Monday, July 5, 2010

Day 97, July 5, 2010

Other than the joy of doing the writing, the most gratifying part of committing fiction is getting positive feedback, i.e. money to continue writing and reader comments telling you how much someone has enjoyed what you've written. Getting fan mail is a heady experience. Humbling too in a way. Because it makes you realize how lucky you are to be the recipient of a given talent.

You often see athletes look upward to express thanks after making a big play. That never seems corny to me. It seems appropriate.

Anyway, I received a complimentary e-mail recently. Someone I've never met told me he liked my book The President's Henchman, and asked me if I have a sequel planned. I told him the sequel, The Hangman's Companion, has been written and will be coming out soon in e-book and trade paperback editions. He followed up by saying he was sorry to hear that my new book wouldn't be published in hardcover as he collects and reads only first printings of first edition hardcover books.

I like hardcover books. I've been published that way three times. I've read more hardcover books than I can remember and have hundreds of them on my bookshelves. But I've never collected any. I don't object to book collecting. For me, it would be more interesting than collecting most other things. And it can be a good investment.

But for me, to paraphrase Shakespeare, the story's the thing. The book is just an object. It might be an appealing object, though I don't think much of most book cover art. But if the story's not wonderful, who cares about anything else? I'd rather hear an interesting story over a beer in a bar than read something ho-hum that was beautifully packaged.

Books are good, stories are better.

Today, I wrote five pages.The action's coming faster now. Some scenes are shorter and interplay with other short scenes. The protagonist's spouse hears a disturbing sound just outside her window. The antagonist kicks off the climax of her scheme. The protagonist figures out where the antagonist has been hiding, only to receive a call from the antagonist telling him his wife is the target of the sexual predator. The protagonist calls home, reaches his wife, but the call is cut short. He has to race across town to reach her—only a dense fog is going to make getting anywhere quickly very difficult.

Day 97 of writing my new novel is done.

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