Erupted into teeth

Continuing from the previous post, word clouds for the first five chapters hint at the change in focus as the story progresses.

Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Chapter 5

So, work continues — albeit slowly. After a few big gaps I’m going to have to recalculate my timetable for this book and set new goals for myself. That’s a problem that I need to deal with; something gets in the way of a project, plans don’t work out, and so I shrug and meander and limply toy with the idea of picking it back up again. But shit happens; I need to just adapt. It’s time to get serious again.

On that note, big thanks to Kyle Maurer for his support. It’s all a-comin’! Don’t you fret.

The Internal Coquette

We’re at 15000 words. Chapter three still has some life, though. As I said, the estimate is very rough. I find it interesting how the scenes and the dialog keep dancing around the connections that I want to make, often flirting openly: “Almost, but not yet! You’ve got to work for it!” In the interim, scenes grow and characters play through their own natural forces. It’s all for the best. It’s the tease that keeps me going.

Since the start of this chapter I have been listening to WBGO, 88.3 FM. I have my reasons. It’s been a while since I have listened to jazz, or to the radio. If you’re going to do it, might as well do it in the middle of the night.

Structure by Faith

This chapter started in a weird place, and now has wrapped its way back to reality. There is something to be said for keeping one’s eyes on the horizon and having faith in the tendency for a story to end up where it needs to be. I am now feeling more confident than ever that this project is going to work out the way I want it to.

Although from here I will offer only slim hints at the book’s content, I can’t help but share a particular sentence:

Colin viewed his neighbor’s feet with detachment.

That’s it, then. Goodnight folks.

Except that’s not it. I need to send out a huge thank-you to my friend Brady Hartel for his support of this project. He is due a fun bundle o’ junk when the process reaches that stage.

On a related note, you will see a few new details to your left: progress meters both for the novel (based on a rough guess of 300 pages) and for funding (based on rough estimates of expenses), and a tidy space to memorialize all contributors to this project.

Thank you all for your continued interest, and again for whatever help you can provide.

Auto Focus

Despite my early hang-ups with chapter two, I am now only one page behind in my daily schedule. The words have been flowing, and I have decided to ignore any imperfections until the next go around. That’s a piece of advice I wish had been drilled into me from an early age: writing is writing, and editing is editing. When writing, remember that there will always be another draft. All you’re doing now is laying down the raw material for later. Without that material, you’ll have nothing to edit.

For the fun of it, let me introduce you to some of the key characters. The first few pages introduce more names than the first episode of The Wire, and the story takes a while to clarify them all. Here, then, is some of the core cast.

  • The central, or most featured, character is a mechanic named Bill. He has only lived in the area for a few years. Before then he worked in Oakland. Between the two car cultures, Bill feels a bit more useful in Brooklyn. Bill is a quiet, practical man. He has his principles, and will stand up for people where he can. Otherwise he minds his business, keeps his head down, and loses himself in his work.
  • Colin Drumlin works alongside Bill. At night he chases a futile music career, and he usually feels it in the morning. He also feels it in his stomach. Colin tends to cocoon his insecurity in a warm blanket of irony, that helps him to fit in with the Bushwick crowd.
  • Gary is the absentee owner of Gary’s Auto, employer to Bill and Colin. When the shop’s manager checks out unannounced, Gary is forced to take over day-to-day operations. He’s drowning, and he has no one to blame. For now Bill’s mission is to avoid becoming that target, and maybe to deflect Gary from the lower-hanging fruit.
  • The lowest at the moment may be the manager’s younger brother, Omar. He’s green, and he makes Bill seem like a chatterbox. Though he may have no defense against Gary, Omar sees everything and remembers most of it. In his own time and his own way, he will always find a creative way to respond.

Mind you, everything I say here is provisional. The first two chapters introduce at least another four or five characters, any of whom may grow or diminish in value. For now, though, this should give you something to gnaw over.