Gaze Upon My Manuscript, Ye Mortals, And Despair!

[Originally posted to Northcoast Exile June 6, 2005. Unfortunately, I wound up scrapping this book, and Graham Powell never had a chance to get out of the gate. Oh, well. At least Graham got Crimespot live.]

Yea, verily, I did thus utter the sacred incantation on this very blog – the Seven Sacred Words – to call upon the Muse.

And lo did she come unto me in the middle of the night and whisper in mine ear. And thus, her whisperings begat Chapter 10.

Yet I despaired, for as I sat in Starbucks after working, admiring the beauty and the grace of that creature known as “MILF,” lo, did I despair, for I knew not how to follow the first scene in Chapter 10.

And yea, verily, the saints, they did appear: Hammett with a venti Yukon blend and MacDonald with a carmel frap, flanking the man himself, Chandler, who thus opted for a skim no-whip mocha, with triple expresso.

And yea, verily, did St. Raymond say unto me, “James, James, why doest thou despair so? Doth thy wallet cry out in agony from this overpriced java?”

An verily, I said, “No, St. Raymond. I have set up my protagonist in a bar and have no way of turning the situation.”

“Truly, truly, I say unto you,” St. Raymond said unto me, “first, you really did pay too much for a venti decaf. You could have gotten it at the IHOP up the road for $1.20 and all the refills you wanted. Second, James, remember my words and heed them well. When thou knowest not what to do, throw in someone with a gun.”

And thus, the Three Wisemen hopped in Hammett’s SUV and drove to Deja Vu because yea, verily, couch dances are half off on Monday nights. MacDonald was heard to exclaim, “Don’t tell Margaret where we’re going.” To which Hammett replied, “Isn’t it bad enough she knows we’re in Cincinnati?”

And lo, I took the advice of the Three Wisemen and threw in some guns. Two characters ate lead, then dirt sandwiches. And I looked and I saw it was good.

26,000 words.

Verily, I say unto thee, Graham Powell, who art thy daddy?

How Not To Become A Bestselling Author

Poor Tanja Shelton can’t catch a break. Her supervisor noticed she was typing constantly and discovered she was writing a romance novel while at work. So they fired her.

This is not the first time I’ve heard of this. And I’ve been accused of it by people who can’t imagine how else I would write such a big, long book. (Um… It was 210 pages. It’s not that long.) Generally, I’ve never been able to write on the job. I did do a flash story once, waiting for Windows to install on a laptop, but never a longer story. And a novel?

It’s kind of hard to do with the phone ringing. I’ve worked on it during lunch break or stopped at the coffee place on the way home. The fact is I have to unplug from work in order to write.

Most writers I know who have day jobs don’t write at work, unless they own their own business. Then it’s not a matter of giving the business a full eight hours. They just get to pick which eight hours they give it.

The Channel 8 story says all is not lost, that Shelton will finish her novel. That’s great. In the meantime, I think the landlord would like his rent money.