Posted by on Jan 2, 2010 in Conway Sax, Writing | 5 comments

Where was I? Ah yes, the ultrapredictable year-in-review post, a staple of lazy journalism. Consider yourself fortunate I don’t bookend it with the equally tiresome 2010 Predictions piece or, worse, Resolutions.

In Part 1 I accounted for 36,225 words of my 2009 output; that’s what I wrote to finish Purgatory Chasm, the third Conway Sax book. Now, about those other 38,713 words:

Fully 10,160 went into the start of Conway Sax Four, as I called it until a working title (Just Drive) began to suggest itself. There I was, clicking along at page 40, having a nice time with Conway; his girlfriend Charlene Bollinger; sidekick Floriano Mendes (who I was happy to welcome back from the sabbatical I granted him in Purgatory Chasm); a creepy pair of political fixers; and KC, a smokin’ hot former lover of Conway’s who had HOMEWRECKER stamped on her forehead.

But for over a year I’d had this idea for a heist story. It would have to be written in third person, with multiple points of view, and while the story involves no helicopter-to-helicopter gun battles or fistfights on the wings of airborne Harrier Jets, it does play out on a bigger stage than Conway’s.

This story kept gnawing at me, and once I got a handle on its protagonist, I had a hard time thinking about anything else. (The hero is gang-pressed into a heist crew. They kidnap his wife as leverage; what they don’t know is that he was planning to ditch her that day.) After consulting with super-agent Janet Reid, I decided resistance was futile. In November, I told Conway to take five and lit into the heist book, whose working title is Black Cat Arkansas.

And that, friends, is where my final 28,553 words went. That’s a two-month total, mind you; relatively speaking, I am flying through this story. Small wonder, as I’m having a ball with every scene. After three books and change written in first person from the point of view of a single taciturn character, writing third person with multiple POVs is a hoot.

So this is where I stand at the dawn of 2010: a third of the way through Black Cat Arkansas, having fun with the manuscript, looking forward to each day’s writing. Even allowing for the inevitable slowdowns, I’ll finish a draft sometime in March and then see what I’ve got.

As to Conway: fear not, I’ll get back to him.