Monday, December 19, 2016

More Notes on the Last Month of a Difficult Year

Changes, passages, endings...I can’t wait for New Year to bust these next moves.

I left off my last post without answering where I was in the process of finishing THE SAGA OF THE DEAD SILENCER series. The process requires, first, that I go line by line through Bleeding Kansas and Grace Among the Dead. I’m not only on a quest to rid those two volumes of all my new-guy mistakes and narrative tics beginning from 2012, I’m homogenizing the tone and character of the three book-wide narrative.

Most of all, I want my hero Derek Grace, and the people he grows close to despite himself, to make sense. It may be a zombie action novel, but it’s my zombie action novel. I want a clean read, all killer, no filler.With everything nice and digitally remastered for 2016 writerly skill levels, I may undertake repairs of the flawed half-manuscript that is The Wrong Kind of Dead.

So where am I in this process? I finished the rewrite on Bleeding Kansas a week ago. I’m still psyching myself up for the dive into Grace Among the Dead.

There. I said it. Cue photograph of tranquil winter scene.

Oh, better make that two. Sunrise...


It’s even worse than you think. Every day while at the Hotel Purgatario in Colorado Springs from 13 June to 13 July, I opened up three windows in Word. One for each novel.

Every day nothing happened. And upon leaving the Hotel Purgatario and settling into Big Pink, obviously nothing much happened after that.

Why? I don’t know. I just couldn’t get moving. Couldn’t focus. Or maybe just wouldn’t focus. I told you; I don’t know.

Somehow, a month ago, in the course of opening up a few beers at night, I opened up Bleeding Kansas. And I ripped through it in maybe two weeks. It happened just like that.

Otis, glowering balefully from the left background, says, “That’s not precisely how it happened.”

Otis turns his head in disgust as Luna chimes in, “Yeah, tell ‘em the truth!”

Actually, “ripped through it” isn’t precise. It wasn’t quite “like that,” either—although, relative to the rest of this year’s barren calendarscape, it was. 

I stopped and started on the rewrite. It did not escape my attention that I worked better at night while drinking beer at my desk. I may yet do a fundraiser along the lines of paying for all this beer that makes this productivity happen. It should inspire a lot more happy generosity than, “These home improvements necessary to our survival this winter are driving us back into the debt spiral we sold the last house to escape! Please help!”

So I figured out what got me in the proper mindset, and I pushed through. After all this time, in my gut of ripped-out zombie guts, I know Bleeding Kansas is the book I need it to be. Having scrubbed it top to bottom and back again, and then again, and again, L. Roy Aiken’s Bleeding Kansas is good to go for the ages on anyone’s list of Better Than Average Zombie Apocalypse books.

So what about Grace Among the Dead? When will The Wrong Kind of Dead be finished?
“Go on. We’re listening.”

I had a feeling it would be like this. One thing finally breaks free, then another, then another, like obstacles in a debris-choked creek breaking away and washing downstream. Things will get done in a period very short relative to the rest of the time I’ve been inactive, although the quality of work will be representative of everything that’s been stewing in my head and heart since. The time will not have been entirely wasted.

Also, the work will still be kind of stop-start, but with far shorter intervals for the stopped parts.

In other words, I’ll have to get back to you on this. In the meantime...