Friday, July 10, 2015

Where to Hide Out

I'm in a good place right now.

As I may have mentioned, I'm trying to write a spy thriller, which is a genre outside of my usual field of expertise. I like to read them, but I've never written one. They need to be highly structured before they can actually thrill. This is a lot of work.

And it's all on spec. Nobody has asked me to do this. I haven't even got an agent, and if I did I would have nothing fit to show her yet.

The way to get things written, as we all know, is basically to apply the seat of the pants to the seat of the chair. One of the reasons this is working for me right now is sensory deprivation. I quit the TV. We have no TV anymore. My Facebook presence is limited by the number of funny cat videos I can actually absorb. I watch movies only in my living room when we have guests over and get out the projector. As a result my main form of entertainment is making up stuff to go in this book.

And the dreams I have at night. Very vivid dreams, sometimes quite disturbing. I lost a good friend a few weeks ago, and when something as bad as that happens what I usually do is sleep a lot, lose myself in another time period, and write. So here I am, happy as a clam, completely split off from reality. Here's a picture of the model room of the New York Yacht Club, which has hardly changed since 1915. I might as well be there, sitting comfortably in one of those leather chairs, except that I don't think they let women do that.

Also I have new tools. Scrivener, for example, is turning out to be the most wonderful thing, especially for a historical work with a lot of real people in it. Instead of fumbling around amongst a whole file folder of documents looking for my World War I Sabotage timeline, and trying to remember what I named the file, I can simply scroll down the left-hand sidebar of Scrivener and there it is. Together with character notes and Wikipedia entries for Franz von Papen, Karl Boy-Ed, Guy Gaunt, and any number of other folks who were active on the New York espionage scene in 1915. As well as my fictional characters, of course.

Scrivener does wonderful tricks with the word count. You can set a target count for every session. You can set a target count for every scene. You can figure out beforehand where the plot points are supposed to go, mathematically. You want structure? This is structure.

You should try it. You get to play with it free for thirty days. So many bells and whistles! (A great mode for writing screenplays, too.) So far I've written six thousand words on the first draft, and going like a house afire.

© 2015 Kate Gallison


  1. Why don't you send an omelet to Mr. $$$ James Patterson... tjs

  2. P.S good Luck in going like a house afire!!! tjs