Yeah, a crazy idea, to edit one book while writing another but hey, after a few weeks of this it’s not that bad a deal. To edit you need reasonably quiet surrondings and the ability to research online or offline, which isn’t easy to do unless you’re based in a library. And when you’re in a coffee shop or a bar that’s not going to be feasible. But you can scribble down ideas, even string together sentences of an idea. That’s my take on it anyhow.
So, at home I edit the third novella I’ve written using a character named ‘Bobby Olsen’, a guy who comes from a dark background but who now acts on the right side of the law as a private investigator (no, it’s not hardboiled Mike Hammer stuff…) in late 1950s, early 1960s New York. The writing has developed over the three books and has, I think, become less quirky and more straight forward. Not sure that’s for the best but I guess I find it hard to write in one way as the protagonist all the time. and Bobby’s quirky manner of narrating and talking can annoy even me at times. Hopefully it’s readable, light and makes some kind of sense.
The hardest part has been developing or even maintaining the relationship he has with his sidekick in work and life. It’s easy when they were first acquainted, when she might have lasted only one chapter, and it was fun with the ‘jousting’ of words when they were in the ‘are they/aren’t they’ stage of friendship/lovers. Now they are an item it’s tricky not to make them sound bland, sound the same in their speech, or to continue the ‘banter’ of earlier dialogues for too long. It’s very tempting to write ‘her’ out, with a baby, and leave Bobby to pursue storylines by himself, along with any new sidekicks, male or female, I feel like bringing in female ones might cause problems as it would be so easy to make them sound like possible lovers and so ruin the happy family life in place. So this might be the last ‘Olsen’ story for a while. Or, I’ll sit in a coffee house with nothing to write and fall back on yet another tale involving the guy.
By the by, anyone else have the problem of catching the ‘Num Lock’ key when aiming for the Backspace key? I keep doing it and the blasted icon comes up on the screen telling me the lock’s on. It’s like hitting the \ key when I’m trying to get the Shift key for a capital. As you can tell, I’m not a trained typist!
The new story I’m attempting while coffeeing most days is a homage to or a rip off of, depending on your view, of Breakfast at Tiffany’s. It’s set around the same time, same location, with a similar single woman as the centre of the story which is told by an admiring guy who flits in and out of her life. Or rather, she flits in and out of his life. I wanted to keep it to the same length as B. at T., around 100 pages/30,000 words and I’m at around 25,000 right now and closing in on the final scenes. I’ve no idea how it hangs together as I’ve only read short passages each day after I’ve written them. It was quite straightforward to write the early scenes as the woman appears in the first two ‘Bobby Olsen’ stories I wrote so I was able to ‘lift’ her appearances from those and retell them from this other guy’s point of view. The final scenes have proved more problematic. And the ending still hangs in the balance. Do I go for the movie’s happy-ever-after-ending? Or the novella’s she’s-disappeared-could-be-anywhere-ending? Or something more dramatic; a death? a wounded-we’ll-never-know-if-she-survived-ending? a walkout which leaves a broken-hearted guy behind? I’m still not sure.