Thursday, March 3, 2011

CKR: January 2008

(continued from October-December 2007...)

“CKR” Diary Post No. 27
Thursday, January 3, 2008
I know, I're thinking, "Damn! I was hoping for another P-List post." But aren't you at least a little curious about where I am in the latest book I'm working on? I don't write just "hott" (with two Ts) stuff, you know. I write "real" stuff, too. The kind of stuff you can pick up in hardcover at Barnes & Noble or And this latest novel, Chasing Kid Rock, is gonna kick some serious literary ass.

First, I need to finish the damn thing...

Chapter 19 is "in the can" and 20 will (cross your fingers, toes, eyes, etc.) be finished today or tomorrow. That leaves 21 through 28. Most of them are written, but in the extreme first draft stage. They're also in third-person (e.g., Ted did this, he went there), and I'm converting the entire manuscript to first-person, so the story's told from Ted's perspective. It's really turning out well (if I say so, myself), and I can't wait to finish it.

My "new and improved" writers' group has read and critiqued Chapters 1-17 so far, and they're not beating me up anywhere near as bad as they were a year ago. In fact, unless they're simply blowing smoke up my ass, they're enjoying it. And I am, too. I even let them in on the end a few weeks ago, so they could help make sure all the pieces fit together (i.e., the sub-plots support the main plot). So far, so good.

Having a "team" of writers look over your stuff has its tearful moments (like when they say, "you're wasting your time with this trash"), but it's also hugely beneficial. As the writer, I see more of the story than they do, but I don't always get it out onto the page; the group makes sure I do. We're not meeting this week, because Joel's in Vegas visiting his girlfriend, and Peter and Tina are under the weather. That would have left just Joe and me since our Aussie buddy, Graeme, can't make the weekly meetings on account of the commute. So Joe and I have our chapters poised for next week.

But I'd prefer staying indoors tonight, anyway. It's in the 40s out there, y'all! And, with the wind chill, it feels like...well, to be honest, it feels fuckin' cold! Laugh all you want. I can take it. I'd like to see YOU bask in 80 degrees on January 1, then wake up to freeze warnings on January 2. I don't have the wardrobe for this.

Anyway... Now that the Pens are nearly caught up to me, I have a new sense of urgency. I'm feeling good about this year, though. Not only did we kick it off with a Mentos-Diet Coke spitting contest between Scott and Casey, we watched Kid Rock and TBT perform shortened versions of "Cowboy" and "So Hott" in Times Square on MTV (he sang again in the studio with Reverend Run), so I'm hoping that's an omen. Regardless, 2008 can't possibly be worse than 2007. Sure, I saw my first novel in print and had a few successful book signings, but my travel schedule sucked the life out of me, then we took in a teenager for 6 weeks, then my mom died, then...let's just say it got worse before it was over.

So, 2008 has promise. I also have a cosmic advantage: The number 8 is my lucky number. (And, if you're worried about my chances being jinxed because I revealed that, it's not news; that question's on at least half those stupid bulletin surveys I fill out.) Consequently, I'm setting some ambitious goals for the new year:

* Finish CKR (duh)
* Write the film treatment
* Write the screenplay
* Get Kid Rock and NASCAR "on board"
* Gather rights for the soundtrack (maybe JJ Grey & MOFRO won't be tough, but Robert Bradley, Nickelback, Hank Jr., AC/DC, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and a few others might be more difficult)
* Sell the paperback rights for
Immortal Bonds
* Sell the hardcover and film rights for CKR
* Dust off the manuscript for
DeSain and dig in...
Think I can do it? I guess there's only one way to find out.

“CKR” Diary Post No. 28
Thursday, January 31, 2008
Two weeks ago, I got my ass kicked. And, God help me, I'm preparing to throw myself to the wolves again tonight. Please say a prayer for me...

My writers' group will be reading and critiquing Chapter 20 this evening. Hopefully, they won't rip it to shreds like they did Chapter 19. But I don't want them to be gentle. In fact, I told them exactly that when I emailed the file yesterday. If they hold back, they're not doing what I need them to do, which is give me honest feedback. Even when I initially disagree with their suggestions--something that's happened on many, many occasions--I've learned over time that, when they feel particularly strong about something, changes need to be made.

That last ass-kicking also served to knock my ego down a pitch. Up to that point, we'd been flying through chapters, and the majority of their comments were positive ones. They were really getting into the story and enjoying it. Too much of that and, eventually, you start believing your shit really doesn't stink. That's a dangerous place for a writer, or anybody, for that matter. It makes you defensive and inclined to ignore improvements that could elevate your work to something better than what you started with.

And isn't that the point of getting a second (and third and fourth...) opinion?

So, off I'll go tonight with Chapter 20 tucked under my arm. Thankfully, we meet at a location that serves beer and wine, so Charlie will pour me a draft soon after I arrive. That always helps take the edge off. Of course, the second and third glasses don't hurt, either. By the time we get to the actual critiquing part, I'm kinda numb. But don't worry, I order dinner, too, so I'm fit to drive home.

Glancing over previous entries, I noticed it's been a while since I gave you a taste of what's on the pages of this book. So here are a couple samples of the most recent stuff:

Blame it on the weed, the Jack, the light-headed after-effects of vomiting, or just that I was tired as hell and, therefore, prone to hallucinations, but a couple of things became clear for me in that moment:
One, my friend Jimmy was living the life I'd always thought I wanted, and Two, my friend Alex would always be an asshole.

[Ted, in response to Alex's suggestion that they consider hunting as a replacement for the Daytona 500 trip] "We might have dissected a lizard or two as bored adolescents," I said, "but I doubt that any one of us could take aim at something that's simply trying to eat, breathe, and fuck its way through life the same way we are. And what would we do with it after we killed it? Eat it? My digestive system has enough trouble processing shit approved by the FDA. I'm certainly not eager to find out how it would react to something I shot in the woods."

Once I'm finished with Chapter 21 (cross your fingers that will be today), I'll have only seven chapters left in the re-write. But don't get too excited (and I say that more for myself than for you), because I still have to go back to Chapter 1 and make sure every change has been made and that the whole thing flows smoothly, front to back, cover to cover. Still, I'm starting to see the light at the end of this damn tunnel. I hope you are, too.

As always, thanks for sharing this ride with me.

(to be continued...)

No comments:

Post a Comment