Keeping it real. Really for the first time in years I'm somewhat blocked. I've lowered my goal to 1000 words a day, since that doesn't seem as intimidating. And what happens, usually, is that I keep going.

It's a matter of inertia, I think. If I can just get rolling again, everything will be fine.

"Fires of Allah" is a real challenge in that I'm really trying to keep it REAL. There is a bit of leeway when you are writing outright fantasy or horror. There is an accepted range of "out there."

I want this book to feel real all the way through. As I mentioned, this means probably dropping the "thriller" motif I started with. Making it about the firefighters and the terrorists. For some reason, I can't have bad guys without getting into their heads and trying to make them understandable.

I'm trying to elevate this book by thinking more in advance, writing it slower, planning on lots of research, and more rewriting than I usually do.

What I find is that the quality of my writing doesn't really vary by what my intent is. That is, I can't just say, "Oh, this will be better." Right?

But instead of being able to magically elevate my writing, I can spend more time on it. So that's what I'm attempting to do.

Long ago, I read excerpts of "Young Men and Fire" and it really affected me. If I can get 1/10th of the pathos of that book into my book, I'll have succeeded. I may fall short, but I think it's a worthy thing to attempt.