My Writing Trends – and a Couple Cartwheels

First, the cartwheels. I have just finished a very rough first draft of the first book in my fantasy detective series, Frames. Now I set it aside for a week, and remind myself to savor the sense of accomplishment. Then the real work begins, as I read through it, make notes, then revise.

This is my fourth novel.

Having completed this draft of Frames, I see some encouraging trends:

TIME NEEDED TO FINISH THE FIRST DRAFT:

Longest time: first novel – 7 years!!  I had issues with writer’s block. Eventually forbid myself from rewriting or rereading the prior day’s work.

Shortest time: fourth novel – 8 months – aided by time in bed recovering from surgery, where I wrote the second half in 7 weeks.

LENGTH OF FIRST DRAFT MANUSCRIPT:

Longest first drafts: novels 1 and 2. Editing required deletions.

Shortest first drafts: novels 3 and 4. Editing required additions.

 My novels, in reverse chronological order, are:

Frames, Book 1: Nica of Los Angeles. First book in a fantasy detective series that is a missing person case in this dimension, a battle between good and evil elsewhere. Available probably by the end of this year.

Scar Jewelry. A coming-of-age drama about a family with secrets, set in the present and in the 1970s punk scene in Los Angeles. Now available as an ebook and trade paperback.

?Was It A Rat I Saw?, a psychological thriller involving a series of murders, real-life split brain research, animal rights, and a love quadrangle.  Now available as a serial, soon available as an ebook and trade paperback. A few hardcover copies from the first edition are still findable on-line but I hope you buy one of the new editions instead!

Headliners, a character study about rock fans who travel the country to follow the tour of a life-altering opening band. Coming next year as an ebook.

A Novella of Unknown Trends

I also wrote a detective novella, which I cannot add to these trends because I remember nothing about the writing of it, except that at the time I was the mother of toddler twins:

C.R.I.M.E. Science, Book 1: The Beginning follows a misfit group of scientists and techies who investigate the death of a volcanologist. Set in Eugene, Oregon circa 1999. Available as an ebook and trade paperback. Next book in the series will be in Los Angeles in 2014.

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DIY Writing Career

The latest Weekly Photo Challenge focuses on nostalgia and these photos conjure nostalgia in so many ways!

Fake fur chair by a Los Angeles designer named Harry. Back in those days, I worked in Hollywood and supported only me, so I had money for such things.

My writing room. Tile floor by me. Fake fur chair by Los Angeles designer Harry Segil. Back in those days, I worked in Hollywood and supported only me, so I had money for snazzy chairs.

In these photos is a tile floor I laid myself. Laying the floor took a long time, but not nearly so long as coming up with a design I liked. When I did the floor, I listened over and over to two record albums by my favorite band  the Replacements: Tim, which had just come out, and Let It Be.  There is still a bit of grout on the LP labels.

This was the room where I did my writing, and I wanted it to be special. I furnished it during the first of the mid-century revivals. I loved writing in that room. It was here that I wrote my psychological thriller about split brain research*,  ?Was It A Rat I Saw?, under contract to Bantam-Doubleday-Dell. BDD gave me an advance to write ?Rat?, so for a year, my only job was writing. Bliss!

I published ?Rat? then I stopped writing novels for a long time, until I resumed with Scar Jewelry, my novel about family and music, which I wrote on weekend mornings in between everything else. I had forgotten how great it is to have writing as my only work, until the last couple weeks:  I am laid up convalescing after hip replacement surgery and am getting a ton of writing done. More bliss! In fact, I expect to complete a first draft of my new fantasy detective novel, Frames, before I have to return to the d-a-y  j-o-b.

I am writing Frames on my iPad, as I recently posted. I wrote ?Rat? on a technology of equal or surpassing greatness, the IBM Correcting Selectric typewriter. Kids, you had to be there to appreciate it.

More of my tile floor, and the world's greatest writing machine: the IBM Correcting Selectric typewriter.

More of my tile floor, and the world’s greatest writing machine: the IBM Correcting Selectric typewriter.

P.S. Contrary to what this image shows, the desk did stand plumb with the floor. I “digitized” these old prints by photographing them with my phone and that introduced the skew.

*P.P.S. Another post-op project has been to convert ?Was It A Rat I Saw? to an e-book. That new edition should be available in 4-6 weeks.

P.P.P.S. Harry still makes amazing furniture, worth an oogle regardless of your price range.