NOTEBOOK: Chapter 28 in Progress

NOTEBOOK: Chapter 28 Progress

Today we visited my favourite cafe for lunch, and I got stuck into Chapter 28. Have decided to wait until I’ve finished the whole chapter before posting it, rather than posting fragments. I would like to be as transparent and writer-under-glass as possible, but I think the practicalities of things might mitigate against full transparency. I will try to report in here to let you know what I’m actually doing and how it’s going, though.

I’ve been concerned about my productivity slowing down in recent times, and while I think this has to do with background concerns about Things going on in my family, I think it also has to do with where I’m at with this story. I’m in Act 3 now. Pieces are moving quietly into their final places. Events are shaping up. I have to really focus to pull off a good ending. Time-travel stories are, in my experience, the hardest stories to get right because at any point the characters always have the option of blipping out to any other time they might want. They don’t have to stay in any moment where things are difficult. This creates serious problems in establishing conflict and drama. And in this story there’s also a character who not only has a time-travelling mobile phone but who can also jump timelines. She doesn’t have to stay anywhere. So why does she stay here, when it’s not even her own timeline? There has to be something here that she can’t get back in her own timeline, I decided.

And around we go. I think about all this when I’m at the local pool doing laps. It helps to block out the dreadful noise that otherwise I find so distressing.

But as I say, I think my productivity is slowing because I’m in the final act. It has to be right, and that means taking painstaking care. I want it to be good. I want it to work, both as science fiction, and as fiction. I want the characters to be able to step out of the science fiction apparatus and be able to breathe on their own as people. One of the best lessons I ever learned about writing was this, that you have to write people, not characters. That plot comes from sufficiently realised characters, not the other way round. Go far enough into your characters, and they will give you all the story you need.

NOTEBOOK: Chapter 28 Delay

NOTEBOOK: Chapter 28 Delay

I’ve spent much of the day thinking about the upcoming chapter 28. It’s the beginning of Act 3, the first time Rob and Fiona really talk about their various Things and Stuff. I was at the pool today slogging out my laps while I thought about all this, and what each party in the scene is trying to get from the other, and what they have to hide, and there’s plenty of everything to go round, which is neat. Have decided that Future Bastard is going to take Fiona out for a modest lunch at a Dome cafe, and that this will prove a fateful decision, as someone from his deep past will be resurfacing to say hello, with potential to complicate things nicely. I’ve been thinking about this complication for some time now, and today I saw at last how to do it, so yay!

The other neat thing today was that I got to spend time thinking about what I’m going to include in my email to the WA Police. In each of my books since at least TIME MACHINES REPAIRED WHILE-U-WAIT (all the ones set in Perth, including BLACK LIGHT, where I got to talk to the WA Police Historian) I’ve eventually run into a situation involving the sort of question where I need to know what the real WA Police would do in that situation. In GOOD INTENTIONS, I have a naked, much-abused, hyperthermic, clinically dead, teenage boy dumped outside a hospital emergency department in the dead of night. Obviously the police are going to be called. Once the boy is revived and proves to have no memory, what then? What’s the procedure? What do the police do? For that matter, what does the hospital do? Who gets involved in finding out who the boy is? Do they take fingerprints and DNA swabs? Is there a database for this kind of thing? What do they call him if they don’t have a name for him? How does the fact that he’s obviously been grievously tortured affect things?

So I have a lot of questions I need to ask, and a lot of detailed thinking I need to do based on all that. This kind of thing is one of my very favourite parts of book-writing, because even though I’m just this guy who writes science fiction novels the WA Police have always, always been wonderful, professional, and extremely helpful. The only time there has been a problem was once, years ago, when they said a specific question about an aspect of procedure would require divulging information that is considered “classified” so they couldn’t give that away. But anything else other than that kind of thing they have only ever been too happy to help me with.

It’s been my experience with researching other questions for books, too. If you approach people who Know Interesting Things, and you present yourself politely, in a professional manner, these folks will go out of their way to help you. They are happy to talk about their field of expertise, and are often flattered to be asked. You just have to ask.

NOTEBOOK: Little Known Author is Sorry


Yesterday got kind of out of hand. Chapter 27 is a turning point chapter in the book. It has to cover several points, but I only realised which points these were gradually, over time, and that meant rewrites, adding bits, cutting other bits, and sometimes complete rewriting.

So I can see how this would make for a confusing and frustrating experience, and I am sorry about that. I’m working on finding a new, clearer way to indicate draft versions/numbers, or something so you always know, going in, where you are with the story. But if you have some helpful suggestions, do please let me know. I’m making this up as I go.

Part of the trouble is that sometimes I rewrite the entire thing from a blank page, while other times I just touch up the existing text here and there. Sometimes it just needs a new ending, or enhancements to an existing paragraph. There’s “spackling and patching” and then there’s “major eathworks”. If you you only tweak an existing chapter a little, you’d feel silly calling that a second draft. So would that be a 1.5 draft? 1.2 draft?

I do know that there are some people out there who are reading GOOD INTENTIONS, and for that I am grateful. Thank you, and I am working on ways to make this whole system work better.

