WIP: The Countdown

Okay, now this is either very courageous of me or very stupid. Time will tell which. My deadline for BEFORE THE STORM is July 1, so I plan to post my progress here to keep me on task. Here’s where I stand as of this moment: I have a complete (well, almost) draft of the manuscript and am working on the second (in some cases, third) draft. The reason I say almost is because there are still a few scenes that I simply can’t get down without more research. As a matter of fact, right now research seems to be my big stumbling block. Hard to believe, because I’ve already done so much! But it’s one thing, for example, to talk with the Fire Marshal  in Surf City, madly scribbling notes as he gives me information. It’s another thing to work that information into a cohesive scene.
When I hit a place where I have to do more research, I leave two asterisks behind: **  Then I plow ahead so I don’t get stuck. (A slightly more sophisticated version of the “Pass” maneuver I posted about a while back.) Later, when I’m ready to pull my questions together, I just do a “search” on all the **s. And there are a lot of them in the two chapters I worked on today! I may ask Fire Marshal Bogan to actually read those chapters at some point because no matter how carefully I write them, I’m going to screw up the fire fighting material.
Another personal trick of the trade I employed tonight was my favorite: when stuck, go to Goodberry’s Frozen Custard and get a double chocolate cone! It was a perfect night for it. Half the universe was there, enjoying the gorgeous spring night air, devouring their concretes and cones. I came back refreshed and renewed and finished the chapter I was working on.
Now it’s closing in on midnight. I’m going to turn in and read a little. I’m currently reading Lionel Shriver’s WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN. Wow, she’s a good writer. It’s very dense, though. Not for every taste. I’m engrossed, though.
Night all.


  1. Margo on May 16, 2007 at 9:12 am

    It must be frustrating to spend so much time at Topsail gathering details and information for your novel only to find you still need more research done! Does that mean another trip back to the Island? I was wondering if writers have assistants to help them with research?

  2. Diane Chamberlain on May 16, 2007 at 1:34 pm

    Margo, I may go back, but probably not until after the book is turned in. I can still make changes for a couple of months after that, so not a biggie.
    As for research assistants: A few years ago, I used a couple, one in person and one virtual. While both were very helpful, I found I still needed to do the research myself. That’s because 1) I’m obsessive-compulsive and 2) doing the research makes me think of situations that might take place in the story. An assistant would have no idea what ideas little bits of research might tweak in me. So the short answer is, I do all my research myself.

  3. brenda on May 16, 2007 at 6:59 pm

    I agree about the research–your heart and soul goes into your books.
    We discussed the book, THE ROAD–I would like to know where and how that author came up with that idea…what was the purpose?????? I don’t think I have read a more depressing, unlikable book in a long, long, long time…To think that Oprah chose that as a book club choice-let me tell you that would put others OFF reading….Her EAST OF EDEN was one of her wisest choices…

  4. brenda on May 16, 2007 at 7:02 pm

    I concur. L. Shriver fantastic!!!!!!!

  5. Diane Chamberlain on May 16, 2007 at 8:52 pm

    I had a love/hate relationship with THE ROAD. The pretentiousness (no quotes or apostrophes, etc) annoyed me. Some of the writing was terrific and made me stop and think about what the author was saying. Other times I found myself thinking: I really don’t care. The character of the little boy has really stayed with me. All in all, it was a mixed bag. I think it would be good for a discussion group. . . although this month was my turn to recommend books to my book group and I consciously omitted it from my recommendations.

  6. brenda on May 18, 2007 at 7:20 pm

    The little boy was sad esp. when he asked his father if they would have to resort to eating one or the other…whew…

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