Friday, November 13, 2009

Author's Interlude: Progress and Process

When I wrote the title of this blog entry it felt weird to refer to myself as an author.  Usually I just think of myself as a writer, or more accuratley these days as a story teller since I work in theater and help others tell their stories as well.  Occasionally I think of myself as a novelist.  I don't walk around thinking that my lack of success ever affects my standing as an "author".  I wonder why.

Today I gained another couple of followers and I'm up to seven.  I appreciate that.  Not all of them are actively reading this, but I know they intend to.  Two of my readers, my sister Rochelle and Nicole Miller, are both reading on an active basis and tell me they are excited to read the next chapter.  I'd forgotten how much fun it was to write in a serial format and have people actively waiting for the next part. 

I have only fourteen chapters, as of now, and the next one will be posted tomorrow.  That means my reserve of backup chapters is spent.  Unless I write more tonight, and I may, I'll be up against a deadline every day.  It may be good for me, but I'm entering tech week directing a play this week and it'll add stress as well as satisfaction to my writing.

As to the writing, I've never done this before.  As my dear Courtnee reads these entries, a lot of what she sees is the errors instead of the story.  Some of my readers will have that experience and won't be able to appreciate the story until it's cleaner.  That's fine and I totally understand that.  Most of the writing that I share with people is at least the 1.5 version, that is the first draft plus tidying up.  The idea of writing via blog was to brain dump so I've done the least amount of tidying possible just so the damn thing is readable.  This is me at my most raw and a great way I can give my readers insight into my process.

The origin of this story came more than a year ago when I started working as a medical transcriptionist.  Again.  I did it for about a year, until this April.  My initial idea for writing this book, which is more a thriller than a mystery, as there's no whodunnit, was to crank it out furiously over last Labor Day weekend.  I can't remember what prevented me, but something got in the way.  I've often fantasized about doing a novel in a short period of time and seeing what I came up with.  My standard format of a mystery ala Elegy would not work, as it's a slower process.  But I liked the idea of writing a book that would read really quickly, at least partly because I wrote it the same way.  I have a few more of those ideas tucked away and I look forward to digging into them.

This book idea, which is saved on my desktop as "medial records" with a typo from Medical that I've never bothered to fix, started with almost my first day of transcribing.  I typed up a psychology report on a guy who'd been jumped and beaten on Capital Hill, here in Seattle, and who had some kind of PTSD.  It wasn't expressly stated in the report, but the implication, to me, was that it was a hate crime.  He had barely left his house since.  I wanted to go find him and give him a hug and I easily could have, as I had his medical file, which had an address in it.  Then the light went on.  If I could, anyone in my position could.  At the time I was thinking or reading about the Green River killings, and body dumps, and the two ideas met and voila, novel idea.  The medical records have played much less of a role than I thought they would so far, and it's been fascinating to see how this base of an idea has played out over 40+ pages at this point. 

When I am done, I will have a novel.  I will likely email the ending to my readers so I have a marketable novel left over instead of a whole thing available for free, but working under deadline and for people I know are waiting and letting the story evolve as I write it has been rewarding, and it's exciting.  It's a challenge and it has been a long time since I really, deliberately threw myself a challenge. 

Thanks for following along, it's truly appreciated.


  1. You're welcome.

    I see the story through the typos, it just takes longer and more effort to get there because of how they derail.

    Also - you promised yourself you'd write every day. So write today, like you said you would.

    Love you

  2. OK, I'll try this following thing.

  3. My first time following also! And I love having a new chapter to look forward to each day. I also have no issue with the typo's though I have seen a few which means they must be reasonably bad for me to see them. I think its great to be able to share it with people as its newly born if you will, rather than after you have gone over it over and over editing. Love you!

  4. I's late to the game, but I'm getting caught up. I hate the holidays. I'm really digging it all so far.