At the urging of some of my biggest fans, I spent most of this week working on the manuscript of “Harry Houdini and the Witch of Beacon Hill: An Exorcism in Two Acts.”
The play-within-a-book, or book-containing-a-play, is an exorcism to drive away the writing ghosts that haunted me for four decades. The project started as a one-act for a playwriting class, but I was never satisfied with it. (Rereading that first draft, which I’m including in the book with snarky running commentary, I can understand why.) So it’s sort of a how-to playwriting book and a finished two-act play showing how it came out. You can follow some of the early chapters here.
The long blocks of time on that project cut into work on blogging and other projects. I do have ideas for the next couple of blog posts and may be able to polish them off before next week’s update.
Observations: It’s much faster to transcribe (and comment on) previously written material than to pull new stuff out of my hat. And I’m having a blast poking fun at my own sophomoric writings during my junior year.
Interaction: Nothing to interact with, so nothing to report.
Professional development: Still working on Zinsser’s “Writing With a Word Processor,” which has moved on from his first-person experiences. The final section is on lessons for writers, which apply even today. A review of that will become a coming post, and on Amazon and Goodreads.
Next week: Really, no one wants to guess about the color of my new Royal Quiet Deluxe, or why I bought the same model (but different color) as Ian Fleming used to write the James Bond books? I guess I’ll have to explain.
In case you missed it …
Puff and fluff, 1979
Reading Time: 2 minutes Any local news editor understands the delicate balance between what readers and advertisers expect and what you think is important.
In Other Words … Season 2, Episode 19
Reading Time: 2 minutes Many people don’t even have the time or focus for an entire book. The culture of short videos and podcasts has taken over, to our detriment.
Top-of-the-head inventory, 1979
Reading Time: 2 minutes “Items in Stock” was, in truth, a misnomer. Some were complete, or ready for a final draft or a rewrite. Others were ideas or characters in search of a plot.
Award-winning coverage? (1979)
Reading Time: 3 minutes Newspapers have associations, which sponsor competitions. But it’s a long trip from “thinking of sending it” to actually receiving an award.
A dead-end job? (1979)
Reading Time: 2 minutes Now, Howard. Listen carefully. It’s important to be honest with a potential employer. But there’s such a thing as being TOO honest.