Back from New York, semi-ecstatic. Crappy weather was no obstacle to a good time, and I’ve got my formula down now – tourist early, native later. Get to the museums before the mob strikes, and then do a café and/or an art house movie later, then take the E to the backside of Times Square, so you get off on 8th Avenue and only deal with a half block or so of madness to get to a theater. Saw a few things, most memorably “Matilda” and the hilarious “Vanya and Sonya and Masha and Spike.”
The good folks at Strand Books recommended Think Coffee as a place to sit and read and write, and since school is out for the summer, it was full but not jammed and I got a table two afternoons in a row. Not sure if it’s the inspiration of art and theater that gets me going, or just the sea level oxygen, but I…wait for it…solved the ending of “Less Than.”
Actually, it’s funny. On the plane I thought up an idea for an End Of The World novel – one where the secular humanists and not the religious prepper kooks have the edge. And I blocked out a lot of ideas for that at Think. Then I had ten minutes before I had to leave for a matinee and said, well, let’s see what we can do with Less Than…and pow, there it was. So as not to ruin it, I’ll just say that just like that, I figured out a way to “save” Alex without some stupid fakey made-up “hackers break in and triumph over corporate baddies” ending. Well, maybe it was percolating in my subconscious all along. I just needed to get the fuck out of my routine to get my brain to see it.
Now I’m plowing through the first half one more time, one more edit. But unlike other times where I froze up or ran out of gas when I got to the later parts, I’m good to go this time. The other times I didn’t know where I was going, or I thought I did and it didn’t work out. Now I’ve got it. The goal is still to finish by July 4th weekend – as in DONE, finished, edited and published. Even if it sells zero copies, it’s important to finish it before I move on to another big project. The stench of failure in my nostrils would drag down my confidence, even in a far more commercial, and potentially more self-selling, genre.
I’d say more about the EOTW book, but it’s funny. People used to say, oh I can’t discuss my idea because someone will steal it. And then people said, no, it’s all about the execution, nobody can steal that. But now, if you share the general concept, there ARE people out there, word farmers, who will run up some piece of shit at lightning speed based on someone else’s idea and there you are left holding a bag of “me too.” True, mostly they copy things that are already successful. But this is a “high concept” story, admittedly not as complex as Alex’s, and thus eminently stealable. And at any rate, I’ve got to finish Alex before I even think about that more.