Ed at Eleven is my comic horror anti-romance about a girl who leaves her cult to pursue a relationship with a local news anchor. Things get bloody from there.

It’s been kicked about and reworked in a number of ways since the summer of 1999, when I wrote an initial screenplay version in eight days. In 2010, I wrote the first draft of its current incarnation as a NaNoWriMo novel.

It took me a few years to really figure out how to edit a novel. The first revision to the book was hard as hell. But I kept hacking at the weeds, until the book swelled from just over 50,000 words to just over 80,000. Then I revised again. And again. And then I read through it and fixed some typos and errors.

This weekend, I started another huge push on the novel, trying to turn scenes that are “ok” into scenes that are “pretty great.” It’s a fun place to be.

So … I’m sorry if you haven’t heard from me in real life. I’ve been in the dark woods, tearing my hair out and such.

One more week of edits, and then it’s going out the door.

No point keeping a novel in the cave forever when it could be out there getting rejections. But even if a book is rejected, at least it’ll be getting read. 😉

I’ve successfully completed the goal for this year’s NaNoWriMo (50,000 words in the month of November, done!), but I still have a little over a chapter to write to complete the draft. In the meantime, I thought I’d try to share a handful of songs and music that has inspired me along the way.

First up, it all started with a piece my good friend Rob Gerry was putting together (featured here). He was inspired by a lousy screenplay I wrote back in 1999. He was beginning to put together the motion picture soundtrack for that unproduced piece of crap that I wrote in eight days on a whim that summer after spitballing the idea at work with him and a coworker of ours named Keith Leonard.

Then he had the full suite performed by an ensemble by the University of New Hampshire, and I was lucky enough to be there for the performance. But before I get to that, here are a few other songs that kept me cranking the pages out.

The first is a track by George Benson, Al Jarreau, and Herbie Hancock, “‘Long Come Tutu,” which Ed puts on a party music.

Then some younger kids take over at the party and play a rap song Ed doesn’t recognize. While I was writing, I was thinking the song was something like Tupac’s “California Love (Remix).”

But Ed’s a gentle type, whose musical tastes tend less toward rap and more toward the Beach Boys. One night in particular finds him listening to “You Still Believe in Me” in his car.

Then there’s the unofficial rock anthem of the story, “Hell’s Bells” by AC/DC. It’s played by the Girl of Smiles as she gets dolled up for the final showdown.

And last but certainly not least, here is the full “Suite from the Motion Picture,” as performed live by real people. This was invaluable to me as I wrote the novel, and I am forever indebted to Rob m’f’in Gerry for inspiration … as well as a few plot points.

Listening along, the distinct movements to the piece are as follows (some of these contain mild spoilers for the novel):

  1. Overture/Ed’s Theme
  2. 11 o’clock With Ed
  3. Daydream 1
  4. Commercial Break: Fosurat’s Mango Salsa
  5. Daydream 2/The Girl at Home
  6. Our Man (Alone) On the Street
  7. Club IF
  8. Daydream 3/Ed Gets the Girl

So enjoy! Listen to them one by one, or play them all at once for a rich sonic experience. Doesn’t matter to me; I present them here to give you a flavor of the story I’ve written while I finish this last chapter and start the editing process.

Oh, that editing process ….

8,500 words and 2 days remain in my NaNoWriMo adventure. This has been a really fun month-long project, and my pride refuses to admit that I’m not going to make it by the deadline. But I have to work the next two days, and I have laundry and housework to do. And 4,250 words a day is a steep order. Not impossible, really, but even if I had a full day of time to write that, it would be a challenge. When I was in the cabin finishing Daukherville, my daily goal was 5,000 words.

It’s going to be tough, especially given how difficult I find endings to write. Tipping events toward a conclusion has always been the most awkward part for me unless I’m writing a short story.

The good news is that I think I know what is going to happen from here, so it’s a fairly straightforward process of writing the chapters I think make sense. But I’m going to have to keep my fingers moving, and I’m worried I’m coming down with a cold.

But no rest for the weary. My pride will not allow it.

oceanGoing to try and write a novel with everyone else, because I’m feeling like I’ve been pretty damned lazy when it comes to writing lately. Also, I had the real pleasure to hear Rob Gerry’s Ed at Eleven (Suite from the Motion Picture) performed at the University of New Hampshire recently, and it was based off this old idea we came up with about a guy who loves breaking into places no one else would ever want to go. It got me thinking about the story again, and so I’m going to give it a try and see if I can’t flesh out some of the ideas that were in the old screenplay I wrote. And it will be nice to deal with characters who don’t live in Croats Corner for a change.

Yes, yes–I know this counts officially as procrastination. I don’t plan to give up my other novel, but I like the thought of staggering them a bit, so I always have something to edit later. And, whatever, anyway! I’m going to be writing again, so there.

The goal is 50,000 words by November 30. That’s perfect for this project, which was never going to be anything more than a novella, anyway.

Now … to get the first pages down …

Where to begin?