Ultimate, Final, No-Kidding-This-Time, Version Chapter 27 Finished

NOTEBOOK: Final, Final, Version Ch 27 Finished–Yay

It’s after 2am, and have just done last 1000 words with one finger because other hand is busy snuggling Mrs Sweetie. Tough job, but I’m up up for it!

This chapter has seen some things today. Most of what’s gone in has been enhancing existing material, filling in obvious gaps, and character moments that add some welcome flesh to the rubbery figures otherwise running. In particular I’m pleased with how Fiona is coming along. She is seen from a wide variety of angles in different roles, and even in different timelines–and here goes mad kidnapper/hostage taker to turning up on Rob’s doorstep in need of his hospitality.

I think at this point we have now finished Act 2, so we’re entering Act 3. Much of which is going to feature a lot of Robbie in Older Rob talking out the problems they have, and Rob and/or Fiona also talking to Fiona.

In amongst all this I need to explain where Fiona got hold of all the mil-spec psy-ops gear. Which I’ve been sitting on for some time, and been waiting for a good time to bring it in. There’s this “mad as a cut snake” guy she knows (the one who imagines she owes him money) who runs a secret darkweb emporium of mil-spec blackmarker stuff called Ted’s Shed.

Anyway, this guy is basically a little jar of Plot Juice, who’s crazy and well-funded, and is geared up and prepared to do things. So he could be fun in the final act.

Anyway, this definitely final, final, final version of this chapter is cooling its heels in You Know Where, along with all the ones!

New, Better Version Chapter 27 Available Now

NOTEBOOK: New Version Chapter 27 Available

I wasn’t completely happy with chapter 27 last night so today I’ve been working on it, adding a new section at the end, and general spackling and patching throughout.

It’s also been a day when I’d just about rather be eating jellyfish on toast than writing (which is saying something for me). Hope things vim-wise pick up soon. I have a few ideas about what’s going on, so at least that’s something. Things to talk about with my many and various doctors, no doubt!

Meanwhile, if you’re at all interested, the new version of the chapter is here. Hope you like it!

NOTEBOOK: Chapter 27 Complete (Total Rewrite)

NOTEBOOK: Chapter 27, MK-ULTRA, Complete

Many years ago, when I was quite new on the Internet, I found huge depositories of documents on all kinds of interesting things. There was one about UFO research and alien abduction research that was interesting (especially for the question of why people got so worked up about them), but there was this other repository about mind-control as a form of psychological warfare, and the research behind it. I read lots and lots about this. I figured it would come in handy one day. And lo!

Hope you like it. This version of the chapter turned out way better, imho. I was as surprised as anyone to learn that Grown-Up Rob, the Future Bastard, has written a book called STATIC! Wow! Had no idea! 🙂

Usual place.

Chapter 27 Underway, and 60K!

NOTEBOOK: Chapter 27 Underway, and 60K Milestone

Tonight I embarked on chapter 27, which looks like it could be the beginning of Act 3 at last. Am not sure. Older Rob goes to visit retired Detective Longley to talk about Things and Stuff, including Top Tips for breaking and entering a house.

Tonight’s scribbling also took me past the milestone of 60K words, which pleases me very much. I’ve been aiming towards 80K-ish, but am not sure. I was also aiming to make this a YA novel, but it seems like half of it has adult narrators and points of view, so maybe it’s not. I don’t know a lot about the form. In any case, 60,000 words is an excellent total to finish the weekend on.

Usual place, and scroll allllllll the way down. It’s a loooong way!

New Complete Chapter 26 Now Available

NOTEBOOK: New, Finished Version Chapter 26 All Done

Have now completed work on chapter 26 after cutting a bunch and adding about a thousand words, mostly to the end. Now all embettered and engoodened.

Am still feeling weirdly under-chipper, though. Normally these minor-to-moderate brushes with the black dog only ever last a few days to a week, but this one has been lingering for a few weeks now. I’m feeling a definite force of friction when going about my daily business, and particularly with my writing, which I think is why there isn’t quite as much of it as there was for a while there. My aim continues to be for at least a finished piece of something each day, because I’m still trying to inculcate a daily writing habit (chop wood, carry water), even when I’m not bursting with inspiration.

I think it’s also very possible that I’m just plain tired after all the work I’ve done here these past three months without a break. So I choose to be okay with one post a day as me being on a kind of holiday.

Meanwhile, exciting new version of chapter 26 is you know where.

Chapter 26, Castaway, Now Available

Chapter 26, Castaway, Now Available

Someone dumps the clinically dead, much abused, body of a young man at the emergency department of a big hospital at 2am one night. Through heroic measures the young man’s life is saved–but he has no memory at all. No name, nothing. But he does have tonnes of unprocessed trauma, and that starts to come out. He gets moved to a psych hospital. Meets a girl named Fiona, who shouldn’t be there, and he kind of/sort of can feel the wrongness of this.

Anyway, things afoot. It’s not finished, but what’s here is already second-draft.

Have a poke in usual place.