Category Archives: Novel

21K! Everyday, everyday, everyday I write the book.

I wrote 2300 words today to get 21,000 words into Meet the Larssons.  Scrivener tells me that’s 94 printed pages (only 57 pages if it were set like a mass market paperback, but still), which makes it almost 20 pages of fiction more than I have ever written before on one project.

I can feel myself getting impatient with the project, though.  I’m not even close to done, I’m really still at the beginning of the story, which is frustrating.  Not the beginning, I guess, but I’m definitely still in the set up.  The problem is I can see where the story is going, it’s just a question of having another (approximately) 200-250 hours to go before the first draft is finished, when I can only devote 1-2 hours at a time, maybe 3 on a relatively uncommitted weekend day or holiday.  At best, I’m going to have the first draft finished by summer, and that’s only if I can maintain this pace without significant interruption by work (HA!) or personal obligations.

I’m hoping that my impatience doesn’t get in the way of the writing.  The first time I sit down and can’t hammer out 750-900 words an hour on this novel is going to be a real test for me, and a sure sign that the honeymoon is over.  So far, I can’t complain that the words aren’t coming, only that I can’t type them any faster.

Also, I’d like the novel not to suck.

And, while I’m at it, a pony.

10K & TKD

All in all, a pretty good weekend. Mrs. Unfocused, the Princess, and I had our first Family Tae Kwon Do class at the YMCA. Junior was signed up for it but got nervous and freaked out; he watched for a while, then the Mrs. took him to the child care center. He says that next week he won’t be shy about it, and did shake the instructor’s hand very nicely when we ran into him later on. Because TKD is 9:15-10:15, and the Princess has a swimming class at 11:30, we will be spending every Saturday morning at the Y; the Mrs. and I can each grab a workout while the kids are in childcare after TKD, and I can take Junior to Starbucks while the Mrs. takes Princess to swim class.

If a plan ends with me getting coffee, I’m all for it.

On top of that, I got a 10-mile run in this morning. I ordered some new cold weather running gear a few weeks ago, and tried some of it out today, and it all met expectations. I’m still slow, but at least I’m not a corpsicle.

I have to come up with a new nickname for the Princess on this blog, because if there’s one word that does not describe my daughter, it’s Princess. I used it in my first post for lack of the imagination to think of anything better, but she does not now, nor has she ever, given a good goddamn about princesses, or Barbie, anything similar. She is a nice, bright kid who’s interested in science, ancient Egypt, and animals. And Harry Potter. And Batman (although not as much as Junior). And Star Wars. And various other things.

Right. Unfocused Girl it is. That was easy.

To top it all off, I finished my 5,000 words for the week in the novel. That means I’ve got 10,000 words written (10,024, to be exact), which is the same length as my senior thesis in college. The Mrs. picked out a new laptop for me to work on at home (the old Pismo was on life support, unfortunately), and it came this week: a new MacBook running Leopard. I spent another forty bucks to buy Scrivener, a nice app for writers that provides a real assist in organization.

Yes, I know. I get five thousand words into a novel that, in all likelihood, no one will ever read, and all of the sudden I need a new computer and special software, when writing the first 5,000 words in OpenOffice (free) on my old work laptop ($1 when they switched me to a new one) worked perfectly well. If you’re thinking that’s a little ridiculous, you’re right. But I needed the new laptop anyway — they can make me use a Windows machine at the office, but I’ll be damned if I’ll use one for personal work at home (literally damned, because that’s my definition of hell).

As for Scrivener, hey, it was $40 — not exactly a fortune. It is very useful, too, including half a dozen easy to use features that I will probably actually remember to use. I note that productivity maven Merlin Mann uses Scrivener. He’s very productive, you know, so the software has to be useful.

So now I’m blogging away on my new MacBook, and it has been a pretty good weekend. The only problem is that it is now 12:43am on Monday morning, and I’m still messing around on the computer when I should really go to bed. That’s the problem with new toys.

About Me: in which I begin yet another project with no clear way to finish

Husband (married my college sweetheart years ago).

Father (two great kids).

Lawyer (that’s what it says on the business cards).

Runner (when I can get my sorry butt out of bed early enough, or break out of work long enough to head for the gym).

Writer? Not lately.

It has been a long time since I wrote anything for pleasure. I write all the time for clients — briefs, memos, complaints, settlement agreements, nastygrams (wait — I’m going to see if anyone has registered nastygram.com … it is, and it’s a porn site, as I should have expected — when I say nastygram, I mean an aggressive, snarky letter to opposing counsel), etc. But nothing that I felt compelled to write for my own reasons. Nothing, frankly, that I didn’t know in advance that I would get paid for.

When I was in high school, I was the first one of my friends to get a rejection slip. I probably have a dozen or more in a box somewhere, from Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact, Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, and The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. I collected a few more while I was in college, although I slowed down my fiction output and focused on acting and my column for the student newspaper.

I wrote a little more during law school: 75 pages of a coming of age novel (with, I must say, a really good mugging scene, but nothing much else worth salvaging), and a few humor pieces for the law school newspaper at my first law school.

No, I didn’t get kicked out. I transferred. The future Mrs. Unfocused was still living in Chicago, and I wanted to come back before she found someone more focused.

That was it, though. I’ve jotted down some story ideas since, and somewhere in the study there’s a spiral notebook with 20 handwritten pages of a comic science fiction story (or novel) that I started maybe four years ago, but otherwise, nothing.

Between the age of 11 and the beginning of law school, the only thing I wanted to be when I grew up was a writer or journalist. Even as I started law school, I thought I would keep writing and end up with that as my real career.

I surprised myself (and everyone who knew me, except, I think, my mother) by actually enjoying law school. I got to spend three years reading about other people’s problems and arguing with a bunch of really smart people — what’s not to like? I also found — again, to general disbelief — that I liked, and continue to like, being a lawyer. I like solving problems, and I like a job where there are winners and losers. Not every day, not all the time, but far more often than not.

So I like my career, and I’ve had some success with it — nothing that’s made the papers, but I’m doing alright.

But.

It’s time to start writing again. I need to put words on a page for no better reason than that I want to put them there, that it pleases me to do it. This blog is my way of getting started.

It is 10.5 months until the start of the next NaNoWriMo — by November 1, 2008, I want to be in a mental space where I am ready to participate. Before then, I plan to write one professional article that I have been thinking about but putting off for months, and to complete the first draft of one of the short stories I have notes on. In the meantime, I plan to use this blog to push my self to write something — anything — a few times a week, to practice writing in my non-lawyer voice again.

That’s it for now. More tomorrow.