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Showing posts from November, 2020

The end is the end...and still the beginning...

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  I've got the ending of APoS set in the way that makes everyone happy. Now I'm going to let it sit for a while to give myself some perspective; I'm way too tight with the story and Brendan's life, at the moment. I can't see what works and what doesn't, but it's not ready to send to get feedback on, yet...and to be honest, I'm not sure who I could send it to. Not that it's a pressing issue. I figure on at least two more passes through it before I might be willing to ask. Probably three. And those will take place over the course of 2021. I'm not rushing this story. After playing around with it and fighting it and trying to talk myself out of even attempting it for the last 20 years, another 12 months ain't gonna make no difference. I can now focus on my reading and research, to better work in the area's social mores. That's going to be my Achilles Heel. I'm not from there and I've had two people I met in Derry say there was no

Like wading deeper into a murky pond...

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Well...I did a count of everything I've got through today, for APoS, and I'm at 238,197 words, total. Book 1 -- Derry has 80,133 Book 2 -- New World for Old is 90,065 Book 3 -- Derry '81 is up to 68,199 And I'm still going. Still finding spots where the characters want to interact and add to the story. This part is proving tough because events are coming together where Brendan has to take a stand, something he's never wanted to do. He's always preferred to just be left alone to live his life...but that's not an option in this world or any other. I'm fighting my old screenwriter habits, here, because they want to have certain moments happen at certain times, and that form also has certain scenes that are absolutely obligatory...but it doesn't work for this book. The entire thing is told through Brendan's perspective and his actions and events he lives. Nothing else matters. Just his experiences and what he thinks of them. And as much as the sc

Derry '81

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Brendan has been living in Houston for more than eight years, but is finally called home to Derry because his mother is dying from cancer. He's using this as an excuse to get away from his Uncle, who has betrayed him. The British and RUC are still looking for him, to question him about the bombing he witnessed, so he's sneaking in using a new identity his uncle procured for him, with an Irish passport, using the life of a young man who actually died in a farming accident to fake everything up. No one knows he has no intention of returning to Houston. -------- A friend of Aunt Mari’s worked at American Express in The Galleria, so she found me the best way home. I was set to fly out of Intercontinental on B-Cal via Gatwick, then to Glasgow, where I'd catch a short-hopper to Derry’s Airport on Logan Air. It was neither fast nor cheap, but I had savings enough to cover it and was assured it was comfortable enough to catch some sleep on the long haul across the water. Uncle Sean

New World for Old

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  I've been working on the middle section of APoS , in Houston, and it's taken on a curious life of its own. Brendan's something of a fish out of water, but he's so traumatized by events in Derry that led him to be living at his Aunt's home near River Oaks, he's willing to settle in and build a new life, here. Only problem is, he's not legal. Initially, that's not a big deal. He's white, young and quiet so there's nothing about him to draw attention to himself. And his method of making money is pretty much under the table. But he's begun to show a surprising streak of anger and stubbornness that I've not seen in him before. There've been flashes of it on a couple of occasions and it comes to a head after he's attacked for dating a woman who's a mixture of black and Cajun. (I don't think that makes her Creole, but her actual ethnicity is less important than she's not white.) Doesn't help Brendan that he's not in

Working on A Place of Safety ...

 ...And working and working. I'm going through it backwards to get myself better oriented to what's going on in this sprawling Russian Novel of a story. What's fun is, it's helping me get even more vested into Brendan's life and he's letting himself reveal more of himself to me. I now am adding more of an emotional connection to the events, for him. There's one bit near the end that I was sure would stay exactly where it was, but it required Brendan to have a Hollywood moment...one I was really set on. Where he says goodbye for the last time to the girl he's always loved after imaging the kind of life he could have had with her...and it got dumped. It didn't ring true right then, and when I shifted it to later in the book, the Hollywood moment of goodbye was gone. A case of me killing a darling. I know once it's done this book will be a good 300,000 words long...which is about half the length of War and Peace . Gone With the Wind is over 420,000

Details...

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 I've got notes like crazy about all three sections of A Place of Safety , so I've been inputting them where I think they'll work best. They're partly details being added, but also moments to correct inconsistencies and set up things that will happen later in the story. They're making the areas I put them into lumpy and awkward, but next draft will be handling making the story smoother. I'm still reading and absorbing as much of the social aspects of Derry, trying to make this as true to the place as possible. There will be a lot more notes as I go along, I'm sure, but this is the process. Just keep working it until you can't, anymore...then set it aside for a month or two and do another draft before you even think of asking for feedback. I'm currently at around 230,000 words, and no question this will be a trilogy, because I'm nowhere near being done with adding to it. There's too much that needs to be addressed, and I know what I wrote abou

Brendan is arrested...

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 I'm jumping back and forth in APoS tying up inconsistencies and adding bits. I've got one section done the way I want it in Derry '81 . Brendan was almost found out by British soldiers who stopped him, but he was able to talk his way out of it. However, they're suspicious and now know where he's staying and keeping watch on the place, so he's sent word to an old friend who's IRA, seeking help. ---- Early the morning of the next day, I was in the kitchen sharing a pot of tea with that little girl, Daria, Mrs. Haggerty's grandchild staying with her as her mother set up a new life in Galway, and she was handling it in a very proper manner, too. Across from us sat her little brother, Liam, fascinated with us to the point of total silence, as was the feral cat sitting at the back door waiting for his morning milk. Why Mrs. Haggerty gave it to him was beyond me; he was hardly a beauty nor had he a genial temperament, but it was money out of her pocket, not m

Laziness ensues...

