Tag Archives: cawdor

Socially Sanctioned Schizophrenia

We writers are allowed, nay we are encourage to have voices in our heads. Unlike other poor souls we can take those voice that no one else is able hear and transform them into external characters. However, they all start off as voice in our heads.

I present to you a stylized conversation thrust upon me by one of my characters.

Character Incognito: You know, I’d be mighty useful in Exodus From Cawdor.

Me: You’re not going to be in Exodus from Cawdor, you die in Cawdor.

Character Incognito: I don’t have to die, son. There’s plenty of means we can hustle up to avoid that sad fate.

Me: Nope, I checked the outline you die on page 22 of it.

Character Incognito: Well now, that darn thing’s just a suggestion. You know like guidelines, you can ignore it if you want.

Me: It’s in the plan. You have to die in this story.

Character Incognito:  I don’t see that way at all. But, you’d love having me around for the next book. Sweet Baby Jesus you need me for balance if nothing else.

Me: I could find that in another character.

Character Incognito: Who tell?


Character Incognito: That’s what I reckoned. You’re stuck and you want me in that next book, you need me in that book.

Me: Now you’re just ripping off Jack Nicholson.

Character Incognito: That must have been you. I never heard of the fella.

Me: You die in the story. Remember I got source material. (Confidently wiping my hands of the matter.)

Character Incognito: Now partner, that just slavish devotion to the text. You don’t have to copy some old englishman do you?

Me: It’s not slavish devotion it’s…respecting the source material.

Character Incognito: (suspiciously quiet)

Me: Sure you’d be fun and it’d open up a lot of opportunities, but there’s page 22. See look at it!

Character Incognito: Yup. That would have been a mite powerful scene I think. Shame you’ll have to lose it.

Me: Grumble

Character Incognito: You’ll thank me son, You’ll see.

I hate it when my characters are right.


How my writing is like a supercarrier

It’s all about momentum.

Before I can even start writing a big project like a novel I have to do research and build the back story. That’s like fueling the carrier, getting the crew, marines, and air wings aboard.

Once that is done I can set sail with my outline acting as crude navigation to steer me to my far away port, a finished novel.

If the novel goes well, I start gather real speed in the writing and it takes a life of it own. Pages start flying by and the words just flow from me to the page. It takes  awhile for this to occur. The first ten or twenty pages are usually me fumbling about trying to find the voice and the path I need to take.

Lately I’ve been churning out nearly 8 pages a day on Cawdor. This has been a really productive time and its made me quite happy.

Monday the crippling headaches brought all progress to a rapid halt. I got nothing done, yesterday the headaches and the exhaustion from a bad nights sleep reduced me to less than two pages of text completed. I was really depressed today when at my first break at my day job the headache had returned and robbed me of even more writing time. I managed just 30 minutes of writing during my hour lunch.

Luckily i seemed to have found the steam again and finished up with about five pages completed, but it’s been tough getting that momentum back up.


A little less shocked now

So it turns out there was a file error that duplicated about 10 pages in chapter 5. I found them when I went to chapter 5 editing today. (I always do my edits ink on paper.) So it turns out I have written about 84 pages not 94. That seems much more in lines.

It’s still impressive because I am doing this while doing rolling edits. (For my other novels I have finished the novel and then edited it.)

So good but not great speed.


I am a little shocked

I think Cawdor is speeding along much faster than any of my other novels. Today I finished chapter 5 of the novel and looked at a rough page count.

I have written 94 pages of prose on this novel already. I started the novel writing just 1 month ago today.

I am hoping to bring Cawdor in for about 360 pages. (90,000 words for industry geeks.) I am flabbergasted (what a strange word that is) to find myself so far along after only one month. And Month that saw headaches, Overtime at the day job, and sundry interruptions.

I have just printed up chapter 5, the largest of the chapters so far and tomorrow I will start ink on paper edits. That will slow thing down, but I will be easily 110 pages by weeks end. very close to a third of the way.

Might I actually get the 1st draft finished by my birthday?

That would be un-flippin-believeable.


I’m Back

Well, the last two days have been quite a tour de force of headaches for me. Yes my new glasses still have not arrived from the lab and so I have been suffering my daily headaches at this time of year. Friday got to near migraine quality and I left work a couple of hours early so I could do nothing and let my eyes rest.

The most frustrating part of the last two days is that it brought production on Cawdor to a halt. Thursday night was reducing to typing in edits on the chapter 3 and no original writing. Friday my head hurt far too much for me to even think of stringing words together.

However, by a bit of luck I woke up this morning without a headache. I intended to spend some quality time with my sweetie-wife, as I have not been the most fun to be around lately, and later a double feature of films with friends.

A friend and co-worker, Rachael, (No that’s not  a typo that’s how she spells it.) Is both a fan of Zombie movies and The Terminator franchise. Yet somehow she has never seen the 1978 Dawn Of The Dead and even more surprising she has never seen The Terminator. This is going to be rectified today.

Then in the evening it will be card and board games.


