Monthly Archives: December 2010

Putting it together

I have finished the read-through of the sequel to “Crashers.” I got up at 4:30 a.m. yesterday to slams through the end of Act II. I came home at lunch to sweep into Act III. I got home last night, changed to sweats, and drove it home.

Now to clean out the Augean stables….

Seriously, the job now is to begin inputting the edits I made. Page by page. I should be finished by Christmas. After that, the Princess Consort will do a read-through. Katy has amazing eyes (I mean that in every conceivable sense) and she catches stuff I never would.

To quote Stephen Sondheim: “Step by Step/Putting it Together….”


The ticking clock

Lee Child, author of the “Reacher” thrillers, created a nice bit of business in his novel “61 Hours,” which I just finished.

He ended every chapter by writing something like, “It was  6 p.m. Tuesday. Fifty-six hours to go…” or “When the police cruiser dropped him off, it was midnight. Thirty-five hours to go….”

“To go” to what? We didn’t know. But it gave the narrative a nice “time bomb” element. The reader knows something big is going to happen, and the reader knows it’ll happen 61 hours after Chapter 1 begins. We just don’t know what “it” is.

It was a quick, elegant way to ratchet up the tension.


tick tock … tick tock …

I’m doing tick-tock work on the manuscript.

You know how, twice a year, you get up and re-set your clocks? Either an hour forward or an hour backward, right? In a novel re-write, it’s the same thing. You slog slowly through the manuscript and look for places where the clocks are off. Where you’ve added or deleted a scene and, subsequently, your clocks or your calendars are off.

It says 9 p.m. on page 94 but 11:30 p.m. on page 96. What happened? Time travel? Nope. You deleted a scene in between. So now you gotta ask yourself: Do I change the 9 p.m. on page 94 (which means changes on pages 90, 84, 80… maybe more) or do you change the 11:30 p.m. on page 96 (which will mean changes to pages 102, 111, 114, etc.).

This is not the glamorous portion of being a novelist.

I helped my friend John The Physicist build a fence one time by digging post holes. This is a whole lot like that.

Tick tock. Tick tock….



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