Monday, November 28, 2011

Reading and Writing

I devoted a lot of time over the Thanksgiving weekend to reading and writing. I was coming down with a cold, so I got really sluggish at times. So what did I read and what did I write?

I read Charles Shields's bio of Kurt Vonnegut. It's terrific, the kind of bio that keeps you turning pages because it's so damned well written. And Kurt Vonnegut was a strange bird. Shields doesn't pull any punches about what a screw-up Vonnegut was at times. Well worth the time to learn about a great writer who wasn't afraid to break new ground.

What else did I read? This answer is all about me. I blew cyberdust of a manuscript I wrote several years ago. It's a coming-of-age trilogy about a circle of women. The first book is about growing up in a Leave It To Beaver town in Northern California as the fifties transitioned into the sixties. The second is about getting out of that town, college at Berkeley during the turbulent sixties. And the final book follows the women into marriage, motherhood and careers. All fraught with personal conflict set against a time of major transition in our country's history.

I got through the first 200,200 words, or about the first two books. After several years of not looking at the manuscript, I was surprised at how well I told the story.

And therein lies the problem. The story is told. I now have to redo it completely and let the characters and action show the story. Writers will understand what I mean. A monumental task, but there is no deadline on it. Yet.

And yes, I did write as well. I began a first-person thriller about a serial killer. Lots of them on the market, but this will have a different presentation and therefore a different twist. I've invited about a dozen people to join a closed Facebook group to help shape the novel. Now, that should be an experience.

I'll keep you posted on progress on both stories.


  1. Good luck with rewriting the old stories and writing the new one. The first-person thriller one sounds particularly interesting to me. Then again, I love reading those types of stories.

  2. I just finished Free Fall by Kyle Mills. I learned a lot about a new writing style. Note I will do what you are doing, rewriting - again. The murder mystery sounds like a lot of fun.