Worked on chapters 16 and 17 today, almost 1900 words total. Chapter 15 is 2/3 completed and just waiting for me to decide how to handle one of the plot lines. Today’s PDF came in at 131 pages with 38,559 words. The mounting word count is both reassuring and daunting in some ways. Having never written so much so quickly is just a continuous amazement to me. But I’m loving it.
At this point I’m trying to work out the main clues, the red herrings and sequences that leads to the final confrontation, so last Friday I worked on writing the final reveal where Erich explains how and why the killings were handled. So now I’m alternating between writing scenes and trying to complete chapters in sequence as quickly as possible.
In addition, both chapters 1 and 2 have been critiqued by others necessitating some changes to clarify problems they found. Some wonderful feedback on things that I should have considered and yet never occurred to me. For example, one reader thought that Erich was too take-charge in the initial chapters. Her take was that for a ‘catering guy’ on a live set to take charge like he did just didn’t make sense. In my mind I knew why he was acting the way he was (former Marine vet, trained to react, and a reluctant leader) but I hadn’t explained that to the reader. So excellent feedback that was easy to fix.
As an aside, one of the best ways to fix grammar in a story it to read it out loud. I do that with dialogue all the time to get the cadence and words right and to hear the characters talking, but just get worn out doing longer readings aloud. Basically, you print it out, then read until something doesn’t sound right, stop, find it on the printed page, make a note of the correction, then try to regain the rythym of the story again. Rinse, repeat, rapidly run out of steam to continue. To complete the cycle you have to go into the manuscript and find and repeat the corrections so the next printing can include them.
So, I found a good solution in re-discovering the Text-to-Speech capability on my iMac. Now, I select one or more paragraphs and have it read it to me. I can sit there following along with my manuscript and make the corrections as I hear them. Much easier, much faster and with less distractions and stopping.
The Turquoise Lament by John. D. MacDonald
I also dug out my collection of Travis McGee novels by John D. MacDonald and began rereading them with an eye on how he built the story and moderated Travis’ observations. I found myself cynically commenting on issues that I consider important and that I don’t see in other novels I’ve been reading. I kind of missed those those quirky observations in today’s novels and so I dug through several packed boxes filled with unshelved paperbacks to find them. Anyway, I’m now working my way through the 5th book in the series and noting how dated they’ve become over the last several decades. They’re still wonderfully written books but with my writer’s eye some issues just jump out at me.
Still, ideally I’d like to hit a style for Erich Rambles that combines a bit of Travis McGee, some Spenser, and a bit of Parker. Who knows how close I will come to achieving that but a person can hope.