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A**hole Island

Hey, finally post that’s not about RPG stuff, huh? 

I’m ending the first week of my month of writing time this year. This is the first time I’ve reallyt sat down and done some serious writing since 2018. I… just didn’t have it in me, somehow, in 2019, and throughout most of 2020 our son was home with us and my wife was recovering from a work-related injury for a chunk of the year, so … really, honestly, I guess I’d have to say it was some combination of there being no time and no energy.  

This year, though: we worked out a deal where I work days—like the normal semester—except I’m spending the time writing fiction, specifically trying to end a novel project. Seriously, the first day of the project was just me sort of installing Dropbox on the desktop I’m using these days, sorting through the mess of a fiction folder I have hosted there, and then trying to figure out what was a draft of what from when. 

(For that Gin Craze Era novel, there are actually five versions, and I’m not sure which—thr 3rd, 4th, alternate-4th, or 5th—is the one I need to return to when I get back to it. I think I’ll need to just export PDFs of them and skim them on my iPad. A big reading job in and of itself.)

The happy news? I’ve made good progress on A**hole Island, as you can see from the (rarely-updated) progress bar on my website. (It’s at 85% now, though I think I’m probably closer to 90% done. 

This is a novel that expands on a novella I wrote many years ago—so long ago that it was before I was married and had a kid. I expanded it into a novel back in 2018, hit a wall, and then just sort of never managed to get past it. Until now, that is.  

There’s three big things I need to do. 

  1. Work out the ending. This was something I just couldn’t make headway on, but the past week has been good for it. I wrote about 12,000 words in the past week (half of which were just me spinning my wheels and which ended up in the trash), but the result is motion toward a dramatic conclusion now, so that’s something!   
  2. Reintegrate some material into the text from an expanded opening section I ended up cutting. At some point when I was expanding it, I got it into my head that I should add some of what happened prior to the beginnning of the story in the novella, but on very good advice from a few people, I cut that again and went with the original beginning, which I think is a lot stronger. However, there’s some stuff I skipped over later on in the story because it’d been covered earlier, but which now I need to kind of get into in more detail. I think there are probably other little things, too, little asides and whatever that need to be introduced, for references to events before the start of the book to make sense.  
  3. A thorough reread/edit. Because, you know, it deserves that. 

I think I can probably do that next week.

That’ll leave me with two more weeks, which I think I’ll probably sink into a new novel project I haven’t mentioned before. It’s sort of… well, it’s kind of a mix of Office Space, Erin Brokovich, Glengarry Glen Ross, and At the Mountains of Madness. Kinda? It’s a moving target. But it’s fresh and not quite like anything I’ve written before (though it reminds me a little of the parts of James Morrow and William Browning Spencer’s work that I enjoyed, among others). So, you know, hey, I’ll go with it. Especially since it was pouring out of me a few weeks ago, when I was gearing up to start writing again. (That never hurts.)

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