Can you guess what I’m doing today? Getting rid of crutch words in the MS.
The LOOK family.
Peer, peek, inspected, viewed, checked, glimpse, glance, surveyed, read, stared, glared, Eyeing, watch*
The WALK family/STEP
Stepped = walk, moved to, sauntered, sashayed, ambled, lumbered, limped, strutted, stride, sprinted, raced, ran, jumped, leaped, thrust, pushed, trudged, pranced, dance, dash, slog, accompanied, advanced, amble, approach, barge, boot, bounces, brush, burst, careen, canter, clump, clomp, crawl, creep, danced, dart, dash, dawdle, escort, exercises, falter, filed, flounders, forge, gimps, glides, goes, goose step, hasten, hike, hobble, hop, hoof it, hurry, jog, lead, limp, loiter, lumber, lurch, march, meander, mosey, move, navigate, pace, pad, paddle, parading, patrol, pitter patter, plod, prance, proceed, promenade, prowl, race, ramble, reeling, roam, rove, run, rush, sashay, saunter, scramble, scurry, shuffle, skip, slink, slither, slog, soar, sprint, sneak, stalk, step, sidestep, stamp, stomp, storm, stride, stroll, strut, stumble, stagger, swagger, tiptoe, titter totter, tour, tramp, tromp, traverse, tread, track, trek, troop, trod, trot, trudge, wade, wander, waddle, zip
On November 22, 2019, at about 9am, I started work on Terminal Sequence.
Today, just over 8 weeks later, it is COMPLETE!
Reviewed in the United States on January 16, 2020:
What a page-turner!
I really love the method used to jump from one scene to another, and to keep the reader guessing about who was working for who, who was the good guy, who was the enemy, etc.
High octane thriller all the way through!”
Got YOUR copy yet?
I told you yesterday, I have the next two chapters halfway written, and the final chapter is all outlined.
I expect the final three chapters of TERMINAL SEQUENCE to each come in anywhere between 1000-3000 words; say 1500 on average. That’s 4500 words to the finish line, half of which have already been written.
And that pesky chapter 33? Just finished it. Pretty darned good, too. You’ll be on the edge of your seat reading that whole 3500 word section – but it will read like 1500, because it’s that fast-paced.
Chapter 33 is almost the BEST chapter in the book
but not quite
There are two other awesome, OH MY GOD moments that
YOU. WILL. NOT. BELIEVE.
(Wow out loud, as one fan might put it.) Oh yeah. You’ll see what I mean.
Robin Cook, eat your heart out. This MEDICAL THRILLER ROCKS.
Possibly my best ever. In fact, I think it is.
It’s almost TERMINAL TIME.
What a blast this series has been to write!
Get your copy here:
Chapter 33 was juuust about 85%-90% written.
Then I decided – after an epiphany – to redo it and go in a differt direction.
A better direction.
So I rewrote it.
Today, inspiration struck again.
An even better way for chapter 33 to go!
Another rewrite of the SAME chapter!
But the good news is, 34 is about half written, and so is 35. And 36 is, too – and it’s the finale.
So this weekend might see the conclusion of writing Terminal Sequence.
And let me tell you:
it’s a gripping, past paced story worthy of concluding this series.
Especially chapter 33.
I am known for writing quickly and not doing a lot of rewrites.
I let people believe this.
Yesterday I wrote 3000-5000 words for the next three chapters in my story, and at 4:30 this morning I had an Epiphany that made me scrap all of it and go in a different direction.
Happens to the best of us.
Here’s a list of my favorites and what they mean to me, not in any particular order.
These have mattered to me. (The image comes first, then my take on it.)
I use this every day to get me to write on days I didn’t want to or didn’t have a good idea. When a master lays down an imperative, there may be something to it. Write every day. Even if it’s two sentences, write every day.
