Back to Work
It’s just been me and the dogs here at home this weekend. I took the opportunity to focus on me. My partner would say I do that all the time. He’s right. But when he’s not around, I really indulge myself.
I could accomplish more without the dogs pestering me. They insist I stop whatever I’m doing to play with them, feed them, or take them outside when I’m trying to focus on something else. It’s their way of saying, “your always thinking about something else. Play with us!” They make me smile and remind me that there’s more to life than the recliner and the MacBook Air that stays open on my lap when I’m home.
No doubt you’ve noticed recent changes to the blog that I hope make your reading experience more interesting and enjoyable. There’s more work to be done. I’m still trying to figure out how things work and what they do. After I finish, I’ll get bored and change it all up again. For now, I like the way the super clean format makes the new features stand out.
With that done, I’m out of reasons not to get serious about my next writing project. I’ve got lots of half-baked and barely-conceived ideas, and have thought about the pros and cons of each. I’ve finally decided my next novel will be be the prequel about Philip Potter, uncle of Thad Parker, the love interest of Josh Freeman, the main character in Until Thanksgiving.
The working title is After Christmas Eve because of an event from Philip’s past mentioned in Until Thanksgiving. I wrote a paragraph laying out the central conflict of the book which eventually became the blurb. As I was thinking about it, I imagined how the first three chapters would look. I sat down with my MacBook and knocked out a three page synopsis of the story all the way through to the end.
Except for Philip, any characters from Until Thanksgiving make only cameo appearances in After Christmas Eve. The part of the story people would know from reading the first book all happens in the first three chapters of the new book. The real story involves a totally different cast of characters. Here’s the current draft of the blurb:
Homeless gay boys, forced to sell themselves to survive on the streets of DC, are vanishing into thin air. But Philip Potter’s attempts to interest local police fall on uninterested ears. Getting the public interested in the disappearance of black hookers would have been easier, hard as that could be. By the time the police get involved, the bodies of half a dozen hustlers and transsexual hookers have turned up on the banks of the river.
The blurb contains only the essential elements of the plot because that’s really all I have right now. The details need to be fleshed out, like where and when things take place. I’m thinking it’s going to be D.C. in the 60s. But the overall story is finished. Now I just need to write it.
Writing the synopsis was easy. It’s a quick and dirty trip through the major highlights of the story. It includes a paragraph about each of the first three chapters, the point of view each will come from, and key plot points and how they’ll be revealed through to the end of the story. It’s not quite an outline, but making it one won’t take much more work.
Writing the memoir came down to putting on paper what I could remember about my past. Then I started the novel without any idea of what I was doing, where the story would end up, or even who the major characters would be. Making it up as I went along worked, but it meant spending a lot of time backing up to insert connections to newly added plot points.
With both the memoir and the novel, coming up with a blurb and a synopsis was the hardest parts of the submission process. Not this time. I’ve got the hard parts done before the first word of the novel has been written. I’m excited about the work yet to come. The writing part is fun.
Next I need to develop the characters. Right now, except for Philip, they don’t even have names. Before I write the first word, I need to know exactly what they look like, how they talk, the kind of clothes they wear, where they went to school, how they lost their virginity, if they’re good with money or not, their role in the story, and how they’re going to react to major events mentioned in the synopsis.
Will the story change from what I have in the synopsis? Most definitely it will. The characters in Until Thanksgiving told me things about themselves that became important parts of the story. I’m sure the same will happen with After Christmas Eve. There’s still a lot of work to do, and plenty of wiggle room for new plot twists. But at least I have a plan, and that’s a lot more than I could have said yesterday here in…
My Glass House