A few weeks ago, before I was done with the first draft of my next novel, I met with a couple of local writers over tea and a yogurt parfait – because that’s what writers do in the morning. After lunch it’s all whiskey and pills. One requirement that morning was to bring a piece of writing for another writer to review – which is not something I’ve done very often. So, without as much as a cursory review, I printed the first twenty pages of my book and passed it across the table.
It was kind of like serving a meal without tasting any of it first.
I got a great reaction to those pages. In fact, both writers marveled at the quality of the paper I printed it on. 28lb Bright White from Office Depot. I use good paper for work presentations. I can’t stand cheap paper. Since that day I’ve revised the first 3,200 words twice, and it might get 6 more rewrites. Maybe more. I thought my first draft would be cleaner this time, and it actually might be. But for some reason this is harder than the first time. This weekend I’ll bring those revisions to that same meeting, I’ll pay for the tea for subjecting them to that unrevised collection of English words.
Speaking of Tea
I mentioned before that I just finished The Shadow Mountain by Gregory David Roberts, his second epic novel set in India. The characters are constantly drinking chai. To me, chai has been one of those menu items classified with tofu, flax, quinoa, and soy milk (it’s soy juice.) But after his great characters drank their 400th cup of chai, I had to find out what was going on. I bought some chai tea at Fresh Market, brewed it up, and even added milk at the suggestion of the box. Meh. I think I need to get some made by a professional barista with more tattoos and piercings than fingers. The second time I made it, I added honey and it tasted like… tea. Why are you talking about tea still? Hey, it’s my blog, dammit.
What am I reading now, you didn’t ask? The Given Day, by Dennis Lehane. I’m really enjoying it. The second book in this particular series, Live By Night is set in nearby Ybor City. Ben Affleck is making the movie, which would be really exciting for the Tampa Bay area if they hadn’t built a replica Ybor City movie set in Brunswick, GA. On the plus side, I fully expect my college roommate turned actor who lives in Georgia to be in the film. He’s a regular “walker” on Walking Dead and is in a new Zaxby’s ad. You go, buddy. You have a role in the film version of The Grandfather Clock, starring Ben Affleck, filmed at Epcot Center.