Crunch Time


Okay, no one who knows me thinks I’m a perfectionist, not even close. Look at the picture for crying out loud.

But here we are rolling up on our first deadline (Eight days away!) and I’ve been working with Wendy to try to put the finishing touches on the prologue.

So what does that mean? Well, for me, it means I’ve now pretty much rewritten it top to bottom three times. It’s the same scene in all three versions, and maybe, in July, we might even post the other two versions for you to see the progression. Maybe not, writing might be like sausage, where you never want to see it being made.

If I’m not a perfectionist, then why have I rewritten the scene three times? Because, if there’s one thing I do want to be, it’s a writer who gives you, gentle reader, what it is that you want, and that’s a bit difficult for me, as writing Horror is definitely not something that comes naturally to me, which is why I wanted to do it in the first place.

The first time I wrote the scene, I was coming straight out of my background in writing, namely fantasy. I set the scene, I lovingly crafted the atmosphere, I gave our character, well, character. I set up the climax of the scene slowly, building item on item and I carried it to a cinematic closure.

If I had been writing Fantasy, it would have been great. Wendy took one look at it and said, “Well, it’s nice, but it’s not horror.” Uh oh, strike one.

I went in search of inspiration. I read horror writers blogs and web sites, read some discussions on what makes horror, and realized I’d broken about 9 of the cardinal rules. I showed the monster mid-way, I didn’t keep any sense of suspense, I didn’t hide things from you, the reader. There was no shock or surprise.

Nuts. Wendy was right, it wasn’t horror.

So, I went back and did it again. This time I hid the monster in the shadows, I set a tone, I built up a story that led to a dramatic reveal. In short, I went to my other genre, Mystery. Wendy spent some time with this one, marked it up and gave me comments. First comment, “why are we starting with boring set up? The first three pages is a guy smoking in an alley.” Okay, she was nicer than that, but…

Strike two. On to number three.

Hopefully, this time, I have it right. There’s a line out there about how to write, “Come in Late.” It means, skip all the boring stuff, and come in after the action’s already started. So that’s what I did. Literally. It’s back in Wendy’s court for a collaborative “look-see.” Hopefully, this time I’m not playing the role of Casey at the bat.

After three iterations, I think that all that remains is a little bit of polishing. I hope so, I’m not sure how many more times I can rewrite it. Especially with a deadline looming….

3 thoughts on “Crunch Time

  1. Hello RJ

    Just wanted to say that I'm looking forward to reading the first installment of Bloodleggers and can't wait to see what you get when you mix fantasy and horror writers.

  2. In some ways, I can't wait for you to see it, in other ways, I'm really nervous. New genre and all. Wendy's given me some great feedback, so I'm pretty sure it's getting there.

    I guess it's still kind of like watching your kids get ready to leave the nest and hoping they can fly…

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