Now that that's over with:
America's long nightmare is very nearly over. No, no that one, although I think the sigh of relief on Nov. 9 will be audible from Jupiter. I'm talking instead about the fact that this week (in fact, today or tomorrow) I will begin writing a new novel, and the period of inactivity since I turned in my last one will be blissfully done.
So let me say, I'm back! And that's good for America. Because whichever way you're voting, you don't want me hanging around with nothing to do.
I can't tell you anything about the story I'm about to start--yet--but suffice it to say it'll be good to be back at work. I've told you before that I get antsy when there's no work in progress, and nothing I could have started in the last, what, two months? was holding my interest enough to continue. So thanks to Josh and his hard work, I'm back in the saddle (a stupid metaphor) and am concocting story lines even as we speak.
We're not really speaking. I'm typing this a couple of days before you're reading it, unless you read it at some later date or... this is getting complicated. You know what I mean.
Anyway, it'll be a relief of sorts to get into the 1,000-word-a-day habit again. Except that I'll need to come up with that thousand words a day, which is always something of a brain teaser. See, I've often described my work as "comedy with a mystery in it," and I believe in that, but the fact is, those mystery plots are not easy to devise or maintain. That's the rough part of this job.
It was once noted (and I have before quoted) by Joseph Mankiewicz that "the difference between life and the movies is that a script has to make sense, and life doesn't." The same is true in every kind of storytelling. Every notion that comes across my feverish little brain while I'm punishing my keyboard for not coming up with the ideas itself has to add up. I can't throw a plot point out there, decide it's not anything, and just leave it hanging. I can't include some outlandish story twist and never explain it. I have to keep all this stuff in my head for the period of months while writing the thousand words a day.
And being a "pantser" from way back (I grew up in Way Back, New Jersey), I don't worry about the plot holding water in advance. I just try to get through the day's assignment. Often the best plot points come when I'm just trying to find the end of the chapter and keep the reader interested enough to start the next one. I've written myself into many a corner that way, and then had to fight my way out. Some of those are the best story points I've ever written.
Nonetheless I'm looking forward to starting up again, and maybe I'll do that as soon as I finish writing this post. Except... how am I going to start this time?