Saturday, May 11, 2013

Life intrudes

My fiction writing for 2013 hit an enormous bump almost two months ago when the real world intruded, in the form of a server crash where I work. Unfortunately, you can't just borrow or copy another server when the business is a local newspaper. All the files are local.

We limped along for ten business days as the server was repaired and restored. We didn't have any internal connectivity and had to carry files between departments on thumb drives. I essentially spent all my waking hours at the office; not only was it a personal strain, it was a strain on my marriage, and it started to look like I would be faced with having to make an abrupt changes in jobs to preserve marital harmony.

The problem eventually was solved, but the time lost in my personal life was enormous and has created a wave that is just subsiding after two months. It took me weeks to get caught up on the most basic of chores and tasks at home, for example.

There were also some other strange things along the way. Despite the crisis, we let an employee take a previously scheduled week-long vacation. This was a case where she joined her spouse on his vacation. I felt it would be unfair to keep her on the job when her husband was off someplace.

But she came back, worked one day, and quit without giving notice.

I've also been pinned down the past two weekends. I had family members as guests the last weekend in April, and I kept my commitment to give a pair of classes at the DFW writers conference last weekend. Today is the first Saturday I had to myself since April 20, and honestly, that day I was just getting caught up with the chores an errands that had accumulated because of the server crash crisis. I had to haul an old sofa to the dump because it was bulky trash day, and I spent the rest of the day burning an enormous brush pile in the back yard, much of which was the result of the Christmas Day snowstorm.

During the past month I did the edits for my next collection, "The Clock Struck None", which Ian Strock at Fantastic Books is publishing, and I spent most of last week editing "The Witch of Waxahachie" because I had a chance to make a formal pitch to Lou Anders at the conference.

In case it was ready to be submitted, I wanted it to be ready, but after visiting with Lou I know it isn't. But it was a very useful meeting, and he specifically suggested I attend his class called ScripTips, using character-based screen writing techniques to enhance the characaters, plot and themes in novels.

I know now what has be edited and rearranged. One thing that struck me - once Lou's class cleared away the cobwebs - is that "The Witch of Waxahachie" is unusual in that the antagonist and the relationship character are the alternate versions of the SAME character - Penny Pennoyer.

I've been struggling with allergies all spring, and a touch of the con crud didn't seem to help. By Friday I was coughing and choking so bad at work bystanders were telling me to go home.

All of this whining is to explain why I haven't written much lately, but things are on the upswing.

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