when you laugh and run free with the thought, pull the line in and try to see what you caught

When I’m not reading books or watching movies about Hating America by America Haters that promise to teach me How to Hate America Better*, I’m getting some writing done.

In an ideal week, I stick to the following:

  • Write one hour a night, two nights a week. This produces between 1500-2000 words each night.
  • Write one or two nights a week, 1000 words each time. I can usually bang this out in 40 minutes.
I do this as many nights as I need to to produce 5000 words a week. If I gave up jiu-jitsu, a job with health insurance and a social life** I could probably do more. But I think this is a fair pace.

My initial goal was to write a 60,000-word manuscript. I just wrote my 20,000th word tonight, though, and the story feels, at most, a quarter done. So I may clock in at closer to 80,000. Considering I’ll probably need to lop 5000 to 10,000 words off the top to make it saleable, that’s a good target to aim for.

As with all my writing projects, this one requires some interesting research and speculation. Asked and answered so far:

  • What sort of court records could a person find just by walking in and asking at a city courthouse?
  • What’s a half-assed but survivable way to disarm someone who’s waving a knife at you and shoving you with his free hand?
  • What sort of clue could someone plausibly find if they only had thirty seconds to ransack an office?
  • If you have injuries that require stitches but are conscious and lucid, will the paramedics immobilize you before carting you off to a hospital?
  • Hell, would they even put you in an ambulance, or would they say, “Drive yourself; you’re fine”?
  • Where would a middling Boston attorney (in practice on his own) take his family on summer vacation?
  • What sort of information would cops withhold from the press about a murder in order to validate a legit confession?
  • What does a photographer for a city paper do most of the day?
  • What’s a survivable but incapacitating form of gunshot wound to the head?
  • What does it taste like when you bite someone’s ear hard enough to tear it?
I came up with answers good enough for a rough draft. But if you have theories of your own, please shout them out.

* They all begin the same way: “Step 1: Subscribe to The Guardian.” Couldn’t make that up.
** Because heaven forfend I give up this vital weblog.


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