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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

NaNoWriMo Defibrillator

Alan, the protagonist for my novel A Rain of Dust, is modeled on Arkady Renko from Martin Cruz Smith's awesome Gorky Park books. I was stuck hard on the writing, until I let Alan call Major Pribluda, one of the characters from Gorky Park for a bracing picker-upper. It worked--there's a sprint in this phone call which eluded me in RL, and I went on to add another thousand words in the hour after I wrote this:

He looked at the progress bar in its agonizing crawl across the screen, and realized that all this database work was just slowing dow the novel. Fuck this too.
On the drive back north he used the hands-free for his cell phone.
"Misha, pick up the phone if you're in. I need a favor."
Nothing. He tried again.
"Major, are you there?"
"Renko?"
"No, but I fucking well should be. THis is ALan, from Rain of Dust. I'm stuck hard."
Pribluda was amazed. "And you want my help?"
"I need to know how a proper protagonist would handle this. I have found some people who are faking things in a government database, but I don't know why."
"This is your idea of a problem?"
"The integrity of the data in the database is my concern. I validate things in it, and I found something very strange. No sooner did I reach out to try to validate the existence of one of the supposed persons recorded in the system than I got thrashed to within an inch of my life. It was awful--I didn't lay a finger on whoever did it."
"You almost get killed and you have no clue who almost killed you. Are you sure this isn't Renko?"
"Why are you asking all the questions? You're not very helpful."
"Look. Nobody cares about what is or is not recoerded s some databse. What yo need to do is continually interact with other characters. Even in GOrky Park when Ranko muct look at beetles cleaning th skull of the Asanova woman, most of his own observatins were shown to us through dialogue, then merely confimed, or characterized, if you will, by ARkady's runing thoughts.
If you just sit n front of a computer all daym then what do you ecpst people to0 thkin about your job, or the story you are in,m for that mater?
Nobody wants to read page after page of you doiung something that even if I did understand it would bore me to tears, and guess what--I don;t understand it.
I am not saying that there';s no hoope for the story, but you are going to have to work much, much harder at getting some readerr interest going. Look at how quickly thiwe dialogue is going. If you cannot sustain writing like this,m then you yourself are probably not too excited about it.
Christ, you can add the puncttuation later. If wevwen you canot figure out what you wrote (assuming the tyops are not too terribly bad), then guess what, it needs to bere-written.
You are just going to ahev to let go and lt it go. There will be plenty of opotrtunities to ediut, and rewrite later.
Your problem is not that your problem is unintersting, although that may eventually become th case. The problem is that it is not interesting YET becayse of the glacial pace you are taking. You are too worried about leaving smething for the finale, but at the expense of dragging the first two nparts out., Guess wehat, nobody is going to mae it that far, because this book will wind up across more rooms than in them, if you know what I mean.
SO get the fuck to work, and quickly. Get on the goddamned plane to Japan. He;;, even SMith took a break from the Renko books, and did December 6th. The problem with that, of course, was that to Smith, every protagonist is Renko."
'Yeah, well, the battery's dying on this phone, sun's going down, got a plane to catch. Thank you."
"Now I know it's not Renko. Just the same. Don't call again."
###
Alan clapped the hne shut and hauled the car off the interstate down a short steep ramp with a light at the bottom. Well, he was just going to have to honor that red light in passing, as he cornered right around a bewildered-looking family of four.
He still wasn;t sure of the tickets claimed by the Atanasio group were real, but he had an address, some phone numbers, and a company name in Tokyo. Everything he needed, he could buy along the way.

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