First off, to answer a question: The reason there isn’t a post on this blog every day is that isn’t my target. My target is to put up a post every three days – you know, so you won’t get tired of me. Of course, that begs the question: Why isn’t there a post every three days? Well, because they don’t always turn out so hot. I write them, I rewrite them, and they still suck and you guys get stiffed for a few days. But it’s better than putting something crappy out there.
Okay, but back to the actual post: I’m in the weirdness zone right now. This is the phase of a project where you don’t do any actual writing, you just think about stuff. It’s that point in time when you’re standing in the kitchen, making a sandwich and you suddenly say, “Oh…a short order cook. Of course, they can go anywhere. They can live off the grid. A short order cook. That’s perfect.”
Then you look over and your wife is giving you the stink eye. And you say, “Nothing,” and go back to making your sandwich. Later that night, around two in the morning, you sit up in bed and realize you forgot to make a note about the short order cook so you get out of bed and traipse into your office wearing nothing but your underwear.
In the morning, your wife finds a note like this on a yellow sticky attached to your monitor: “Shrt Ord cook. Anywhere. Off grid. Second act intro in diner.”
Now that she’s convinced you’re a burgeoning serial killer, you cement that idea by taking an extra hour for lunch because you were driving around a strange neighborhood taking pictures of houses that have “yards where you could really bury a body.” These pictures go in a folder called, “Locations” which is right next to a folder full of faces called, “People.” Both of these folders are under a main folder which is named for the novel you’re working on, something like, “How To Murder Your Wife.”
You’re going to need a second napkin at dinner. One to wipe your mouth with and the other to jot surreptitious notes on when you think your wife’s not looking. You would just use a notepad but she’s banned those from the table.
Give her credit, she tries to make conversation. She says, “I’m still waiting on the bid for the repairs to family room.”
You pick up your fork and make a stabbing motion with it. “No,” you say. “How long do you think it would take to smother someone with a pillow? Is that even really possible? It’s got to be easier than cutting someone’s throat. That’s got to take a lot more effort than it looks like in the movies.”
“Is there someone you want to get rid of, honey?”
“Hmm? Yeah, the baker.”
“You’ve got something against Mr. Alcott?”
“Well, he is a witness.”
At some point, the folders will be completely filled with character and location pictures and the notepads will be filled and piled next to your computer. That’s when the hard work starts. But for now it’s fun and a little crazy and, to be honest, the thing that drew you to writing in the first place.