Friday, May 31, 2013

Writing in the Streets

You know that summer is the time for dancing in the streets, is it also a time for writing? Not necessarily in the streets of course, but a time for writing the great American novel? For me, generally it is not. I can't write in the light, I'm a bit of a literary vampire who can only write in darkness.

I can blog in the summer. I can edit existing books in the summer, but I can't come up with new ideas for novels when the temperature is over eighty. My mind goes on a Spring Break and doesn't seem to come back until Halloween.

There has been one exception however. I proved I could write in summer, but hopefully I will ever have to do so again.

A few years ago, I was involved in some nasty litigation with another lawyer. To take my mind off the litigation, I worked on my novel Conflict Contract. I came up with an easy structure to write--a judge's daughter has been kidnapped, and a lawyer gets word that one of his clients in the course of a week will help him find the missing girl. He just has to win a case and then someone will give him a clue, almost like the TV reality shows that take over the network each summer.

I loved a summer reality show called Last Comic Standing where the comics had silly tasks to do on each episode in order to win the grand prize. In my novel, the one week time frame of the story allowed me to write five different episodes-- on Monday, he was in Albuquerque for a burglar, Tuesday in Santa Fe for a trafficker...etc... I then went back and at the end of each chapter, I threw in a few clues to the grand kidnap story arc to make it a bit like Last Character Standing.

I was able to crank out 60,000 words in May and June, usually by working an hour or two in the morning. The rest of the day, I wrote briefs back and forth during the litigation. It must have been fate, I wrote the final words of the story on the day I we had prevailed on the case.

The book is not one of my favorites. A few months after I finished it, I started Lawyer Geisha Pink in the winter, and somehow I was back on track. I have never started a book during the summer since then . . . no writing in the streets for me.

Come to think of it, dancing in the streets doesn't sound so bad right now . . .I just won't bring my computer.

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