How I hate that drawing board…


I haven’t blogged for a few weeks because a severe thunderstorm fried my digital modem and wireless router. Consequently, Internet access was down for a couple of weeks. It was like having a limb amputated but was no doubt good for me in a vague ascetical way that I haven’t quite managed to figure out yet. So I’m back in the land of Web now and strangely everything is just the same as it was.

A while ago I started writing a novel that involved railroads, construction workers and kidnapping, among other things. Well, I got about halfway through and then realized that the plot didn’t quite seem to work. For one thing, I had a bunch of construction workers rob a train repeatedly, but strangely no one seemed to take any action, least of all the police. Not very credible. I also had a guy throw himself off a building only to catch his overalls on a crane hook. Well the guy stayed that way, swinging from the crane, for several days before someone noticed he was unaccountably missing and decided to do something about it. What the hell was I thinking!

There were several other plot points that just weren’t working. So I asked my wife, Liz, to read over the story and she confirmed my worst fears. The whole thing was too far fetched and, worse, unsalvageable. She assured me that there were a number scenes of brilliance at various points (aw, shucks) but not enough to sustain belief in the reader (aw, rats). I could always cannibalize them for use in another story.

Hm… So back to the drawing board. I decided – tentatively this time – to do a sequel to “Muscle for Hire”. That book seemed to go down well with readers and critics and why pass up an opportunity to give them more of the same? I’ll start the new book probably in late August after the schools go back and I have a relatively free space to concentrate. 

However, I think I’ll stop some way into the plot to do a reality check before continuing this time. I don’t want to end up writing another 40k words before I realize that the whole thing is complete bilge.

A salutary lesson and a timely reminder. A platitude for every occasion.