If you check this blog periodically, you'll find that once in a while I give away a million-dollar idea, completely free of charge. Here's an idea that's going to make somebody rich beyond the dreams of avarice.
Have you noticed how many men wear baseball caps all the time? This may only be true in the southeast, but I swear there are towns in Tennessee you'd think boys were issued baseball caps at birth and forbidden by law from ever removing them. They wear them inside and out, day and night, rain or shine. (Surely the purpose of a baseball cap is to shade the eyes? Why would you need one after sunset?) So here's my idea: open a clinic that will surgically implant a visor directly into the forehead. Great, huh? Someone's going to make a fortune.
It won't be me, though. I'll be working on my novel.
My current work-in-progress, tentatively titled Bread of Heaven, is about a grammarian who suffers from a mysterious neurological impairment and is also convinced his wife is unfaithful. In my previous draft, which I've been working on well over two years now, he hired a detective who turns out not to be what he'd seemed. Somewhere between Thursday night and Friday morning it occurred to me it wasn't the detective who wasn't what he seemed, it was the neurologist. Did I mention I'd been working on this for two years now? The neurologist and the detective can't both be not what they seem, that would be overdoing things. Out goes the detective.
My previous draft (12c) weighed in at about 301 pages - much of which was scrap, and was destined to be jettisoned anyway. After trimming out all the stuff about the detective - this is only preliminary, I know there's some other parts to take out as well, I'm at 202 pages. So, at an estimate, I've lost a little over eight months' of work, early mornings, most of it, between 530 and 700 AM. I won't say I didn't cuss when I figured this out, and didn't feel like crying a little. Still, what the hell, right? By this time I'd be this much older anyway, whether I'd fiddled away my time writing about a character who didn't make the cut, or spent it productively working on the neurologist. Hell, if I'd started with the neurologist, I might be done by now. *&%$##!
Mark Twain's favorite novel, his third, was Pudd'nhead Wilson. He said he'd gotten the thing finished before he realized it was actually two novels - one a tragedy about Pudd'nhead and one a farce about co-joined twins. He surgically removed all the parts about the twins and produced it separately as a forgettable novella - remembered only because it had once been part of Pudd'nhead Wilson. In his foreward to Pudd'nhead, he explains all this, and says that there is a lot of information on how professionals write novels, but that maybe the reading public would like to know "how the rest of us do it."
I belong to the category of "the rest of us." Pudd'nhead was Twain's third novel; this is my third novel. Maybe it's a kind of a curse or something.
Anyway back to work. *&%$##! Back to work.
I should've gone into surgically implanting baseball caps.