Wednesday, May 28, 2003

Went to a monthly political discussion group at our local library tonight--a lot of aged left-wingers, moaning about the crimes of the ruling Liberals and the failure of the New Democratic Party to rally any kind of coherent counter-attack. A good time was had by all, and of course nothing happened that might move us from moaning to something more constructive.

Then came home and did some work on Deserters--almost a thousand words--about Jack and Astrid having dinner together. Astrid, to my surprise, revealed a lot about how she first got involved with Sid Gardiner, and how Sid had once in a drunken moment told her he'd worked for the CIA while appearing to be a professor at the university in Saigon during the mid-1960s.

I knew Jack would eventually learn this, but I didn't expect Astrid to reveal it tonight--the dinner conversation just took on a life of its own, including a comment about Stanley Ellin's classic short story, "The Specialty of the House." So I was sitting in the corner of the dining room, kind of like Jack himself witnessing one of his flashbacks, listening to the conversation and busily writing it down, quite unable to influence the characters' actions.

I think it's going to lead Jack to explore some of Sid's own papers in the library, and there, I suspect, he'll find the proof about Maddy's origins...as Sid's own daughter, by a woman in Saigon whom he abandoned after getting Maddy out of the country. And I suspect that betrayal is what finally led Sid to shoot himself. Well, we'll find out. I just have to eavesdrop on these people and write down what they say.

Tuesday, May 27, 2003

Well, it's been a while. I was knocked offline about ten days ago by a lightning bolt that fell entirely too close. Nothing damaged except my network card, so I had to get used to blog-free writing until the card could be replaced.

The writing has gone fairly well, though not as fast as I'd like. Henderson is up to about 12,000 words and ticking right along. Deserters (at least the main part) is close to19,000 words. Add the other section that fits in later in the story, and I'm around 25,000 words or about a quarter of the way through it.

Cutting Maddy out of Deserters hasn't been as traumatic as I'd feared. She's still there, but off stage. At the moment Jack is having dinner with Astrid, Maddy's mother, and before the dishes are washed he's likely to learn quite a bit about Maddy and her strange parents.

With Henderson the main problem at the moment is to learn enough about nanotech to offer some plausible talk between Henderson and his new Korean colleagues. Once the nanobots are actually going to work, the story will move very quickly (and surprisingly).

I've also done a fair amount of work on the workplace-writing textbook revision. It had seemed very daunting, but I stumbled on a solution: I saved it as text only, ditching all the formatting. Turned out to be much easier to read and revise the text this way.

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