I always thought it just mean to be a radical. Woo! Party! Get drunk and write, you radical party guy! No, it means write with abandon and then edit with austerity. Be flat out craaaazy when you write. Make up words. Express every feeling no matter how embarrassing, then edit it – not to remove that stuff, but to make it legible and poignant. When CP’s see paragraphs and say it touched them or that they really like it, many were brought about from this type of abandon that was later refined. I should do it more.
Huge. It’s almost imperceptible how important this is. This is voice. This is that quality people can’t quite explain that makes a writing unique, and we all have it, but it does take practice for it to work, just like a great actor or comic or sculptor or painter, the working on the craft is also what makes it, but knowing your way of saying things, and that you do have a unique way, is special.
I know, right? Don’t quit, push on. Good stuff waits around the corner! Stopping in the shit means staying in the shit.
Brilliant, a thousand times over. I want this on a t-shirt. Goes along with throwing rocks at your characters (see below). Brilliant. Brilliant! BRILLIANT!
Which is what makes a story interesting. Try it. Your life will change because your stories CHANGE. Suddenly, what you write is a lot more interesting. It’s an imperative. Words to live by. Rocks. Lots of rocks.
Some days, you just aren’t feeling it. Write anyway. The inability to stay inspired has been the demise of a lot of writer friends over the years. You really do have to force yourself to write sometimes – and that’s when it’s work. Hunt inspiration down and wrestle it, don’t wait for it. Life is full of distractions and next thing you know it’s three years later and your book is gathering dust. Being accused of waiting scares the hell out of me.
also known as “assume your reader is smart”
There are two things in this one. First, your story needs to have several secrets. Second, don’t tell us all of them in chapter one. Remember to sprinkle in a few surprises along the way.
This… I learned the hard way in 2019. I used to have a good friend who was a role model of this. We aren’t friends anymore, but the lesson lives on.
Write every day with this in mind. It should be on a Post-It on every writer’s computer, with a flashing neon light. It makes the story SO much better. You can do it, too. It’s exhilarating.
Go there. Lots of new writers can’t do this. Lots of established writers would be better of they did this. It’s worth it. This may be the most important one of all, so I saved it for last. Put yourself out there. Go for it.
There are more but this is plenty.
Well, I can’t tell you. It would ruin the story for you.
But I just wrote a really really really really REALLY important scene. (actually I wrote it yesterday and I tweaked it today) combining a crucial element I knew I needed to put in, and I decided to put it right there.
Now that’s done.
The thing we are wanting for the entire book, has now happened.
I have to go teach my young authors club.
Can’t wait to get back to writing the story tonight. I’m almost finished!
The end of my writing for Terminal Sequence (book 3 of The Gamma Sequence series) is allllmost here!
I’m very excited.
A few days ago, I looked at what I had written. It was about 70,000 words (plus some miscellaneous scenes that came to me here and there as possible stuff to use) and I’d made a few notes for myself about one or two short scenes I needed to add, but basically, I was almost to the finish line.
There were two things to remember during this process.
First, a friend once said, “Everything stalls at 80%”
That means when you are in the mushy middle or 3/4 of the way through the mushy middle, it seems like you are climbing a wall every day (or hitting a wall every day). The key to that is, KEEP GOING!
In my case, I not only had Christmas break from my daughter’s school, but we also had Christmas with a nine-year-old child, and all that requires. Elf on the shelf. Shopping. Parties, cookie baking, sleepovers with friends. Lots of people coming over for dinner, and us going to lots of other people’s houses for celebrations. Then New year’s (which was atypically low key), followed by a week-long vacation in Colorado’s very snowy Copper Mountain to play!
In the past, when we’ve gone on vacation to the beach, there were plenty of chunks of time that I could take where I could be alone and do some writing, so I took my computer with me to Copper Mountain.
However, my daughter wanted me to play Roblox with her on our iPads, and there was a lot of post-Christmas winding down that reeeeally needed to happen, so…
Couple that with the fact that I had a looming deadline (kinda) for the book, and I also have four Young Authors Clubs that are about to start back up, and there was plenty of urgency for me to complete the novel.
