Archive for May 10, 2023

When the Real World Intrudes

It’s been a month since I finished the first draft of the book in progress. I’ve re-read it and have done some brainstorming about what I need to fix. I don’t have a lot of major surgery to do. I think the basic structure is good. But what I have is essentially a 125,000-word outline. The scenes and plot points are there, but I think they may not be done in quite the right way. I’m going to have to analyze each scene and figure out how I could do it better.

That analysis is what I’ve been working on this week, though I’ve had some difficulty concentrating. You may have heard about the recent shopping mall shooting. That happened in my area. I don’t live close to that mall. It’s on the other side of the metro area. But I have a lot of friends who live around there, so as soon as I heard the news, I jumped online to see if my friends were safe. I found that one friend’s son was just across the road from that center when it happened, so I narrowly escaped having had two friends who’ve had children gunned down (just one is already too many). I’ve shopped at that mall. In fact, I bought a dress I wore for a lot of my Damsel Under Stress book events there. I got chills when I saw the reports that the shooter had researched the busiest times there because the time I shopped there was during that peak window. It was years ago, but it still felt like a close call. I guess I had a closer call last year when someone was shot on the street behind my house and I heard the gunfire. I’ll never forget that sound.

I’m heartbroken about the lives lost and the lives broken — that poor little boy who lost his whole family, the mother who lost both daughters, the young woman celebrating her birthday, and all the others. It’s hard to believe that someone could have so much hate as to want to indiscriminately wipe people out. Even sadder is when you see the number of people online who try to excuse or justify it. Maybe they’re all just trolls or bots trying to stir things up, but it’s still scary.

So, no wonder it’s been hard to focus. It does help that this is a “secondary world” book, so it’s an escape from here and now. I’ve figured out how I need to fix the first scene. That will be my work for today. It’s a rainy day, so it’s good for writing.