I am going over the most recent draft of The Gnostic and doing my second-to-last edit. I am slicing and dicing words away with ruthless efficiency. The point is to convey the story in the clearest terms, not to add to the final word count. If you find you need more word count, add more story, not more words.
I am watching the movie Lunopolis for the third time. It has time travel, people living on the moon, and layers of conspiracy theory. Check out this cult film and I promise you will be entertained!
Critics largely gave this movie negative reviews, and it has 46% on Rotten Tomatoes, but I love Beyond the Black Rainbow. It’s hallucinogen-fueled new age spiritualism gone horribly awry set in 1983 using 80’s visuals through modern film technique. It has a really slow pace, but I keep wanting to see what comes next. The dialogue is sparse but effective, and delivered with blunt madness by Michael Rogers. The soundtrack is amazing, and really builds the tension with electronic buzz-drones.
This movie is a direct influence on Locked and Loaded. It really takes the whole consciousness expansion thing in a dark direction. I like the idea of guys like John C Lilly and Timothy Leary being right, but in ways they never expected. That is a major theme throughout Locked and Loaded.
The movie uses a lot of context to explain things, but it is not subtle about it. I like that.
I finally broke out of my 3 month writing slump over the past couple of days by adding a some chapters to The Gnostic: Initiate. I realized a few months ago that I hadn’t written any chapters dedicated to the primary antagonist’s point of view. I got started on that, and let me tell you, this dude is creepy.
So what am I doing when I’m not writing? Well, let me quote a little bit of the old Hemingway.
I learned never to empty the well of my writing, but always to stop when there was still something there in the deep part of the well, and let it refill at night from the springs that fed it.
I mull a lot of my ideas over quite a bit. I consider and reconsider plot lines, and come up with methods to keep track of everything. I think about the writing structures I am using. I use a fairly different system when writing on The Gnostic than I do when I am writing on Locked and Loaded. I am finding that the system I use on the back end to organize myself deeply impacts the style and structure of the novel.
At any rate, I am writing again. It’s a funny thing when the switch flips back to On. Then the words just seem to flow.
I am wrapping up chapter 20 of Killshot. I also had a massive conceptual breakthrough and wrote up a lot of notes that really explain a lot of what is happening on the back end. I added a whole new spreadsheet workbook to track minor plot progressions, as well as fleshed out the Ketamine Conspiracy’s hierarchy. The Locked and Loaded series is becoming increasingly weird.
A beacon for the sinister
I go, I flow
This is not the only life
I will ever know
Speaking words within words
Penned in lonely prisons
I am reading the Greater Key of Solomon with the intent of working some of the ideas I find there into my own writing. It would work in The Gnostic, and probably Locked and Loaded. I am also putting a lot of thought into a fantasy project where it would work perfectly.
On another note, I’ve been thinking about practice. I finished the first rewrite of The Gnostic, and am halfway through the second rewrite. I set it aside for a couple of months to get started on Killshot, and get my head off of it so I can look at it later with fresh eyes. I often wonder if my writing is any good; it’s a common enough anxiety for budding authors. I’m not sure The Gnostic is there, or ever will be without massive reconstructive surgery, but I have to admit, the latest version is far and away so much better than the first draft.
I have also advanced in terms of organization. A lot of writers use outlines and lots of notes, or so I’ve heard. I use spreadsheets. I use tons of spreadsheets. I have the entire Locked and Loaded series mapped out in one spreadsheet, including all of the story arc information, what happens at what point in each novel, and each chapter summary for each novel. There are a lot of worksheets and each one of those has a lot of columns. Still, it’s not hard to follow.
All of that said, I hope I’m not a talentless hack! That would suck.
It’s been eight days since I posted about outlining my first Locked and Loaded novel, Kill Shot. Here I am now posting that I have just wrapped up the ninth chapter in that book. Kill Shot is coming together in a fairly cohesive manner; I guess the system I have developed works really well for me, and as it stands now I might be able to release a novel every six months. With the massive hurdle of keeping everything organized out of the way I can now focus on my writing style. It needs some work. That said, it’s just another benchmark on my way to… well wherever it is that this thing is going. I think not stopping is probably crucial!
I am taking a break away from The Gnostic and writing the outline for the first Locked and Loaded novel, Kill Shot. between The Gnostic, Locked and Loaded, and two other series projects I have lined up, I am not going to run out of things to write. Ever.
The second rewrite of The Gnostic is going great, and I hope to be done by the end of the year. The first rewrite was really a complete top to bottom writing of a second book using the same characters, overall plot, and reworked scenes. I guess in that sense I have written two novels already. The first draft was terrible, and will never see the light of day, though. Really terrible. At any rate, rewriting now is more like molding clay than engineering a complete building. I’m just reworking existing material to make it flow, read better, and include more detail.
I’m also making Trudy crazier.