2012-10-29

10-29-2012: The Perils of Not Outlining

Last week, I spent a great deal of time thinking about a tiny piece of my current work in progress.  It revolves around how a potential enemy could gain access to an unsecured link into the military's communication network.  Because of my work schedule, I didn't get any writing done - just a lot of thinking. By the time Saturday rolled around I still had not solved the problem but while thinking about it my subconscious had been busy revising what I had previously written.  Saturday is the day we usually go to the bookstore.  I write and drink wonderful coffee while my wife reads.  I fired up the laptop, opened up Scrivener, and started re-reading the last few paragraphs to get the creative juices flowing.  That's when my brain informed me that the plot needed a bit of action and I would have to throw out most of what I had written last weekend.  Even though I've ended up rewriting the last two chapters, my subconscious was right and the story is better with the new material.

Peacekeeper is starting to solidify into a respectable novel.  I have a whole list of things I need to go back and fix but I won't work on those until the rest of the story is complete.  With my work schedule of late and the holiday season upon us, it's going to be a challenge to finish the first draft before I start working 6 days a week, 12 hours a day for the refuel outage.  I will do my best.  As for retirement - I seriously doubt I will be retiring any time soon so slow writing will just have to continue.

I've said this before, I don't do outlines.  The story pretty much comes to life as I sit at the computer.  Often, this way of writing can result in the destruction of previously written material to make the story better.  I've tried outlining, it doesn't work for me.  The human brain is a marvelous hunk of complexity and it works in mysterious ways.  I've come to trust that little voice I hear every so often because more often than not it's right.  I also know that when I'm 'in the groove' and the words are flowing off my fingers as fast as I can type, I might, at times, discover that I'm writing something I never planned.  Instead of stopping to figure out what the heck is going on, I just keep writing.  I love it when I can surprise myself.

Yesterday, I dropped by Createspace to change the cover on "Off Course".  I discovered two things: 1) Createspace has a new distribution channel which I did not know about - I signed on.  2) My prices were way too high.  I went through every single book and dropped the prices as low as I could while still making a tiny profit.  I'm surprised someone hadn't said something about such high prices.  I think Createspace must have lowered their production cost allowing me to sell the books at a much lower price.  If you want to buy a printed copy - check out the new prices.

In other news, we have taken over custody of two very lovable outdoor cats.  They're brother and sister.  I love cats but I'm also allergic to them which means that even though they are allowed in the house they will be spending the majority of their time outdoors.  For the summer, we bought them each a small cat house where they can sleep during the night.  For the winter, I built them a house.  I took a child's playhouse, set it on a platform, sealed up the openings with plexiglass, insulated it, put up a shelf for them to sit and look out the window, installed a small thermostatically controlled heater, and gave them a heated pad to sleep on.  It took some training but they now use the cat door without any problems.  Late last night I discovered a flaw in my design - I forgot to caulk the edge.  The carpet inside the house is soaking wet because of all the rain we've had.  It wicked in from around the edges.  A dry floor was installed and caulking will be done first thing in the morning before I head to work (I'm on second shift this week).