Michael Haskins

Friday, September 18, 2009

How many words a day makes you a writer?

My writing is going well. The story has taken itself from me and moved in areas that I hadn’t thought of. That often happens when I write. I know the beginning and I know what I want the end to be and I begin.

So far, I’ve been lucky with the beginning. Endings haven’t changed too much, from the concept I was working from, but the middle is something else.

My new Mad Mick Murphy Mystery, Car Was Blues,” is going well, as I’ve said, but I am not sure it’s because of me or in spite of me. I have actually sat down in the morning and finished a thousand-plus-word chapter, more than once. In my past two novels, I have had to sit down more than once to finish one-thousand words.

I was telling all this to my friend Art who arranges the entertainment (and much more) at the Hog’s Breath Saloon.

Steven King writes all day,” Art said, a cold bottle of water sitting in front of him.

“I’m not Steven King.” I sipped from my plastic cup of ice and Jameson.

“A thousand words doesn’t seem like a lot.” He looked at me as if I really didn’t write and took a long pull on the water bottle.

“I write from about 7 a.m. until 10 a.m.,” I said, almost embarrassed in admitting I only spent three-hours writing. “I am exhausted after that and usually go to the Caribbean Spa’s gym for my workout.”

He looked at me and smiled and I knew he was thinking, ‘You workout!’ But asked, instead, “How often do you get to the gym?”

“I try for five days a week, but I am happy with three.”

“What do you do with the rest of the day?”

I’ve noticed that people with real jobs think I do nothing all day. Here was my chance to change that.

“I usually go back and read and self-edit a few chapters, including the one I wrote in the morning,” I said proudly. “It’s important to do some self-editing as you go along.”

I explained to Art that after thirty-days I will reread the whole manuscript and begin putting it into one long document. The thirty-day rule gives my mind time to move forward, so when I reread the story I am often surprised at mistakes I find and sometimes the writing is so good I don’t remember writing it.

I told him that I’d just signed a contract with Books in Motion so he could expect to see (or is it hear?) an audio version of “Chasin’ the Wind” sometime soon. I also slipped in that the publisher had said a contract for the second in the series, “Free Range Institution,” was in the mail.

Art looked impressed, I finished my Jameson, and the bartender, Irish Bob, refilled the plastic cup with ice and Jameson.

“You going to take a vacation with all the advance money?” he asked and tossed his empty plastic water bottle in the recycle bin.

“What money?” I sighed and Art stopped looking impressed.

To read a little of "Free Range Institution" and "Car Wash Blues," go to www.michaelhaskins.net.

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