Archive for the ‘The Honorable Thing’ Category

I did an update on the THT blog.  Yes, there’s a blog for the book.



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They tried hard. But they should have known, from Comic-Con, how packed out these kinds of events could get. When you get top YA authors, A-List personalities, and good old Stan Lee in a venue, you have to expect chaos–even if it’s about books.

Book-Con ’14 was one crowded place. There was a time when I had found myself at the back of the hall and thinking, “What if there was a incident, and everyone had to get out?” It would be like that Who concert in Cincinnati–people getting crushed.

However, some lines were worth it: like the one for the NYTBSA Said author looked up, said “Hi, Bill! How’s the work going?”, then graciously signed a book for me. I was floored–this famous author remembered me! I discussed THT for the ten seconds I had in front of him, then exited the line to allow others to get books.

Still bemused, I walked across the aisle to Mid-Sized-Press-Company. I guess I was grinning, for one of the people behind the table said “Ah, got a book from [NYTBSA]?” Her badge labeled her as “Chief Poo-bah”. I related the story of how THT came to be. She said, “What is this project? Tell me about it.” I did so. At a certain point in my pitch, I always get goosebumps. I happened to glance down, and she also had goosebumps. Whaaaa?

She looked me dead in the eyes. “If [NYTBSA] passes on your project, I want it. This is a verbal request for a full submission of your manuscript. If the website says our submissions are closed, put in your query letter that I personally asked for it.” I’ve never seen anyone look so intent, and I’ve pitched a few folks on my work, though not necessarily this one. So…wow.

The next week, I related this to one of my trusted associates while at a writers meeting. One of the people there overheard me, and said “If I had any capital, I’d option that concept right this second.” He is a screenwriter with some solid credentials in the film industry, and he was saying that if he could, he would offer me cash, that minute, to grant him exclusive development rights for my concept for the screen.

Again, double wow. Just a single paragraph of pitch, and three industry pros (writer, editor in chief, screenwriter) are not just mildly interested, but absolutely possessively interested. Color me stunned.

After some major thought, I came to this conclusion: I had always wondered whether the NYTBSA was either humoring me, or mildly interested, or something along those lines–encouraging while not really sold on the concept. Now I know. Validation. It’s a wonderful word.

After BookCon, I had an excellent meeting with Grant Faulkner and a few Municipal Liaisons from the Tri-State area.

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It occurs to me that some of the writing I have to flense in The Honorable Thing (THT) isn’t really all that bad.  Oh, I’m not going to spend time polishing it, it’s just writing that can’t or shouldn’t be part of the finished work.

It’s writing that will get thrown out.  And that, sometimes, is a shame.

Rather than fling it into the bit bucket, I figure, why not let other folks read it?  After all, I’m never going to get paid for it, it matters not if I give it away online, as long as the piece does not encumber the manuscript’s status as ‘unpublished.’

So, I put in a new page in the THT blog, Deleted Scenes.  Should be interesting.

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Which is something I haven’t been doing lately.  By that, I mean writing posts.  You might have written this off as a moribund blog (one of millions), and to a certain extent, you are right–I’ve not been maintaining it as much as I should be.  There is, certainly, a reason.

I’ve finally finished parting out The Honorable Thing.

What that means:  Over the course of four (that’s right, FOUR) NaNoWriMo events, I wrote the incredible mass of verbiage that is The Honorable Thing.  I erased nothing: every false start, do-over, go-back-three-chapters-and-try-again was retained.  This was done for several reasons, the most shallow of which was to keep my word-count up. 

It also meant I had 219,000 words written for a 70,000 word novel.  I had to get this monstrosity onto the literary version of Biggest Loser, and fast!  Enter Scrivener.

Everyone I know raves about this program.  So, with a 30 day trial, I figured, what do I have to lose?  Besides the month, and I wasn’t really getting anything done anyway.  So, I loaded the whole fetid landfill into Scrivener and began

For each scene (and I read them all), I wrote a short one-line synopsis and created a short document.  (Control-K.  Wonderful tool)  It took me some time, because I had to read the stinking thing, and 219k isn’t a lazy weekend read. 

I have 183 scenes.  Some two dozen or more are do-overs, so it’s pick one over the other.  Some scenes are 400 wors long, one is 5,000.  Some I absolutely know are in, others, just as certainly, are out.  The rest are in the vast gray.  And so comes the rebuild of THT. 

Head over to my blog for The Honorable Thing, and I promise I will post the blow-by-blow building of this (hopefully) epic tale.

The scenes that get cut?  They might just be reworked into character sketches, additional blog fodder, and setting descriptions.  Everything one needs to know everything THT.

Thanks for hanging with me, folks.

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Well, the primary writing for The Honorable Thing has wrapped up.  Here are the stats for those inclined to look:  about 172980 words and about 775 pages.  This is far too large for commercial fiction for a new YA book.  The man who challenged me to write this said “Give me 70,000 words, and if it’s good, I’ll see what my people can do with it.”

Thus, the flensing.  I have to trim 103,000 words from this work, some 59.5 percent.  That’s some reduction!  It’s OK, though.  Some of the material can be repurposed for character studies, blog posts, and other worthy ventures.  Short stories, too, I think.  We’ll see. 

Think Biggest Loser is going for massive reductions?  Wait until you see what gets carved out of The Honorable Thing!

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I’ve been kind of quiet for the past 6-7 weeks on here, which is really a disservice to my readership.  I apologize. 

The month of April was consumed by the Second Draft of The Honorable Thing–80k worth.  a little bit was overlap, the rest was new material.  This monster will be up to 140k by the time I am done.   Then I have to flense it down to 70k to get it out. 

May?  Well, the first week was nothing by burnout recovery from April.  After that, I have a 20k novella that’s due on the 27th, which I still have to finish.  I also ran a Short Story Workshop for the joint NaNo/Princeton Writing Group population on 5/18.

I’ve been working.  Just not blogging about it.

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It’s Day 19, and I am within 4k of my stated goal (I should be at 38k, I’m at 34).  Yesterday, I took a trip to Valley Forge Military Academy and College in Wayne, PA, to do some research into how a private military academy works.  Here is my Trip Report. 

Yeah, I hate following links as much as you do, but the report is a decent size, and I’d rather keep the posts in the blogs where they are more germane.

Still cranking out the words for THT.  Back to work.

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