Roppongi, Tokyo, on New Year's Eve

Roppongi, Tokyo, on New Year's Eve
Among other things, I am writing a detective series that takes place in Tokyo. The first novel, "Be Careful What You Ask For," centers on a much-admired Tokyo police inspector being forced to confront his ties to a crime family while investigating a murder in Roppongi.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Boat building

Lately, I've been posting the first few chapters of my detective novel on sites for critique. As well, I've offered it to my writing group for the same purpose. Once in a while, when someone asks what I've been doing lately, I tell them about the story, and if they express an interest, I send them a chapter or two.

I've come to the conclusion that writing a novel and talking about it with friends is like building a boat.

At first, the builder is so excited about his project he tells everyone, and kind listeners tolerate his prating on until the builder eventually begins to realize that perhaps only other boat builders are the ones interested in his misadventures.

Over time, the boat builder realizes that saying nothing is the best course, until the time comes when perhaps someone who expresses an interest in his project stops by for a look.

The boat builder eventually reaches the point where all his efforts must be focused on the boat, and that sharing it with others is time lost, with the exception of sharing some of his trials and tribulations with other boat builders, who offer excellent suggestions.

The boat builder knows that someday soon the boat will be ready for deep water and if all goes well, a christening will be a welcome. It is that moment the boat builder has firmly fixed in his mind. Everything else is the journey getting there.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

This brave new (non) deadline

Any journalist may be loathe to admit liking deadlines, but the fact is we live by them and die by them. When I go home and write fiction, my brain cannot entirely shift into a mode absent of the concept of deadlines. Sometimes it's good to have a goal: writing one page a day, for example. Other times a real deadline might come to fore: turn the article in by Friday or forget the paycheck.
In writing the several drafts my detective novel has required, I gave in to my mind's irrational need to keep flashing 'you must by done by the 31st' across my brain. That 31st was December 31st. Then March 31st. And sure enough, as the end of March rolled around, I wasn't ready to say 'this is it." In fact, I posted my first chapter for critique on

way back in February, and the most recent version on April 1 (I think). The feedback was incredible. I've had the most amazing time really tightening up this draft, thanks to the people who offer great critiques in a civilized forum.
And finally I've been able to tell my brain "yeah, it's April. So what?"
I now know the worst thing for my writing is to be in a hurry.
I have full-time job, so carving out time to write is up to me. I'm lucky. My kid is a grown-up and it's nothing for me to grab three or four hours at a time to devote to my craft.
It's the impatience I fight, the impatience to get this thing done, find an agent, a publisher, see it in print, and get started on the second book in the series.
I'm in it for the long haul. I want to see the book get in print.
And finally I am ready to take whatever time is needed to get the book right, before sending it out. Again. (My misadventures in sending out first and second drafts of a novel can wait for another time.)

Friday, April 6, 2012

Writer's Manifesto

As I have explained before, Brave New Deadline is the successor of a column I wrote for a weekly some time ago. Blogging means different things to different people. To me, it is a form of self expression and a way to share ideas. I write about writing, the process, the craft. I mention craft because I believe writing, whether it is reportage, non-fiction, fiction, poetry, or anything else, is really the craft of creating with words.
Creating is a very personal pursuit. It is celebrated publicly, if that is what fate has in store for what's been created, but the act of creating, of craft, is a lonely pursuit. 
A blog that has been named as outstanding for two years running is Jeff Goins Writer, and Jeff has produced an ebook The Writers Manifesto. It can be found here:

He writes: "I am falling back in love with writing. With the actual craft."
I believe all writers need to read this manifesto. 
And they must fall in love with writing.  With the actual craft.
Well said, Jeff.