Measure twice, cut once — and the Internet issue

My first inclination, having roughed out a lot more of the story, was to start writing again yesterday, to push for some pages. I’m getting antsy, watching days go by without my 2000-word fix. But the more I thought, the more I realized I needed to think more — I needed a clearer view of my characters, a stronger understanding of all the obstacles standing between the hero and the heroine, and a sharper feel for the shape of the mid-story, which was still pretty hazy.

I clustered, outlined, character-developed, and researched — all of Crazy for You, by Jennifer Crusie, plus about half of Head Over Heels, by Susan Andersen.

Measure twice, cut once. Old carpentry adage, good for writing too. Sometimes you can just nail two boards together, and something nice will come out. But when you’re genuinely pressed for time and have to get the thing as close to right as humanly possible the first time through, that is the best time to slow down and start measuring. I don’t need another Book That Will Not Die. The three versions of The Wreck of Heaven were enough of that sort of fun for a while.

And then there’s the Internet. I had just logged on, downloaded my mail, and posted my first blog entry yesterday when I noticed our “community” computer behaving peculiarly. I was sitting there looking at a page, but the modem was busy, busy, passing data back and forth. Did a virus scan. Had picked up one trojan horse, two backdoors, and one keystroke logger. Nice.

Windows sucks.

So I got a very big boost in my resolution to stay off the site for a while. My personal computer (which I can’t use during the daytime because of its incovenient location) is clean — I have now checked it and can breathe easy, so I’ll at least be able to check and send e-mails in the evening from it. But during the day, for the next few days, at least, I’m off the Internet completely except to plug in for five seconds to post a “what I accomplished yesterday” blog entry. Feh.

And, since it’s going to be a while until I can get to my e-mail, would someone please pass on the following for me if you see Sheila before tonight?:

Sheila — got the edits, and they’re brilliant. Thank you. Also got the book, and I want the heroine to fire the hero, and I’m enjoying it immensely. More thank you. And more later — but I have to get this e-mail-and-file-security issue nailed down.

Today, I’m going to get some writing done. First, smacking the outline into something approaching final shape, then getting some pages. And then saving the rest of the stuff off of this computer that mattered (already got the photos, that was big), and then reformatting the hard drive. I want a completely clean system. Gonna be a long day.

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About the author: Novelist, writing teacher, on a mission to reprint my out-of-print books and self-publish my new ones.