Saturday, April 9, 2016

The Work In Progress



It took me a while to figure out what the hell it was about. Now that I've got a handle on the opening, it's like there's a member of the family waiting to ask me how the day went every time I open up the laptop. That's a very good feeling, to know that your story is waiting for you.

I am not a big believer -- anymore -- in broadcasting everything that's going on with a book I'm working on. I'm a little more wary. Anyone familiar with this blog knows that I shared a lot -- probably too much -- about JIHADI: A LOVE STORY while it was in gestation. You probably noticed that I went back and took all those old ultrasound photos off the site. With this one, I'm waiting until the baby is actually born to pass around the photos.

A novel is not like a baby in this respect, though: one has no idea what the gestation period is.

My thinking is that if I follow the thousand-word-a-day, six-days-a-week program I've set up for myself, and keep saying good morning to the thing inside me, keep taking my prenatal vitamins, I should be able to wrap a first draft up within nine months. Who knows. The kid may have other ideas, but I work best with a goal. The whole reason I'm writing this is to remind myself and the world that the goal for the completed first draft is January 15, 2017. We'll see whether the baby cooperates.

Here are the six things I am now willing to tell anyone about the WIP:

1) It uses third-person omniscient. I was all over the place on this for months. I tried third person limited, first person, and even second person. I finally landed in Victor Hugo territory, and that's what felt indisputable and right.

2) It opens with a description of a car crash. Careful. Seat belts on, please.

3) It appears to be set mostly in Massachusetts. Not Salem, though, where much of JIHADI unfolded.

4) The main action of the story takes place in 2008. The financial collapse looms.

5) It describes events that occur before the action in what now looks to be my third novel, FREED. Who knows when FREED will be finished. Its 70,000-plus words will need to wait for this to wrap  up, I've decided.

6) Islam still figures prominently. The common thread.

Right now there are about 3,000 words in the WIP that I feel good about. Fortunately, they come right at the beginning of the book, so I have a platform on which to work. In addition, I have some 60,000 epic, disorganized words in two draft files that I've generated for this second novel, some of which will be used and some of which won't. That's either inspiring or a little embarrassing. I'm an optimist, so I'm going for inspiring.

That is all the in utero news that's fit to print.

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NOW ABOUT MY FIRSTBORN NOVEL ...

To read reviews of JIHADI: A LOVE STORY, click here.

For a summary of the blog tour for JIHADI: A LOVE STORY, click here.

For an excerpt of the novel, courtesy of Orenda Books and Espresso Coco, click here.

To meet with me in London on May 4 during Truth In Fiction, click here.