Chapter 3 – first draft completed

So I have now completed the three critical chapters of Cawdor. At least in rough draft form. I’ve done the edits to the first two chapters and I am currently entering the edits on the third. Tomorrow at my day job while on break and lunch I will start writing Chapter 4 and at home I will complete entering the edits and corrections on chapter 3.

The edits are going pretty well. It helps that I think I know my first draft weaknesses pretty well. I tend to overwrite – so it’s lots of taking out words I do not need. And I tend to write passive on my first pass, she the edits also tend to switch the sentences to active instead of passive construction.

I’m hoping I can find someone who is not familiar with the work to let me know if the first three chapters have any grab to them


Making progress despite constant headaches.

Until I was 40 years old I did not need to wear glasses. That doesn’t men I’ve been blessed to live trouble free where it come to my eyes. I had a real fright in high school with an infection that almost blinded me. However, my vision after that was 20/20 just restricted in terms of light levels.

On my 40th birthday my gift from the fates were my first reading glasses. Every year since then I have had to had a new pair fashioned as my prescription changed. Each year as my vision gets worse, I start getting headaches that eventually become constant headaches with the occasional migraine tossed in for variety’s sake.

This year is no different. Last week I had my exam because I could feel the strain building after long bouts reading. The new doc confirmed my rx had changed — again and I ordered new glasses. Seven to ten day wait to get them so I am living in the land of constant headaches again.

However, I am still writing. I am clocking about 1500 words a day and if I can maintain this pace I should have the draft of Cawdor finished by the end of May or early June.

Tonight I will continue chapter three. Now all chapters are important but the first three have a special place for the unknown author. When you get a bite from a query letter it nearly always is a request for the first three chapters. This is what you have to sell the editor or agent on reading the rest of the book.

In the case of Cawdor the third chapter is really important. It is where those who were not clued in by the title, but familiar with MacBeth will realize what it is I am attempting; with great hubris, stealing from Shakespeare. Tonight I will take my first crack of the highly modified scene where the witches first encounter Macbeth.

Wish me luck.


Catch up

There is no Sunday Night Movie this weekend as I was at Condor and too tired after the convention for movie watching. I wish I could do Condor justice in a review but the combination of a really busy and good con plus a series of headaches that has been pretty consistent since last Weds has just ruined my ability for decent blogging.

However I can say this. This was the best Condor I have been too. There were plenty of interesting panels, I rarely felt that I lacked anything to do. I had a number of really good conversations and re-connected with a number of friends I only see at conventions. I also came away with the idea I needed to make chapter three of Cawdor work. So despite the pain it was a pretty good weekend.

Today I managed to write over 1500 words on Cawdor. 750 at work on my laptop and the rest at home after my sweetie-wife went to bed. If I can keep up that pace I will have the first draft finished by the end of June early July.


An Anguished State of Mind

The blog title refers to two things.

The first was the migraine that started yesterday and didn’t break until around noon today. Iy was a nasty brute and I spent about twelve hours in bed in the dark to deal with it.

More importantly the title refers to how I feel about my writing currently.

I’m two chapters into Cawdor and I think it’s going very well. This is turning out to be something of a stressor. I feel shaken in my ability to judge my writing. My last submission to the Writers Of The Future Contest I thought was a very strong story. I thought it was better written than Regret, I Am Allowed which placed as a semi-finalist. It had a more interesting conceit than The Station On The Edge, which placed as a semi-fianlist.  I also though it was a better story than either of the Honorable Mentions, Araceli and The House Of Bad Blood. (which actually sold.) Yet my latest story, Proof of Principle didn’t make any of the above cuts or honorifics. Is my judgement off that badly or is theirs?

So with that in my recent memory when I re-read and edit the start of Cawdor and I’m so pleased at how it’s working I can’t help but feel that maybe I am fooling myself.  That what I see and feel good about — well maybe it isn’t that good after all.

It kept me awake last night while I lay there in the dark with sub-kiloton nuclear explosions going off behind my eyeballs burning my brain with doubt and pain. It has kept me away from the keyboard today, but I will force myself past it.

On the plus side I did manage to do some more exercise today. After the headache broke I did a mile on the treadmill and another three miles on the stationary bike. Lucky for me it turns out the stationary bike does not tear up my knees like a real bicycle does. I think it is because the pedal on the stationary bike are further forward and not directly beneath me.

Anyway I’m keeping up with the new heart healthy exercising and I will finish Cawdor. As a personal reward for completing Cawdor I will treat myself to the big VIP tour at Universal Studios.


It’s going to be a long day today.

Yesterday I got stuck sitting for three hours plus without the ability to stand or walk around. Sadly yesterday was also a bad arthritis day for my knees. By the time I went to bed both knees were hurting fairly steadily. I had hoped that when I awoke they would be better, but that is not the case. My right knee is going to be giving me fits all day. I can tell.

On the plus side I got several more pages written on chapter one of Cawdor and that seems to be progressing well. Today I take my laptop to work with me and I’ll utilize my new hour long lunch to get more writing done.