Monday, January 28, 2013

A week's vacation but 'The Fracking War' raged even in my absence

NUEVO VALLARTA, Nayarit, Mexico - Sometimes when I am reading a really good book, I actually slow myself down because I know it's near the end and I just don't want the experience to be over.

In writing The Fracking War, it's been kind of the opposite, in that I want to write more and more, faster and faster, so I can get the thing going ahead to find out what's going to happen.

This past week, I slowed things down with a week's vacation - a terrifying notion because in books'  past, I have lost the thread of the narrative and left them (three in all) 90-percent finished. Maybe I'll pick them up after The Fracking War draft is done and get that last 10 percent in their drafts.


A little pepper spray spices up a protest scene in The Fracking War
The thread of the narrative wasn't lost this time because I have been meticulously outlining chapter by chapter. (Ok, if you know me, you know that's an exaggeration.) But I have been good about outlining in broad strokes about how I want to keep the plot moving.

Good thing.

When I came back to the computer and writing today I would have been lost for sure without the notes. But instead I picked up the story right where I left off and banged out 3,000 words by lunchtime.

That's a personal-best record by the way. And, upon rereading a few minutes ago, the 3,000 will stand with only some minor editing. A character named Luther Burnside I mistakenly turned into Luther Burbank by accident. My character is not a related to the famous botanist. Hmmm... now there's another subplot idea...

I am perhaps eight chapters short of where I thought I would be today (even with the burst of words this morning) but now that I know how this segment ends and what lies in Part IV, perhaps it's as simple as putting one word after another.


Saturday, January 19, 2013

The Fracking War draft enters its fourth - and final - phase

NUEVO VALLARTA, Nayarit, Mexico - By the end of next week, God willing and the scorpions leave me alone, I should be starting the fourth segment of The Fracking War.

The third segment has about five chapters left to write. There is some death and destruction, a love interest and a nasty, nasty twist that has the bad guys itching like someone put fiberglass powder in their jockstraps.

Hydrofracking-related explosion
For the record, that's not what happened. What happened is waaaaaay worse.

The hardest part about this book has been forcing myself to sit and bang out a chapter or two per day. Every three or four days I do planning for the next week, sketching out the chapters based on what has just happened.

What, I don't know what's happening in my own book?

No, frankly. The damned characters are running this show.

Plus there are so many distractions here. You would think that carving out three or four hours a day would be simple. It isn't.

Today we did a whale-watching tour during normal writing time. But it wasn't a total loss. I came up with a possible wild finish for the book while watching the male whales in hot pursuit of a female.

Humpback whales speed dating
I said it was a possible wild finish.

That's the update for today. Sunday is normally a day of rest but duty calls next week. Adm. Fox and I are leading an entourage to Arroyo Seco and I will likely lose five or six days or writing in the process.

If I'm lucky, I won't have to reread the other three segments (about 60,000 words) to get up to speed on the story.

If I do, I hope it's interesting reading.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Fiction-writing contest entry in - whew, what a ride!

NUEVO VALLARTA, Nayarit, Mexico - My contest entry in the Writer's Weekly 24-hour short story fiction contest is off - sent via email an hour ago.


You receive a prompt from WW, then have to spin off a story from that. It can be very loosely based on  the original prompt, but has to still relate. Somehow.

The exercise reminds me of those comedy shows where you hand someone a banana, a banjo and a box of Tide and tell them to weave the three into a series of jokes.

My story came in just under the 900-word limit and I was pleased with it. Thank God the contest was only 24-hours. I could have farbled around with it for days.

If my story wins a prize, I'll send out the link to it. If not, well, I'll post it here for perusal.

And then you will see what the photo below had to do with what I wrote.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

The Fracking War holiday respite over, back to the trenches

NUEVO VALLARTA, Nayarit, Mexico - The Christmas, post-Christmas, right-through-New-Years-day holiday from drafting The Fracking War ends tomorrow and the characters will have to get back into character so I can reignite the plot.

I suspect they will be slow to take their places, but once launched, they will go through their paces.
Natural gas well - a butt-ugly blight on the landscape

As it is, all during this brief respite-from-writing holiday, I kept reading news accounts and blogs and reports that all scream about the disaster known as hydrofracking. The PR firms and various paid PR guns for the gas companies are fighting a losing battle against a rising tide of anti-fracking activists.

One particularly obnoxious organization called Energy In Depth Marcellus has been cranking out lies so outrageous it's amazing even pro-hydrofracking people believe the drivel.

And then there is the movie Promised Land starring Matt Damon, among other excellent actors.

I hope to get a look at the film next month. But I suspect it is an excellent film - Energy In Depth and most of the gasbags supporting hydrofracking are frothing at the mouth when they talk about it.

Well, what the frack...