Sunday, April 25, 2010


I've found that working on a novel is like getting exercise.  Unless you're a world class athlete, you can always do more and should be concerned about shedding excess everyday.  The truth is, I don't work out everyday.  Hmmm, Michelob Ultra -- only 95 calories.

I awake on weekends thinking about how I can make my finished work leaner and tighter.  During the week, when I don't dose off in front of the computer screen (the perils of getting up shortly after 3AM for work) I try to master my craft.  Can that description be better?  Is the dialogue right for the setting or am I working on the long lost episodes of Magnum P.I.?  I find myself either working on the novel or plotting my strategy for securing the perfect agent.

I did a satellite interview with my man David Baldacci last week.  I asked him if he needed me to arrange an intervention and force him to take a vacation since his latest work, Deliver Us from Evil is out, a scant six months since his previous novel, True Blue.  I understand though.  When you're hot, you're hot.  And when those ideas just pop into your head, you have to put them on on paper.

The shameful moment on my part was when I told David that his agent, Aaron Priest, had yet to respond to my query letter.  He said he'd see him that afternoon.  Still haven't heard from Aaron and it's getting to the point where I might soon need to see a priest!

Thanks to author Sara Paretsky, agent Dominick Abel provided me with a sound critique of my first couple of chapters.  I debated changing them but I've always had an open mind and he has sold countless novels while I'm still trying to get noticed.  His advice centered on disposable characters and creating the real feeling of despair and danger in a thriller.  As writers, we all fall in love with our created universe and the people we put in them.  A character I love and took the time to cultivate may not be one the reader embraces.  The result is, like in a movie, a number of scenes will end up on the editing room floor, never to see the light of day.

It's a reality that makes rewriting a tough, but valued necessity.