Well, the most current draft of “The Bureau of Lost Films” (I’ve settled on that as a title, for sure), is now over the century mark. It’s been slow-going despite the outline. I think it’s because I’ve had to re-think how the story is developing and what I have isn’t look like it’ll get past the 200 page mark when I need to break 250 pages in order to have a salable product. Shit. “Saleable product,” my ass. Every time I think of that I feel like I’m conceding another ounce of purity to the fucking marketing machine that is the publishing business.
The key to plotting, of course, is flexibility. Not all of your ideas are going to be great. Some of them are spectacular in your head and have an incredible relevance and significance to your storyline. Then, however, you write it up, put on the page and then just go “Meh!” Suddenly, the great notion is no longer so great…in fact, its tedious, derivative and slows the action to a crawl…in which a thriller is a deadly failing. I refer to them as “Side trips” and I’ve taken enough of them now to bog me down somewhere between pages 83 and 100. So in try to fix that problem, I’ve had to go back and reconfigure earlier pages to change the action for the future pages. It’s all very much a PIA (pain in the ass), but I hope in the ends it makes the story gel and gives the novel cohesion. It already has a surrealist bent to it, but you have to be careful with that. You don’t want to wander out to left field and have your readers get lost trying to find their way back.
In any event, we will keep going. We need to surpass/survive the 150 page mark in order to know if we even have a draft worth finishing. I’ve said it many times before: writing is cruel, abusive and really about the worst thing you can inflict on your soul and ego. You can tear out your hair, bang your head against your keyboard and weep and sob because dame inspiration is out fucking over another writer.
Goddamn it, I love it.