A Good Laugh

I am finishing the mastering (read: fixing) the audio recording of Fatal Score in hopes of going live in time for an author event.  (For those of you in Minnesota, it’s at The Loft in Minneapolis on February 26th.  I’m one of eight writers participating.  If you’re on my list, I’ll be bugging you about it shortly.)  

Self-publishing has often been considered a failure on the part of the writer. My friends have been polite, but the serious writers among them are holding out for representation and the big time. I went ‘Amazon only’, which I think was a mistake, at least for me. So here I am at the computer, itching to begin novel #4, but instead excising plosives and other mouth noise from the audio.

But … but … but … today’s mail brought that medicine which we can all use:  a good laugh.  It came from a good friend, Weaver Gaines, which made it doubly sweet. 

And here it is, courtesy of and no doubt copyrighted by the New Yorker. 

Courtesy of the New Yorker via Weaver Gaines

An Epiphany

This morning, I attended a brunch to honor Carl Brookins, a founder of the critique group Crème de la Crime and author of several crime novels and series. Crème de la Crime was born from a writing course at The Loft, the organization which is to the Twin Cities writing community what infrastructure is to travel. Carl has decided to become emeritus after a 20-year-plus run of providing coffee, popcorn, and a lovely home to the group.The gathering of current and former members was an occasion for reminiscence, celebration, and conversation.  How lucky I am to live in the Twin Cities and to have such resources as these.

So there I was, enjoying breakfast with friends, when the epiphany hit.

See, I have always been a science-based sort of guy.  No mysterious suprafactual forces in my universe.  But … something happened as I was bathing in the flow of conversation this morning. Maybe sitting in the aura of massive writerly power (there were seventeen of us) threw a switch somewhere in the occipital or parietal lobes and made me see the truth I have been missing.

I have been struggling with the design of my fourth Mayfield-Napolitani novel.  So far, it has the problems I was tasked to change in the other novels:  a complex plot (gene therapy gone bad) and too many characters.  In writing Mayfield-Napolitani #1, Fatal Score, I was a proud seat-of-the-pantser.  Also a not so proud and often frustrated rewriter (I published rewrite #14).  This time, I knew I needed to outline.  As a result, I have been writing out the procession of people and events, getting tangled, tripping, starting over.  

Maybe it was always obvious, just not to me, but the outline I need is about what happens; how the story is finally presented is another matter entirely.  Nobody told me that directly this afternoon; it appeared while I was contemplating the last bits of scrambled egg.  I guess there are things we do not understand about the brain.  

The brunch buffet was tasty, too.