Journal Entry: Wednesday, June 27th

Okay, no meeting yesterday, but by casual email it was officially announced that my boss, our Team Lead, is going to be Acting Branch Manager (that is, he’s stepping into the shoes of his previous boss) until a permanent replacement is found. In addition, he’s going to be interviewing for the position.

Admittedly, I haven’t worked for that many bosses in my time, but from what I have seen, I’m just amazed by this guy’s style. I would love to see him in the permanent position (not least because he fully supports what I do, and some of my grand long-term ambitions). So, that’s definitely good news.

Are some people super sensitive to cumin? That’s my only explanation. I did use a lot more cumin than usual in the latest batch of chili, but it was still nowhere near “so spicy that you can only taste the spice, not the meat or other flavors.” That’s how T– put it. I had the leftovers yesterday, and I still don’t get it.

I also, yesterday, wrote out today’s scene for SK, which ended up over three times longer than my normal target for a daily post. That’s okay. I expect it’ll happen a lot between now and the end of the story. I’ve decided to write entire scenes in one sitting, instead of breaking them up in manageable blocks. It’s the sort of burst-productivity that you can only get over short periods, but I’m close to the end.

On that note, I keep thinking (and even saying), “I’m about ten pages from the end of the book.” Thing is, though…yesterday’s post alone was 10 pages. And I’ve got at least six more like that. So I guess there’s more to it than I realize. Maybe after editing it’ll be 10 pages total, but that’s still a long way off.

I’ve been listening almost exclusively to hip hop music as I’ve been writing Josh’s story (the first book of Sleeping Kings). Also, incidentally, Josh’s character has already claimed to be a hip-hop fan. We’ll learn tomorrow that he’s got a Luda Kris ring tone. It works well with his character.

Sarah’s character (the focus of the next book), isn’t likely to be a big hip-hop fan. I’m thinking more country, and on that note, I’m considering switching all my stations to country music until I finish the second book. It’ll be a little bit brutal at first, but it’ll help me get thinking in the right direction (her approach to the world is radically different from Josh’s), and I’ll probably get accustomed to it pretty quickly. I listened to a lot of country back in high school….

In case you’re wondering, I’m thinking rat packers for Dave (I’ve actually already shown that in the story, with the whole crew singing along to “My Way” in his car), and probably classical music for Nate. Possibly contemporary christian stuff, like B– listens to. I’ll have to get him to play me some and see if it makes any sense to me.

Last night we met D– and K– and N– at Jason’s Deli for dinner, then the guys went for snowcones while the girls went to church. I got to keep the baby. After snowcones, I dropped off a couple movies at Blockbuster, and then D– and I went back to the house. The baby ate her cereal, then sorta flipped out. She went from perfectly happy (giggling and cooing) to just all out screaming in less than a minute, and we couldn’t get her to calm down for the rest of the night (until T– got her to fall asleep). That was pretty brutal.

I did go for a walk at 9:00, and D– tagged along. We spent the walk talking about story ideas for our project, and then got back to the house and kept talking about it for another hour and a half. I’m thinking it’ll take longer to get off the ground than he expects, so don’t let me get your expectations up for anything cool in the near future, but it will definitely be an exciting product when we get it going.

I firmly believe I can finish Josh’s story in the next week. I’ve got a plan. I just have to put in a couple hours a day. If I do that…what next? I talked to D– about that on my walk last night. I could roll straight into Sarah’s story, and keep SK going, but that’s going from the burst energy of finishing off a three year old novel, to starting from scratch at page one.

Alternately, I could finish up King Jason’s War. I’ve got…I dunno, 80% of it done. Maybe a little less in prose form, but I have such a detailed outline that that’s got to count for extra. There’s a chance I could keep up my pretense of self-control and get it finished by the end of the summer (before we’re scheduled to go into actual production mode on the project D– and I are working on). There would be a real psychological advantage to knowing I had three novels completed (even if just in rough draft form). On the other hand, KJW is no good as a first novel. I’m confident it will sell well once my world is established, and I’m in love with the story, but I wouldn’t want to try to pitch it anytime soon, and it seems like I should be focusing on more saleable stuff.

One of the things D– wanted to do, to try to build up the saleability (in the form of market interest) in our novel was to develop a lot of satellite short stories, involving interesting characters and events only loosely related to the plot of the main novel (or trilogy, or trilogies), but emphasizing the unique aspects of our setting. He’d intended all along for that to be a form of prewriting, for us to get to know the characters before starting on the real deal, so it would make a lot of sense to go ahead and invest myself in that, once Josh’s story is done.

On the other hand…it’s sort of a short window before I get actively involved in our joint project, and it sometimes feels like I should be closing out open projects, or maybe cranking out the easy opener stuff for Sarah’s story, so I’ll have a base to work on when I come back to it in a year or two….

This is the sort of stuff I spend my day thinking about. This, and rotary joints breaking down, and air conditioners that will fix corrosion problems, and doubling all my workload in order to maintain an Interactive Electronic Technical Manual parallel to extensive paper documentation…but all that stuff is boring. That’s my job. Count yourself lucky I mostly keep that stuff to myself.