Life Sentences, Day 133: Dom Time

February 10th, 2011

Break out the Dom. The first draft of PULPED is finished.

Is it ever.  Yesterday I did almost 4,000 words, and today 2,200.  I was aiming at 90,000 words and came in at 91,020.

And I got all teary as I wrote the last scene.  That was at about 6:20 this evening (Thursday), concluding a workday that began at 11 AM.

This is as good as it gets.  Right now, this book is perfect. It’s the best book I ever wrote.  It may be the best book anybody ever wrote.  This feeling will last until I wake up at 5 AM tomorrow, in the dark and drowning in doubt.

But I’ll get past that.  Eventually the birds will begin to sing, my spirits will rise as the sun does, and after coffee I’ll be ready to go back to work.

So tomorrow I’ll go over the past three days’ work, including the complete surprise of an ending that got me all weepy.  And I’ll rewrite it very considerably. I’ll also spend a couple of hours going back to the beginning and strengthening some stuff that wound up paying off in the final act.

I’ll look at that same material on Saturday, too, and then put the whole thing away for a couple of weeks to fall out of love with it so I can do a full-length revision.  That’ll take a week or ten days, and then comes the trial by fire: reading it out loud to Munyin.

I can’t WAIT wait to read it to Munyin.  Everything she hates about my books is missing from this one.  Nobody gets his ears nailed to a table or is thrown into a cage of starving ferrets.  I think she’ll like it, and I hope I do, too.

As I read to her, she’ll be more or less interested and occasionally confused, and those reactions will help me tighten and clarify. I’ll also find myself speeding up in some passages, or even rewriting verbally as I read, and those pages get a big red line down the right-hand margin that means UUUGGGHHHHHH.  Work is needed.

And finally, I’ll feed the whole file into Calibre to convert it to mobi so I can read on the Kindle.  (That sentence would have been meaningless three years ago.)  It’s amazing what you see when you look at a manuscript in a more formal form.  Previously undetected strengths and weaknesses leap to the fore.

My agent wants to see it, but I’ll be flabbergasted if he decides to try to sell it as a tree book.  I wrote it as an e-book, and that’s what I think it is.  He is, however, the best editor I’ve ever known, and anything he wants to share with me about PULPED will result in a stronger book.

The other thing this means is that I can (a) proof INCINERATOR and get it online.  (b) Integrate Gary and Everett’s catches on LITTLE ELVISES so it can be put online.  (c) Start the new Poke.  I have to confess that I’m really eager to get back to Poke and his family.

Thanks for living through this soap opera with me.

10 Responses to “Life Sentences, Day 133: Dom Time”

  1. Larissa Says:


    That is all. (c:

  2. EverettK Says:

    Congratulations, Tim!!! Really looking forward to it. And it’s been no great trouble “living through this soap opera” with you, it’s been a great privilege to get a small peek into your creative process.

    On a completely different note: tonight on CurrentTV (a cable/satellite channel), a new show debuts that sounds quite interesting, and which may be a harbinger of changes coming our way in some areas of TV. It’s called Bar Karma. Rather than trying to regurgitate what I’ve read about the show, here’s a pretty good description of what it’s about and how it was developed:

    CNet News: Bar Karma

    I have NO idea whether the show will be any good or not, but it’s an interesting concept, and the development method is very interesting. Worth checking out, for the creatively-curious among you.

  3. Laren Bright Says:

    What a great post. Laying your process bare and calling yourself on it.

    I forwarded this to another writer friend who I’d been meaning to turn onto your blog. This one is perfect.

  4. Suzanna Says:

    Congratulations, my friend. I am very happy for you!

  5. Lil Gluckstern Says:

    Hurray! We are now closer to the finished product, and it’s been really fun and interesting to share your writing process (another over used word I hate, but it works). Wouldn’t it be a hoot if you got a tree book out of this? Enjoy the moment; it’s today and you are allowed to enjoy yourself. Phooey on the early morning doubts!

  6. Peg Brantley Says:

    I miss Poke. And Rose. And Miaow. And oh, gosh . . . the policeman whose name starts with a T and I would know it if I saw it. I miss the strangeness of Bangkok, the beauty of it and the sadness of it.

    But oh yeah, congratulations on a terrific finish. Now to check out Bar Karma . . .

  7. Gary Says:


    (Gee, Everett, why did he have to finish it so darn quickly? I was hoping we could goof off for a while longer.)

  8. micael hallinan Says:

    Congratulations. All your hard work and stamina have paid off. I dont know how you do it; but im glad you do. Cathy and I are looking forward to reading the latest Poke.

  9. Debbi Says:

    Congrats! Enjoy the bubbly.

  10. Timothy Hallinan Says:

    Laaaadies and Gentlemennnnnnnn . . .

    I ain’t done nuthin today, as the next post will inform you. So I’ve been rude about not getting back to you.

    Thanks for all the congrats and good wishes. YaYYYY back atcha, Riss, and thanks to you, too, Everett. That’s actually almost interesting enough to get me to turn on my TV, but I don’t think we get Current TV (Al Gore, right?) and anyway, it’s too much work to find the remote. It’s a very interesting process, though; sort of cloud showrunning.

    Thank you, Laren, and thanks also for all the words of encouragement along the way. This one was interesting because I never really felt as though I wouldn’t be able to finish it — I had long periods when I doubted my sanity and wasn’t sure there was any kind of acceptable ending ahead, but not the kind of full-scale, head-on collision with a stone wall I experienced on QUEEN and BREATHING WATER. This one was largely a lot of fun to write.

    Zanna and Lil, you’re both great, and thanx fo de kind werdz. And morning doubts are just part of the process; they push you to challenge what you’ve already got, and sometimes make it better. Also, they reflect reality, since I don’t ACTUALLY think this is the best book anybody’s ever written.

    Peg, it’s going to be a while. Not for me, because I’ll start writing the next one in a couple of weeks (or earlier), but because of the change in publishers there won’t be a Poke book in 2011. I have to turn it in in October of this year, and they’ll put it out whenever they feel is best, which could be as late as summer 2012. I’m not happy about this, but it’s not their fault I don’t have a book; I reacted to being dropped by writing PULPED. And I’m glad I did, although I don’t like the long lag between Bangkok books.

    Gary, it’ll be at least a month before I have to bother you guys with this, and maybe much longer, since I suppose there’s a chance it’ll be a tree book. We shall see.

    And Mikey, I don’t know how I do it, either. I was saying to Mun last night that the whole thing is sort of mystical — I put all sorts of stuff in the first 4-5 chapters just because it entertained and/or amused me, and about 90% turned out to be essential to the conclusion. When you read it, just keep the first line in mind, and you’ll see one of the things I mean. I actually have no idea how it works, but thank God it does.

    And sorry about the delay on the next Poke.

Leave a Reply