?”

This is why I’m not in any hurry to post chapters of Children of Chaos. In spite of the fact that I am very close to the end of the story, I also know that the end of the story can last for as much as five chapters. That’s what happened in Phoenix. It’s important to get all the details in because that’ll be building blocks for book 3. Besides, I think it’s fairly important not to rush endings. You need to take all the time necessary to make everything that needs to happen, happen.

You may not have noticed this but I posted Chapter 10 a couple of weeks ago. The plot, as they say, thickens. Feel free to read and, if you are at all interested in earning my undying gratitude, feel free to leave me some feedback, tell me what you think and what you like. Happy reading!