So, there I was…with the idea for a novel burning in my brain. Unlike the dozens of other concepts I had come up with and discarded previously, this one satisfied all the conditions of the existing universe, the previous two novels, and was a story that made me excited. The starship central to the story was the RCS Hornet, which carried the Latin motto: “Cave Aculem.” Beware the sting. Too late, I had already been bitten by the bug. I couldn’t wait to get started.
I had a three-day weekend coming up, so I cleared my schedule so I could concentrate on lighting the fuse on this thing. I sat down at my keyboard and let loose. The opening scene with August Delpero and his ex-wife, Dr. Orit Takagawa, flowed from my fingers.
In it, Delpero is the former CEO of a megacorporation, imprisoned for his attempted genocide on the Reformation Coalition’s alien benefactors, the Hivers. Orit has come to visit in the hopes of sorting out her complicated feelings surrounding him. She loved him, truly loved him, but Delpero used her as an unwitting pawn in his scheme, which resulted both in their divorce and the agonizing death of her Hiver friend, Cicero.
I was almost to the point where something unexpected happens when my phone rang. It was a friend of mine who needed help moving out of her apartment. She had until midnight the next day to be out. Even though I was on fire at the keyboard, I stopped in mid-sentence and went to help her move. Being Texas, it was boiling hot, of course, with near 100% humidity. We worked until almost 3:00 in the morning, but finally we got the last load out. Whew…
Even though I had lost a day, I didn’t let that deter me. During the routine of carrying boxes down two flights of stairs and up three, my mind was still chomping at the bit to get on with the story. I got up early the next day and picked up right where I had left off. Pretty soon the epilogue was done and I was on to Chapter 1. There I introduced the two main characters and gave them their marching orders. Before they can get to it, however, they receive a frantic message from Orit telling them about that unexpected turn of events at the prison.
This kicked off the first action sequence of the book, so my pace increased. I was constantly blasting the first Pirates of the Caribbean soundtrack, particularly “Will and Elizabeth” and “He’s a Pirate.” To this day when I look at those sections, those are the songs that go through my head.
In all, I wrote more than 20,000 words in two days, which is approaching ‘ludicrous speed’ for a slowpoke like me. It was rough to be sure, but the emotion that I wanted was there. It just all sort of clicked.
So, just like that I had the prologue and the first two chapters on file. A naïve part of me believed that this level of speed and productivity might endure, or that it would be smooth sailing from there on out.
Silly, silly me.
Little did I know that soon after I would hit a creative brick wall.
[Check out The Backwards Mask on Kindle.]
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