With not a lot of paying work on my plate so far this week, I decided to set aside today to finally break through my weeks-long writer’s block (well, and to finish doing the laundry. Writing is glamorous, yo). Today was the first time since I said I was going to get back to work on Radium Town that I actually added words to it. 494 of them, to be exact, and let me tell you, getting that first hundred down was like pulling teeth, but I’m glad I did it. As Stephen King said in On Writing, a reread of which I just finished yesterday, the scariest thing is the moment just before you start. So I’m glad that’s out of the way.
It took hours to get done, most of which were spent reading what I already had and trying to get my head back into the story, and then figuring out how to end the scene where I’d left off in the middle. I also had to do some research and fact-checking, although I really should have saved that for the second draft. At any rate, here’s a rough, non-spoilery snapshot of today’s output:
The car arrived for them at a quarter to seven. It wasn’t the first automobile Betty had ridden in, nor could she say it was the finest. She’d guarded far too many politicians and dignitaries for that to be the case. Still, it was a fine enough limousine, a Packard colored a deep cobalt with polished redwood and brass trim. The best thing about it as far as Betty was concerned was the fact that the passenger seats were closed in. The day might have started unseasonably warm, but the night was feeling much more November-like.
The Belvidere mansion also wasn’t the grandest house Betty had dined at since embarking on her career—her duties had often taken her to the White House, after all—but it was nevertheless lovely, a three-story Victorian with a turret on each corner, a large and welcoming front porch and an equally large and inviting balcony stacked above. For a town like Claremore, it was downright magnificent. And well it should be. Betty had it from Charlie the bellhop that the house had been under construction and in fact still wasn’t entirely finished. Mr. Bayless had overseen every last detail right up until his passing earlier that year. Mrs. Bayless and her children had only just moved there from Missouri and were still settling in.
(If anybody from Claremore’s reading this, I fudged the timeline a little on the Belvidere and John Bayless’s death. Really, Mary Bayless wouldn’t have moved in until a month or two after my story’s timeline, but I just really wanted to set part of it in the Belvidere. Besides, steampunk alt universe. So nothing to see here. Move along.)
Unfortunately, I did not manage to break through my block on my next short story. I actually spent quite a bit of time yesterday on that, too, and I did come up with an idea involving Harry Houdini and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and the Ghost Club at the dawn of the jazz age, but I’m pretty sure that wants to be a novel, and one that will require massive amounts of research, so that’s probably not going to happen for quite some time, if it does at all.
I do think I might have come up with an inkling of a flash fiction idea while loading dirty clothes into the washer and listening to Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane on Audible, but I need to mull that over a bit more before I’m sure. Here’s hoping it doesn’t end up keeping me awake all night trying to tell itself to me.
Speaking of no sleep, I finished House of Leaves a little more than a week ago, and I still need to tell you about that. So that’s three books recently finished that I need to review (I finished Ocean today, too). Actually, House of Leaves didn’t scare me as much as I’d thought/expected/hoped it would, but I have thoughts about it, and I’m still getting them sorted out.
In other news: how ’bout that Purple Wedding, huh? High-fives all around, amiright?