I've been busy working away on 'Wonderland' (might as well call it that for now) over the christmas period, and as a result haven't been posting here as often as I might have. So it goes. It's 'working' rather than 'writing' since the only way, I've found, I can figure out a plot for a book is to start writing the book and see where it goes. Usually I get bogged down somewhere between twenty thousand and forty thousand words, but I've learned to anticipate this.
I hit twenty-five thousand words a couple of days ago, and decided to take a step back and work out the exact details of the story I want to tell. Part of this means building an Excel spreadsheet (I've never done this before, but figured it would be worth a shot) detailing series of events over a period of several decades. This way, I can look at short snippets of events and personal histories arranged along a timeline, and work out where the story threads through it all. One thing I've already found this good for (and I only started building the spreadsheet earlier today), is pointing out glaring inconsistencies. In a couple of days, I should know where all the several characters were at different points between about 1945 and 1976. I've also set up a timeline for real-life events, such as the Korean War, the MKUltra program, major events in CIA history and anything else that looks like it might fit, since these things will all be entirely part of the environment for the characters.
... and how was your christmas? I spent Christmas Day at my mum's with MJ, New Year at Jim's in the West End, plus had Dave (who I used to work with years ago) visiting from Edinburgh on the Saturday. Finally, a night out at a chinese restaurant in Princes Square called Ming's (very highly recommended) with some of the writer's circle. Quite relaxed for once.
A book recommendation - I saw the movie of Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (the quite possibly almost entirely fictitious life of Chuck Barris, creator of the Gong Show, and covert CIA assassin, should you choose to believe him) some time ago, and finally got around to reading the book. Very good indeed - in fact, a lot better than I'd expected. Heck, he had me wondering ...