Friday, June 29, 2007

Those Third Book Blues

Justine writes awesomely about the trials and tribulations of the third books of trilogies - the fits and starts, the rock solid ending that morphs into something, the difficulty of publishing as you go as opposed to writing all three before selling them. I luckily have been blessed with the opportunity to write all three before publishing them, because I cannot sell the first for the life of me. But actually this has worked out to my - the story's - advantage. Writing the second book had a ripple effect on the first. Starting the third had an effect on the second and the first and so you go back to make it all work - Justine says she did it six times - I lost count - and this would have been impossible if I had sold one of these books before the others were complete. Which they're not. I am yet again revising the first book. I am halfway through a revision of the second and I have a hundred pages of the third. No doubt there will be more changes and revisioning as I go.

She also links to a post from Diana who comments thoughtfully (and awesomely) on the best sequel of all time: The Empire Strikes Back. The second book/film is always the dealbreaker. Either it's Empire or it's The Matrix Reloaded. I don't think of the second and third books of my trilogy as sequels; they're units of a whole. But at the same time, they're individual novels. They have to succeed on their own. They have their own internal story. Each has a beginning, middle, and end (to one extent or another) but each is a vital and necessary component of a much larger whole. The second book in particular has the hardest job because it has to echo the first, but not mimic it; it has to advance the story, but not complete it; and it has to deepen and expand a narrative without tearing it from its roots.

I kind of dig my second book. It's the third one that gives me fits. I know how it ends - I have for years now - but I don't know really the details and won't until I'm there writing it. It evolves all the time anyways, just like the whole thing. I just want it to be over! I never want it to end! Arrrrrgh!

Sunday, June 24, 2007


Not posting again. I've been writing a lot, though. I've kind of gotten into this pattern where I'm doing everything on the weekends. Writing, biking, hanging out, eating, you know, everything outside of working, and so the weekends dry up so fast and it feels like I never get anything done. Yesterday was fun, though. I tried to talk my brother into going up to Chicago for the weekend, but no dice. We ended up going to Cedar Rapids for a few hours. We used to go up there all the time for the record shops, but of course those are all gone. We came back and grilled some hot dogs with Ben and Matt and took it pretty easy. Then we played spoons (but with plastic forks). I hadn't played spoons in a long time, but I am a professional, therefore I lost only a few hands. Now I must go write and not watch dvd's I bought weeks ago.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Ilona et David

My dear friend Ilona is getting married this summer and to celebrate she has a wonderful blog that's as classy as she is. I met Ilona in Dublin back in 2000 and I remember one of the first things she said to me was, "You're shy, yeah?" Yeah. She wouldn't let me be. She pried me out of my shell and made me take advantage of the gigantic leap I had taken and I have much to thank her for. So go check it out, if you can read French. And even if you can't. Congratulations and best of luck to you both.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Dwarf Tossing

Pluto isn't even as big as the tiny not-planet that put it out to pasture. Also, the tenth planet - I mean the second not-planet - now has a name, Eris, which is actually kind of fitting. Eris is the Greek goddess of discord and strife, who in addition to orbiting the sun at a distance of 9 billion miles, sometimes showers her dark over Waterloo, Iowa.

Been listening to a fantastic new collection of John Lennon covers by the likes of U2, REM, Green Day, the Flaming Lips and most cool, Regina Spektor. She does 'Real Love' which if you remember is one of the 'lost' Lennon songs the remaining Beatles finished up for that box set about 10 years ago. It's one of my favorites and to hear her version of it is pretty sublime. All proceeds go to the Save Darfur campaign so definitely check out a great set of classic music.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Not Posting Five

Pass it on.

Working/writing/sleeping/watching Scrubs/biking/you don't care.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Moving Day

Yesterday I helped Ben move to his new apartment. It was a lot of fun (I like lifting heavy things? What?) and Matt was there to help too so of course we spent a lot of time talking about how we could make Star Wars better.

I went home and did a lot of writing. I complained to Ben and Matt earlier in the day that I had so much work to do and if I really wanted to get it done, I would write from the time I got off from work at 9 to 3 or whenever I went to bed. I wouldn't pass out in the chair watching Scrubs or Futurama. So that's what I did. I wrote from the time I got home at 8 until 1 in the morning. I made a little break through after floundering in the short-end of the self-doubt pool there for a while. Of course the tide is always dragging me back, so. It's good to be out for now.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Your Weekly Friday Post

So I'm never posting anymore. I just don't have time in the day. I have so much writing to do - I could take a week off work and still not get through all I need to. I envy and admire people like Kat who is married, teaches, and writes novels and short stories and I assume sleeps at some point, too. I work 8 hours and then come home and write for 2, if that, and then sit down and watch Scrubs and pass out in the chair. It's like this everyday. Except the ones where I go downtown for a beer that turns into three.

Maud has a nice post on the catch-22 of wanting to discuss your writing - it helps untangle those knots - and the fear of 'talking it away' as Fitzgerald feared he did. I fear that as much as I do I am simply polishing a turd. I realize - for the umpteenth time - the 'correct' way to begin the first novel of the Big Damn Epic and the work required isn't remodeling, its demolishing what was there and putting something new up in its place. Strangely, rightly, finally, the book is back to where it began as I first concieved it a long time ago - I won't talk that away here - but the detour was a frustrating, maybe necessary sojourn into territory that had to be explored to understand what it was I was writing. Or not writing. And I am not writing, right now, because I am blogging. Because Ben shamed me into it for not posting. So I will stop. For now.

My cousin Matt has a new blog. Check it out.