Tim Frankovich

Writer's Blog & Home of Warpsteel Press

Category: Real Life

The Quarantined Writer

Like most people, I’m sitting at home. Unlike most people, I’m used to it. I’ve been working from home (freelance) for ten years. Unfortunately, the virus has impacted the industries from which I get my work, so… like many people, I have more time on my (carefully washed) hands.

You’d think this would mean I’m getting more writing done. And I am making significant progress. When I’m not doing yard work, playing games with the kids, or any other of a myriad of things that just keep popping up.

At the moment, I have two scenes left to consider and re-write. And then… I think this book (Until All Bonds Are Broken) might be done. I still have to decide what else I’m including in this book – afterword, preview, etc. And I am hoping to hear from two other beta readers (I need to email them!). But, barring any other setbacks, this book should be ready to publish by the beginning of Summer. I think. Could be sooner. Could be later.

I’m working on another book. Brainstorming a couple more. Dreaming a few more.

If you’re bored right now, I suggest… reading a book. Just an idea.

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Gotta Keep Trying

I had a very different plan for what I was going to post here today. Weird things happen.

In this case, my washing machine broke. Thanks to the internet (yay internet!), I figured out that the drain pump was clogged. This morning, I took it all apart, cleaned it up, and put it back together.

And then it happened. I dropped the very last screw down into an eight-inch deep, one-inch wide shaft. Ugh.

For the next hour, I felt like the kids in the movie The Sandlot. I tried scheme after scheme to get to that stupid screw. Nothing worked. Vacuum. Magnets. Wire. Sticky-tack. Hot glue.

Courtesy 20th Century Fox

In some ways, I realized later today, that madness is not unlike what I’m going through in this editing process.

I know a particular scene can resonate. But it’s missing something. Let me try this… no, that doesn’t work… how about this… no, still doesn’t work… And on and on it goes. It may be just one word that solves everything in a particular scene. But I have to keep trying.

The good news is that eventually, I did solve the screw problem. I attached a narrow piece of PVC pipe to the vacuum cleaner with duct tape and sucked the screw out. But then I had to dig through the vacuum’s bag to find it. Pro Tip: if you’re vacuuming up a screw that you need, put in a fresh bag first.

And eventually, I’ll solve all these editing problems. It’s actually coming along quite well. I’m pleased with what I have, but I know there are still many things that could be better. I’ll be sending it to some alpha readers very, very soon for their feedback.

In related news, my continuing studies in writing have convinced me that I’m just not working hard enough. I’ve written out a four-year writing plan. If I stay motivated and do the work, I’ll have 5-6 books out by the end of this period. That’s good news for you if you actually like reading what I write.

If you’re stuck on something, keep trying. You never know when just one word – or a strip of duct tape – will solve the problem.

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Update – Writing & Otherwise

I received my manuscript back from the editor. The good news is that she had high praise for the book overall. She also gave me quite a list of suggestions – revisions, editing, and so forth.

After carefully considering all of her suggestions, I made a revision plan consisting of eight steps. I’ve now completed four of those steps. Once I finish the rest, I’ll make a new printout and go over the entire thing page-by-page for the tiny details. At the same time, I’ll send it off to a final beta reader.

And then it’ll be done. Complete. Ready to move on to the publishing stage, in whatever form that now takes.

Unfortunately, I’m also now searching for a new job. It turns out that you can’t really make money before actual publication. What a shame. Anyway, this will undoubtedly take more time away from my writing until things settle down. At this point, everything is up in the air.

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Harvey & Writing

trackingmap.jpgThis picture shows a magnetic hurricane tracking chart. One exactly like this used to hang in my grandparents’ home. Almost every time we were there, one or more of us would mess around with the little magnets on it. And invariably, we would make a dotted line leading directly to the Galveston/Houston area.
(In my parents’ home, we used the paper tracking charts that the news stations printed every year. No magnets to play with.)
If you didn’t grow up on the Gulf Coast, this is probably completely foreign to you. But tracking hurricanes was something that happened every year. Sometimes, those little magnets were vitally important. Sometimes, there were many of them, showing multiple hurricanes and storms moving throughout the Atlantic basin.
It was normal. It was the way we lived.
Today, with the internet, we can pull up the charts and tracks from the National Hurricane Center at any moment. We can see it on our weather apps. We’ve upgraded a little bit.
But the hurricanes are the same. They show up and cause devastation.
Harvey derailed most of our plans around here. We were extremely fortunate to be one of the homes in our town that did not flood (7,700 did!). But it’s played havoc with everything else in our lives. My business has taken a huge hit and may not recover. Hundreds of our friends lost part or all of their homes. We’ve all become experts at tearing out sheet rock and insulation.
I had a goal on my current novel writing to reach 50,000 words by September 9th. That didn’t happen. It still hasn’t happened. Harvey arrived two weeks before that day and everything changed. We lost tons of sleep, from which we haven’t fully recovered. We hurried out in the aftermath to help our family, our friends, our neighbors. Our church ran a shelter, organized work crews, and a distribution center. We have/had dozens of people from other states show up to help out. Writing, and many other things, got pushed to the background.
Normalcy, such as it is, is slowly peeking over the edge of reality, asking if it can come back. I don’t know. It might, but I think it’ll be changed. You don’t go through something like this without changing.
I’ve written a few hundred words in the past week or so. Starting to get back into my story. I thought I knew what was happening.
And then my protagonist did something totally stupid and almost got himself killed. That wasn’t in the outline.
Neither was Harvey. Huh. Art imitates life.

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