Sunday, October 16, 2016


Confessions of a sort, wherein the “never apologize, never explain” rule is fudged, but not entirely transgressed. I’ve got to stop being so half-assed about things, ya think?

“But...but haven’t you been working on The Wrong Kind of Dead this entire time? As in, since 2014, when you finished Grace Among the Dead?”

Yes and no. By 5 May 2016, the last time-stamp for my edits of the galleys until this week, the concluding book in my saga was huge. At 94,366 words and 266 pages, the end was not yet in sight. Most of it is serialized here on the blog.
Screenshot of the first three pages of The Wrong Kind of Dead, with relevant stats at lower left.

In February of this year, after a year and a half of writing, I realized my narrative was off track. The relationships between Derek, Agnes, and Elyssa were forced, as were their relationships with their fellow tribespeople. An emotional bullet point involving Derek’s children from the first book misfired. 

The more I went over the manuscript, the more I realized I was leaving a lot of metaphorical money on the table in terms of narrative richness. I had so much to work with, and for some reason I wasn’t working with it.

Worst of all, it was taking much too long to build to the Final Boss, and I didn’t even have the details to that hammered out. I still don’t, but one of the scenes got written almost by impulse on Tuesday, making for the first new material on The Wrong Kind of Dead in I-don’t-want-to-know-when.

Screenshot from page 251. You should have been doing this
50 to 75 pages ago already.
So what else happened in between? In early March, someone broke into my Jeep while my son, who was driving it, was at work. They removed fuses, of all things, leading me to believe it was an attempt to disable the vehicle, forcing it to be left overnight for pickup by the thieves.

During that same week my wife went to the emergency room, later to be admitted to the hospital for several days. It was one thing after another in that cursed month, but those were the big ones. Paranoia and worry brought everything to a halt. The month after that, April, was primarily dedicated to staging the house for sale in time for May.

All this came immediately after the best months ever for numbers on this blog. I’d daresay my writing was going well, too—I had, after all, diagnosed a problem. I might have fixed it, were it not for the urgency that arose immediately afterwards in selling the house, and finding a new place to live.

Depression, the distractions of selling a house, hunting down another house, and moving 200 miles across the state will hang a body up. Ah, yes, my depression. I might go into that bit of TMI later in another post, but suffice it to say that when the broken old futon was carried out of my office in the interests of staging the house, my writerly mojo went with it.

So March, April, and May were in the toilet. We had to move in June. We spent a long, miserable month at the Hotel Purgatario, waiting to close on the dusty, grimy old pile we call Big Pink. I struggled to crank out blog posts. I did well with my review of that Independence Day sequel.

There will be fire and explosions towards the end.
That’s all I’m telling you, because that’s all I know.
Every day in that hotel room I had the galleys for The Wrong Kind of Dead minimized to the taskbar on my desktop. Every now and then I would look at it. I might as well have been looking at a dusty, broken wall spray-painted in ancient Sumerian. I was not, as the young people say, feeling it.

I’ve been here three months as of the 13th. I have wasted vast swathes of time as the electricians updated the tube-and-knob wiring, the plumbers fixed leaks, and the painters chipped, ripped, and tore away at the peeling paint, old wires, rotten siding, etc., by way of putting a fresh coat on. We made a good deal of money selling our house. That money is now spent, and we’re already back in debt, albeit on a much smaller scale than we were in Colorado Springs. 

It doesn’t help my blues. I need to make some money. I need to end this series, and get on to the Next Thing.

So you can imagine my elation when that scene poured out of my fingers around 1400 GMT -7, 11 October. All the while it’s felt as if a gear wasn’t meshing. On that day, a gear meshed.

It’s not everything I want, but it’s a start, I have to go with it. Just as I have to write up character arcs for my expanded dramatis personae.

The only way this is going to be made right is if I finish this.

Back to work, then.
Step 1: Remove cats from lap. Step 2: "X" out of Twitter. Step 3: GET BACK TO WORK!