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 I didn't do jack shit, today. On anything. My mind just slammed headlong into a brick wall and I could not figure out a course of action to take to get around it. So I sat at my laptop and surfed the web and argued with some idiots about the election and achieved nothing. Maybe this is a good thing. I dunno. I just know right now I'm feeling very lazy and unfocused. I could have continued reading A Society on the Run. I could have dug into any of my dozen of other books on Northern Ireland. I could have updated a section of book one of APoS to reflect ideas I had, yesterday. But no. Well...not totally nothing. I did seek out images of a porn star named Phenix Saint. He'd be a good illustration of Vermin in Hunter . If I ever do work up an adult coloring book. I'd just need to make him blond. He falls into working with Hunter, in Book One, fulfilling orders for men. He winds up getting betrayed at the end of Book Two because he's grown lost in the game. Of course,

Slippery in meaning...

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 I'm finding what I've written for A Place of Safety is extremely simplistic and shallow. I glide past serious moments with the barest of emotional connection, which isn't really bad. I know I'll be reworking the whole set of books over and over and over until they begin to take shape. Until I find a way to delve into their meaning. And I do mean that in the plural. These three sections are separate books. The first one -- Derry -- is over 77,000 words long, and I have a lot more to do with it. The second one -- Houston -- is nearly 88,000 words. And the last one -- Derry '81 -- is working its way up to very nearly the same length. But it will be needed to get the full impact of the story, overall. While on the train coming home, last night, I realized that there are moments in this I'm not paying full attention to. For example, in Derry, Brendan's brother-in-law, Terry, is grabbed during internment, as is Brendan. Terry is brutalized by the British in

Another step closer on a 5 mile yourney

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 I know very time I read through what I've written on A Place of Safety , I should think I'm one step closer to being done. But I've still got miles to go before this book is in decent enough shape to even show to anyone for feedback, let alone publish. And I have dozens of books on the subject still to read through to get the true feel of the area...well, as true a feel as possible, considering I never lived there. Guess I'll be doing my usual slog of writing and rewriting and re-re-writing and on and on till I can't do a thing more. It's been 10 months since I last looked at this part of the book. I won't be handing it out quickly, not at that rate. Probably not for at least another year or so. I'm still digging into the characters and how to deepen them and make it say more than this simple string of events can. Not like I need to push so much, since they're fleshing themselves out, interesting. What makes it difficult is how Brendan is in a city

The joys of rewriting...

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I'm going through book two of APoS , the section set in Houston, and it's glib and surface and easy, just laying out a line to start building on...and I'm already building on it. I've added nearly 1600 words, putting it over 86,000 words long...and I'm finding aspect of it I'd forgotten about...well, I actually had to dig back into the compartments I'd slipped them into and re-familiarize myself with them. I'm back to thinking each part of APoS should  be its own book. They'll be friggin' long enough, if I do go deeper. That or I'm cutting a lot and I HATE cutting. What winds up in the story is there for a reason; sometimes it just takes me a while to see. Of course, I could be off in the wrong direction, here and there. When I was writing The Vanishing of Owen Taylor , I worked up an ending that would have been great for a Hollywood movie but jolted the book...and my MC, Jake, agreed. It became super Jake saves the day instead of Jake just

Work begins again, after beginning again, before...

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 The last three days I've been working on book 3 of A Place of Safety , when Brendan returns to Derry in April, 1981, while the hunger strikes are underway. All hell is tearing loose, despite the peace movement, and he's dealing with his mother dying of cancer and having to keep a low profile because he snuck into the country using a friend's name and passport. Naturally, it doesn't quite work out. I really need to reread the first two parts to remind myself of what has and hasn't happened, and what may need to be added in, thanks to how things are going in this book. There's a lot to digest and discuss, and having it told in first person means no omniscient author to explain it all. It has to be from Brendan's perspective, consistently. That could be a limitation in deepening the book and its meaning, but that's how Brendan wants it. I discussed shifting to third person, with him, and he was adamant it be his story and his alone, with others there to pr

Finally back on track

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 I have my new book, Hunter , set up in Ingram (paperback due out November 6th, $14.95), Smashwords (the whole story, with an additional bit, in ebook, also on the 6th), and Kindle Select ( Book 1, "When I go Hunting..." available now). We'll see how these work. I guess the next step is to update my website, even though no one pays attention to it, I also wrote some on A Place of Safety  book 3 -- Derry '81 , for NaNoWriMo. 2160 pages. A good start...and getting a hint better. Brendan is en route back to Derry in the middle of Bobby Sands' hunger strike. Not exactly the best time to return to his home, but his mother has cancer and is supposedly fading fast. He uses a friend's identity to pass through Customs Entry, and when he gets there sees he's been mislead about the seriousness of her condition. Now he's got to worry about the Royal Ulster Constabulary, the IRA, PIRA, the British Army and past acquaintances in the Protestant world swirling arou