All Wrote Out

By Cornelia Read

So, finally got the second draft of the fourth book turned in.

I still have a very weak grasp on both who set the original arsons, and how my protag Madeline is going to be more proactive in involving herself in fingering the prime suspect who DIDN’T do it, and finding the guy who did.

(^ I have recommended the image above as cover art. My editor was amused but not, I think persuaded)

Kicking the ass of the person who actually set the the copycat arson was kind of a piece of cake, but hey, I’ve wanted to kick the ass of the person THAT character’s based on for, oh, about 15 years now. 

In fact, I saved that chapter for last when I was writing draft one, and I enjoyed the hell out of it. A little writerly revenge dessert, if you will. Wish fulfillment.

Although, okay, my writing group’s response was, “um, we get that you totally want to kick this person’s ass, but we should actually feel that your protag’s life is in danger at least for part of it, and THEN you can kick ass.” So, I tried to do that this time. At least a little more. But I did let Madeline UTTERLY kick ass at the end of it.

Also, I am trying to figure out how not to be such a terrible procrastinator in real life, about this deadline stuff. Because oh, MAN do I suck at getting things in on time. Have all my life. And it’s just ridiculous, really. I mean, okay, there is a certain OHMYGODOHMYGOD juju wonder thing that happens,

where you’re kind of forced to get in the zone and all, and sometimes the sparks fly in a good way and that part is awesome, and I do think I think of some of my best lines in that sort of state (favorites this go-round: “My husband thinks cunnilingus is an Irish airline,”


and “I felt like I was being sodomized by my own life. And not the fun kind of sodomy either.”) 

I mean, I got to see Cara Black, Hallie Ephron, and Hank Phillippi Ryan speak at a bookstore in Cambridge a while ago, and someone asked about their writing process, and Cara said basically she gets up in the morning, walks her dog, and then writes until about noon before she lets herself look at email. Which is just goddamn genius, really, and if I did that every day I might be an eminently more sane woman.

But of course my first thought was, “So. Maybe I should get a dog.” (Like, maybe a German Shorthaired Pointer, because they are awesome.)

Not “So. Maybe I should write for several hours in the morning instead of checking email right away and then, like, doing my tarot online at ninety-five different free tarot websites and then checking out what the free online I Ching readings have to say, and then wonder if I should make lunch or not, and check Facebook a bazillion times first. And then read someone ELSE’S book and then watch some shit on Netflix or xfinity and then go to sleep for the night.” 

Because, you know, SERIOUSLY it is a wonder that I don’t just get this card in every fucking position whenever I do that. Because it’s really fucking stupid of me.

Oh, well.

But now that it’s in, this is the fun part. Where I can do all the things I normally do–like talk on the phone with pals

And post pictures of The Great Hamster of Alsace on Facebook, with accompanying text about how weird it is that the wild hamsters of France should be wearing black turtlenecks

(seriously. In the wild.)

And various other crap that I get up to generally, but WITHOUT GUILT for at least a few days. I mean, how awesome is THAT, right?

And also, I can post video here of my new favorite song, “Philosphia” by The Guggenheim Grotto:


Which I think I most love because of the line, “work of art, oh to be a work of art…”

But, you know, other than that, I am pretty much all wrote out at the moment. I have been duking it out with good and evil in my head for a long time now, and maybe have a handle on it. Kind of. At least a beginning. At least in THIS book.

I hope I nail it in draft three. Which I would start tomorrow, if I had any sense. After I walked my imaginary dog.

Oh, and this morning at 2 a.m. (which will be yesterday morning at 2 a.m. by the time you read this) I celebrated with a breakfast of Ruffles and sour cream and onion dip. WASP soul food.

Although I briefly considered absinthe.

What do you guys do to celebrate something you’re really proud of yourself for finishing?

15 thoughts on “All Wrote Out

  1. Katherine Howell

    Love this post Cornelia!! I have the same problem with time as you 🙂 and I am jealous that you celebrated with Ruffles – we can't get them here in Australia anymore! So I can never celebrate : / Well, okay, I can, and do, when I send off each ms, with a glass of Coke and some snack equivalent to Ruffles while sitting in the sun.

