Palaver’s Hands – A Novel in Progress – Sat, Feb 16, 2013

I want to tell y’all about how the story Palaver’s Hands got started. I heard the word “palaver” on the radio. I don’t even remember where.  But it immediately occurred to me that it would make a great name for a western town, maybe somewhere out in Wyoming or Montana. But was that it for ideas? Not hardly. I’d also been toying with the idea of writing a story about corporate espionage, not a cyber story, but about good old fashioned breaking and entering. The two elements sort of fit together in a rather far-fetched way.

In the spirit of NaNoWriMo, I sat down at the computer one day and started writing with no plan in mind. Knowing that I have to grab my readers at the very start of a piece, I began with a break-in artist being discovered in the middle of a penetration. And of course, it couldn’t be merely a discovery and bust. No way. It had to have a major twist or two in it. At the end of that first day’s writing session, I only had a few hundred words, but I knew that my perp was a young woman named Danielle Palaver, that the job had been a test engineered by a potential employer, and it had been a set-up from the start. I discovered all that in the process of writing.

Now, you’re asking how that works, right? How does a writer with no plan and only two vague ideas come away from the computer with the opening nugget of a story that has a cool lead character and great potential for depth and intrigue. Well . . . I don’t really know. What I do know is that my mind tends to synthesize ideas, to make new combinations out of old stuff lying around in its dusty recesses. That’s what happened here.I then decided that my character, Danielle (Dani) Palaver, was simply too young and innocent to figure out exactly what had happened on that job. She needed a more experienced criminal mentor. Thus, Vadim Flikowitz, a retired Ukrainian criminal living a quiet life in the middle of nowhere had to be invented, they had to be friends, and he could then help her sort out what had really happened.The story started to build from that point, although there was some jumping around time-wise, and I was pretty sure that my critique group, wncmysterians.org, would pounce on me for the lack of linearity. They did. It was only after they had received the second installment that the light began to dawn on them and the story took a more linear path, starting with how Dani was recruited by a questionable outfit that did penetrations for various private clients, businesses, and governments.I’ll report on further developments as they occur, or rather, as they occur to me in the writing. I’m not sure where things are headed, but I do know that they’re headed downhill at an ever increasing pace. Stick around.

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Intro – Sat, Feb 16, 2013, 6:38 AM

I’ve been thinking of doing a blog for a while. My problem is that after running BBSs (electronic bulletin boards) for ten years in the 1980s, before the Internet got going, and I felt I’d done my bit. My antisocial side asserted itself and I didn’t want to play that game any more. But circumstances now force me to blog, to establish a public “platform” for myself as a promotional tool for my writing. And let’s not forget that this is my place to spout my opinions on anything I care to, from national politics to my recent property line dispute with my neighbor.

So who cares what I think about anything? I don’t know. That’s where you come in, you, my current readers and my potential future readers. I’ve kept journals for years, most of my life in fact, but my writing there has been private, for myself and my biographers (ha!). A blog is a different creature. It’s designed to be public, a place where I share my ideas and report on my doings, where I bare my soul to the world.

I plan to write about writing. My plan is to report on my writing process, where I get my ideas, how I develop them into articles, stories, or novels, and the problems encountered along the way and how I solve them. This is a blog for other writers and people who may not write but are interested in the creative process.

What credentials do I bring to this forum? I don’t have a degree in English. I’ve never taught a writing workshop (not yet anyway as of 2013-2-16), although I’ve been a presenter at Killer Nashville several times. Instead of formal credentials, I have a lifetime’s experience as a writer. I started writing as a kid. Unfortunately, I didn’t know what I was doing and didn’t have much life experience. The result was that I didn’t have much to say, though I knew I wanted to say something. All the reading I did inspired me, I guess. It took me years to figure this out, but there are four active writers in my bloodline at the moment, so I kinda feel like the “tendency to authorship” might be a genetic defect in us. May you all be blessed with such a malady. The others are Fred Phillips, Jim Lavilla-Havelin, and Kate Havelin.

I’m currently working on several projects: a book on writing mysteries, several short stories and a couple of novels. One of the novels, The Extra Body, was written in 2012 as a NaNoWriMo project and is currently in rewrite. Palaver’s Hands is being approached as another NaNo project, meaning that it’s being written with no pre-planning, no plot outline. There are three other Ben Bones genealogical adventures that need reworking before they join the two Ben Bones adventures already out in the world.

If you’ve never heard of NaNoWriMo, let me enlighten you and explain why I did it. NaNoWriMo (Google it) is an international conspiracy of individuals who all agree to write 50,000 words during the month of November. It’s a personal challenge and commitment to write 1663 words per day. Some write with outlines, but many write without. I felt I had pre-planned the three Ben Bones books that are on hold too thoroughly, and in doing so had trapped myself into plot wrinkles I couldn’t solve. To break myself of the over-plotting habit (method?) I’d developed, I took on the NaNoWriMo project to force myself to write with NO pre-planning. Strangely enough, I started writing and ended up with a short novel that’s pretty good. Needs some rework, but what first draft doesn’t?

Well, there you are. You now see the tone of what I want to do with this blog. Stick around. I’ll be adding to this at least weekly. Enjoy the ride.