(Also posted on One Bite at a Time.)

I finished the first draft of the work-in-progress last night. Took me almost three times as long as usual. I’m not sure if that’s good or bad. There were a lot of plotting issues, including a misguided attempt to write this one by the seat of my pants. I won’t soon try that again. I have great regard for writers who can do that well, which includes most of my favorites, but I’m just not wired that way. I need to know what happens when I sit down to write it. My outlines are flexible, but I need some kind of map.

Enough of that. Events made this one take forever; so be it. That’s not the only unusual thing about this project. I usually get right back into the second draft, while some ideas are still fresh in my mind, but that’s not going to happen, either. Instead, this book will lie unattended for two or three months while I do a re-write on an older project that has come close a few times. I have an idea I hope will make the protagonist more compelling, and I’m changing the relationships he has with a couple of the primary supporting characters. I’m looking forward to doing it, and I’ve found an agent who said she’ll look at it when it’s done, so there’s no time like the present.

The book that’s being left on the hard drive will worry me a little. I’m not sure how much I like it, or how well it holds together. Friendly advice and personal experience tell me that’s as it should be; few books worth reading were written without any doubts during their creation. Still, I can usually get right back to work to address these doubts. Not this time.

What I am looking forward to is becoming re-acquainted with my PI. We haven’t had much to do with each other in over two years now, as I worked on other projects while the first book of his potential series circulated. As I’ve noted on the blog before, I think PI stories are potentially the highest form of crime fiction, and Nick Forte and his supporting cast are my favorites of all the characters I’ve come up with. It will be nice to see them again.

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Comment by Dana King on October 30, 2009 at 3:44am
Thanks to all for the congratulatory messages. I celebrated by taking a couple of evenings off to read (Ellroy's BLOOD'S A ROVER) and watch some baseball (World Series) and hockey (got the NHL Center Ice package so i can see all the Penguins games).

Tonight, back to work on the PI revisions.
Comment by Jon Loomis on October 29, 2009 at 12:48pm
Congratulations, Dana. Finishing a draft is always a great feeling--and an event worthy of some real celebration.
Comment by John McFetridge on October 29, 2009 at 12:41pm
Congrats, way to go. Good luck.
Comment by John Dishon on October 29, 2009 at 11:24am
Congrats! Just make sure you back it up somewhere; hard drives can die at any time.
Comment by B.R.Stateham on October 29, 2009 at 10:58am
Dana, I have my fingers crossed hoping for all kinds of good luck to fall in your direction. And I am happy to see you tried writing 'by the seat of your pants.' I know it's hard for writers who need outlines to even try-much less complete--a novel. Good for you.
Comment by I. J. Parker on October 29, 2009 at 6:49am
Congrats and more power to you!

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