TRS UpdateNovember 6, 2009
I’m at over 105 K words and cruising down the home stretch…Northfield is ready to take his orbital flight, most of the other loose ends are tied up, some things are set up for the second book…and today two new books came from Amazon. One is Flying the SR-71 Blackbird, by Col. Richard H. Graham, USAF (ret.). The other is Contrails over the Mojave, by George J. Marrett. Marrett’s book has to do with flight testing in the 1960s at Edwards AFB, so it could be useful in getting a feel for Edwards. I’ve not been there, unfortunately. I’ve been to Nellis, in Las Vegas, which is another air base in a desert, but the Edwards area looks different. The other is a step-by-step description of a typical reconnaissance flight in the 1960s in the Blackbird, which could be very helpful in making scenes flying high-performance jets more believable.
I have to do Northfield’s flight, then a few wrapup items. I think it will wind up just over 110 K words, maybe 115K. That’s within Baen’s recommended guidelines, so I’m good there. I don’t think the story will be hurried at all.
I’ve found it difficult to pace the story. This book is written scene-by-scene, usually jumping ahead by several months, if not years. As I’ve closed in on the orbital flight – which is the climax of the book, of course – the intervals have been shorter and shorter. That doesn’t automatically translate to an impression of the book picking up any speed.
That sort of pacing is easier to do in a first-person book, especially a thriller. Action increases as the climax is reached. This book is a collection of moments, all of which are important – like chopping up a biography and only keeping the moments that pertain to a specific climactic event.
Even if I get bogged down reading these two books – or at least the Mojave book – before I finish, I can be done before Christmas. Ten years, off and on, I think, since I wrote the first scene. I think it was 1999 when I started this thing. I could be wrong. I do know it sat there for a couple of years without writing anything. I feel a lot better about it again, now.