The Day the Lights Went Out at Mission

Today was my last day of working on Mission Street – for now.  Our company is moving, and the move will pit me eversomuch closer to home.  Assuming no shortcuts, I now work four blocks away from where I live, which isn’t the same as being a full-time professional writer, but it might be an intermediate step.

As if today was full of symbolic gestures, the lights went out.  Power was down for about 8,000 people.  Though the lights flickered on for another ten minutes, power went down for what seemed like for good around 3:15 and it was still down when I bailed at 4:30.  Though our IT manager is still there putting stuff away (as is the guy who neglected to box anything until the power outage forced him to do so), the lights went out both literally and figuratively at that location.

I wasn’t able to take a lunch today because there was so much going on at work, so I felt justified in leaving early (when there was nothing to do, even if we did have power) — and yes, I did help the IT manager a little.  When I returned home, there was a happy coincidence.  A UPS truck was in my usual parking spot, but I didn’t see the driver.  My heart was flip-flopping from thinking that he was just taking a rest in the truck to thinking that he was delivering very precious cargo.  I didn’t have a chance to investigate, as I needed to find a parking spot – and quickly.   However, I soon found out that it was as I had hoped.  I know own a proof copy of “Big Man,” and will make sure that my wife reads it as I (a) try to market my first novel and (b) get started on novel number three.

It’s amazing how you can get further and further away from something and forget the intent that was behind it.  This is true for my first novel, Absconded by Sin.  I’ve spent so much time with that plot that it’s like coming back to an old friend.  At the same time, I had plans to prep it in a certain way, to create letters of inquiry, treatments, and pitches, and much of that plan has escaped me.  As I reread a few references and test the waters, I’m sure that it will come back to me.

Until then, my company’s move stands as a symbolic breaking point.  I’m done with the part of Big Man where everything is done behind the metaphoric door; I’m ready for the part where I blast the door off of the hinges with Absconded by Sin; and I’m ready to close the door and get back to the craft with my third novel.

I always try to discuss a little bit of the craft of writing in my blogs.  It doesn’t always come out that way, but the intent is usually there.  The arrival of the Big Man proof spurred a conversation about next steps.  As I’ve written here, the next steps for Absconded by Sin are murky at best.  It will require research, some trial and hopefully relatively little error.  I liked how Absconded by Sin turned out and I think that I had more initial confidence for my finished first draft than I do for Big Man.   Because of this, I’m going to try to incorporate how I approached that novel into Larry Brooks’ form of architecting.  As done with Absconded by Sin, this third project will have several of its characters tightly formed and developed before the project gets under way.  It will also have a clearly structured plot.  I have been working separately on outlining aspects of characterization and writing a copious amount of notes regarding the plot.  My plot notes are far more organized than my outlining; does that mean that my character outlines are far more in depth than my plot notes?  Little by little, I will make sure that I cover character motivations, personal demons or struggles, and backstory.

As I’ve set this post down and returned to it several times, I realize that I should have outlined this post first.  In a way, this is perfect, as it leads me to my final question.  Please note that this is primarily geared toward Eamon and Lise, as you are the two confirmed writers out of my regular readership. Please feel free to vote and elaborate in the comments.  I guess it should be clear where this stems from in terms of my writing, but I wanted to see how other writers felt about the germ for their novels.  Where does it come from?  Is it character, is it plot, or is it something completely different?

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