Writing for today: 3,000 words.
Writing for year: 3,000 words.
Today’s project: Short story entitled “Dickens of a Tale”.
As much as I hated doing so, I had to abandon this blog early last year, and for all sorts of reasons, most of them serious. I had some health problems I talked about, such as a torn meniscus in my right knee, with accompanying surgery, and some I didn’t talk about, and won’t.
I also had a year of writing very little fiction, and somehow such things as letters to politicians, company brochures, and inventory reports did not seem like fun things to put in a blog. These thing are, however, primarily behind me now, I’m completely caught up on the slave writing, and so can concentrate on my own stories, and those of my pseudonyms. There’s still the problem of how to do this without giving away my pseudonyms, or violating a contract, but I’ve decided there’s nothing wrong with talking about writing in general, about books I read, and about keeping a daily word count of how one writer works. So that’s what I’ll do.
With one caveat. The writing of such things as inventory reports is all behind me, but for a number of reasons, I’m unlikely to write quite as much, or quite as often, this year as I usually would. I’m getting older, I have some things to do this year that will likely get in the way of writing now and then, and I have such lovely things as thrice weekly physical therapy to occupy and enliven my life. Joy. Or, I may write even more than usual. It depends on how things work out. I’m not going to sweat it, one way or the other. I’ve been at this for thirty-five years, I’ve paid my dues, and all things bow to time.
I usually do no writing at all from a day or two or three before Christmas, depending on the day of the week it falls on, until the second of January, It’s a busy period, and a time I use to refill my well. . .a small vacation, I guess. And I’m usually tired on the first. I doubt I’ve done anything that could qualify as partying more than three or four time in my life on New Year’s Eve, but I've stayed awake to see the New Year arrive since I was twelve, and did so again last night. At midnight, my traditional habit has been to go out and empty a shotgun in the air, but these last few years I’ve been content to step outside with a cup of coffee and listen to all the other revelers fire off their shotguns. I live on the outskirts of a small city, population just under 18,000, scattered out over about seven square miles. I typically hear forty or fifty gunshots from my location, but heard at least twice this many last night. This, I think, is a good thing.
Any, I broke my custom today and actually did get a full five hours of writing done. Or rewriting, in a way. About seven years ago, I wrote a mystery short story called “A Dickens of a Tale”. I didn’t like it, and for once my opinion was justified. I submitted it to every possible market I could find, and all rejected it. Not one editor even suggested a rewrite. Eventually, I ran completely out of markets and shelved the thing. Then, about three years ago, I tossed the hardcopy and deleted the story from my computer. But it’s a story that wouldn’t leave me alone. Or the basic premise wouldn’t leave me alone. Then, last Sunday, while watching football, it popped into my head again, and I knew I really wanted to write a new version.
I started writing about nine this morning, and wrote until eleven thirty, getting about 1,500 words organized into appropriate sentence. Then I broke for an hour and half for lunch and a too short walk out in the brutal north wind, started writing again about one, and added another 1,500 words by three thirty, finishing the story. This version is a thousand words shorter than the original, but it’s richer in detail, has a much better protagonist, and a better storyline. I’m still afraid this is going to be one of those stories that never sell because it isn’t your usual mystery, it does not have a typical protagonist, and I’m not even sure it’s believable. I do, however, think it’s a heck of a lot better than the first version was. I’ll get it into submission in a day or four, as soon as I figure out where the heck to start, and we’ll see how it goes.
James A. Ritchie