  2. Cornelia Read

    Katherine, I'm so sorry that you have the same problem with time–but a bit relieved that I am not the only one.

    And we can send you Ruffles… I think it sounds like an important mission of mercy!

  3. Reine

    Congratulations, dear one! I'm hoisting an evening cognac to you.

    To celebrate some huge accomplishment like transferring to the toilet without falling on my ass, I usually just take a ride on that Irish airliner – sometimes by myself which is not easy and only halfway good. Today I had to settle for a ride out to the garage on my old wheelchair, He-Chair. He knew I was storing him, because he's seen the shiny new girl, She-Chair, spinning me around. I was starting to feel sorry for him, thinking maybe I'd change my mind . . . OK . . . no fucking lie here . . . he took off on his own! I didn't have my hands anywhere near the controls, so at first I thought it was Kendall at the helm. But He-Chair and I were all alone, and that piece of shit took off out the kitchen door, bypassed the ramp, wheelied off the utilities platform, and put another huge dent in Steve's old Volvo. After I peeled the duct tape off my boobs and tossed the piece of rusty trim in the vague direction of the ash can, the damn chair shot out from under me leaving me in a huge puddle of my own making. Well fuck. No Irish airliner for me tonight, but Steve likes the improved look of his Tusty Rusty. 

    Using a manual wheelchair is like rowing.
    Only backwards. Which is forwards.

  4. Marcus

    If it was the kind of celebration I'd share with others it'd be a dinner out in our usual restaurant, but for a small "Good on me for rocking like a motherfucker"celebration, it'd be a shot of chilli-infused, freezer-stored vodka with a cider chaser. And then to congratulate myself on the discovery of the awesomeness of chilli-infused, freezer-stored vodka with a cider chaser, I'd have another. Which in turn would make me rock like a motherfucker, and I'd need to congratulate myself with a shot of chilli-infused, freezer-stored vodka with a cider chaser. Self congratulations isn't for the faint hearted..

  5. Reine

    PS: I can't wait till the damn book comes out.

    Marcus can bring the vodka. Steppy will drive, but he has to get a new roll of duct tape first.

  6. Cornelia Read

    Ah, Madeleine… Finish is what you call people who live between Sweden and Russia. I have heard this on good authority.

    Ah, she-chair is WAY better. And I love the idea of Volvos and duct tape. Has a true ring of authenticity to it. Speaking of Sweden…

    And Marcus, your way of celebrating definitely sounds like the breakfast of champions. I plan to imitate you very soon.

  7. Reine

    Aaaaah . . . Steppy's P1800 was the first Volvo I fell in love with. Then i fell in love with Step. Fortunately, we've lasted longer than the the P1800, that didn't make it past our first teenager's adventures in the desert north of L.A. And yeah, what's with you WASPS and duct taping old Volvos together, anyways? I totally get behind the pearls and deck shoes thing. I took to that right away.

  8. Stephen Jay Schwartz

    How do I celebrate when I've completed a project? Hmmm…I guess my attitude about the whole thing is that I'll celebrate when I'm dead.

  9. Zoë Sharp

    Hi Cornelia

    Love the post, and congrats on getting draft #2 out of the way. Hurrah!

    Not being able to drink is a bit of a bummer when it comes to celebrating (and there are no sodomy references there, by the way) but I occasionally go all-out and buy Jelly Belly Jelly Beans – the proper ones instead of the cheap imitations.

    Sad really, isn't it?

  10. Rae

    Fab post, Miss C, and congrats!

    When I finish something important, I shop. Actually, I shop anyway, but doing it as a celebration makes it even more fun.

    Ruffles and French onion dip are also awesome for self-congratulation….


  11. MJ

    I'm only half WASP, so I like thick-cut natural potato chips and blue cheese dip with Sriracha squirted on top. Try it some time – a 'party like your tongue is on fire' kind of sensation.

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