Last week I fired off an angry screed about our species and the horrors we perpetrate upon each other. It was an accurate reflection of at least some ways I think about human history and our present state of affairs. Problem is, how the hell do I follow up something like that?
While I might not know exactly what I’m going to write the next day when I work on my Matt Jacob novels, there are at least general parameters, an ongoing storyline and characters. So sitting down to write isn’t entering a dark tunnel bereft of ideas. In fact, (and I may have mentioned this before) I use a Hemingway device to help me along. Never stop writing at the end of a chapter, paragraph, or sentence. Makes it easier to get back into the flow. I also start each day editing from the very first sentence to the middle of the unfinished one. Takes a lot longer to write the book, but helps keep consistency of plot and tone as well as making certain that every single word has a purpose.
When I first began these posts, I discovered that my usual writing approach was useless since each of the columns were of a piece. And every piece was a stand-alone with rare exceptions. This was a totally new type of writing for me.
So when I opened the website and the Just sayin’ section, I made a conscious effort to think of subjects I could do justice to in about 800-1000 words. In the beginning there were a barrel full of ideas and issues I wanted to pursue. A couple of years later, ideas are not nearly as plentiful. This led to mixing in some fictional conversations and arguments and eventually creating my Interviews With The Dead.
I gotta tell you, I love working on that series. I know it isn’t feasible or even desirable to limit Just sayin’ to the Interviews With The Dead series, but doing them is really a lot of fun. I think about expanding the ones I’ve published and writing enough of them to turn them into an eBook. That’ll be a cool project, but the fourth Matt Jacob will come first.
Originally, I had planned to hit the publicity mill at full steam when the first three were up and for sale. Instead, I decided to wait until TIES THAT BLIND went up as well. The first three Matt Jacob novels had all been published in hard and softcover before they became eBooks, but TTB had never seen the light of day because I pulled it from the house when I left the legacy world. And it’s been waiting for a long time while I worked as a jury and litigation consultant.
It waits no more. Although I think it is the best of my novels, in order to bridge the time gap I’ve been making some significant revisions, one reason it has taken so long to publish as an eBook. And while I hope to have it up in a couple of months, a book (like any construction process) often has missed deadlines. Especially true for those that are self-imposed.
I’m enjoying the work but dread the day I have to turn my attention to slicing through the cacophony of the internet in the hope that the books will be bought and read. Not my strong suit but I will have some great help.
So what is this post really about other than sharing some tradecraft and future plans?
Honestly, it’s become a bridge to create some distance from last weeks’ column. It seemed ridiculous to simply find a story to write about, a book, movie, or play to review. (Though I have to admit that some of last weeks’ intensity had to do with watching an outstanding one man show of The Iliad. As one reviewer put it, not only were the Troy wars focused upon, but rather how wars in general just seem to be inevitable.)
I could have asked a guest columnist to stand in for me this week but I had to build this particular bridge since my mad has dissipated and I intend to reboot and begin fresh with next week’s post.
Who knows? I might even get summoned to interview another dead person.
How do I work? I grope. ~Albert Einstein