But I was struggling.
Time was hard to find, and the ideas I sketched out initially were good but were having trouble congealing.
I got a little bit of writing done on that vacation (hey, snow tubing and snowmobiling and ice skating take time, too!), but I jumped back into it full force when we returned.
And when I did, I looked at the 70,000 words I had written and said, “Good grief, this thing might be 80,000 or 90,000 words long before I get it done!” – And I’m not sure that’s a good thing. The pace is fast, don’t give me wrong, but there were a lot of loose ends that needed to tie up quickly in the outline I had laid out.
Which brings us to the second point.
By having an outline, and having an ending, I had a target to aim for.
Once I got close enough, I realized some of the things that I had initially planned to do were going to create a lot of extra stuff that might not be necessary to write at this point.
Without giving anything away, suffice it to say:
some of the things I needed to say or do, I had already done because I knew they needed to be done.
So I didn’t need to have big chunks of information at the end; I’d given it to the reader in bits and pieces over the prior 60,000 or 70,000 words. Outlining made me think about it, and then I was able to see little places to do it subtly.
That was kind of a big sigh of relief. Looking over my notes, I was able to delete almost half of the bullet points I thought I needed to address. They’d already been addressed.
When you have an ending, it doesn’t mean it’s the ending.
You’re allowed to change it if you come up with something better.
So as I got closer, I realized I wanted certain characters to play bigger roes in the story and not stay in their supporting role status; I wanted one or two people to die who I was really not liking (they were bad guys, so it’s okay) and I wanted two or three different storylines to alllll converge at the same time. That’s… not always easy to do. So even though I wanted that, and even though I had written that in the outline, actually making it happen wasn’t quite so easy. That was also like hitting a wall every day.
How’m I gonna do this?
But me being me, I figured it out. Usually, I climb on the treadmill to work out and just like Agatha Christie said, “The best ideas come to you while you are washing dishes,” well, mine come on the treadmill. I think it’s the same process. You are forcing yourself to get away from the writing devices like pen, paper, computer – and your mind is then freed to connect dots in a creative way that doesn’t happen when you’re staring at the dots trying to force them to connect.
I came up with a better ending.
And since I was tired, I did something I rarely do. I took a nap. Or I tried. As I was in that halfway state between awake and asleep, I imagined my story as a movie that I was watching, and I thought:
what would be something really neat to SEE at the finale?
Now, I’m not much for epilogues, but I do like to kind of sum up the story so we know that the bad guys get punished and the good guys are going to be okay. (It’s not my preferred way to go, but readers seem to like it.)
So really what I was talking about, what I was wrestling with, was the finale before that. The place where all the points converge and everything blows up (or whatever big finish is going to happen).
And as I watched the movie play out on the inside of my eyelids, I thought, I want this to happen, then this, then this, the this… THAT would be a great ending!
And I sat up.
I said, “Heck, why don’t I just write that?”
As I said, I got rid of a few scenes I probably didn’t need anyway, the new ending only required me to jump back in the story here and there to add a little bit.
Doesn’t get much better than that.
So this morning I spent about four hours hashing out what those new interactions are going to be. Looks like this sucker could still come in at about 10,000 more words then it was a week ago, rolling in at about 80,000 words. That’s okay. The pace is fast, and where the pace is not fast enough, I will trim it and cut it and hack it until it is fast. I can get wordy at times, but I know how to trim.
So what does that mean?
That means as I sit here today, I feel comfortable that 10,000 words from now, probably three days if I push it (and five days if I don’t push it), Terminal Sequence will be completed.
Then I’m going to:
- Let it sit for a week and not look at it at all
- Then I’ll read the whole thing with fresh eyes and tweak it
- I’ll send it to a proofreader to catch typos, and then
- Release it to the beta readers.
And that means everything will be back in time for its February 28 release date.
And I will be ready for another vacation.