Read the first 17 pages of "Takeover" at writer's group.

Somewhat to my surprise, the "epistolary" element of the book is passing muster. No one seems bothered by it. It's clear I'll need to clear up some things, maybe label the entries better, change the order, but overall the idea seems to be working.

Gary thought I should kill one of my babies. (A section Linda had singled out as really liking.)

Came up with some really satisfying plots elements yesterday on my walk. Since I'd pretty much run out of ideas the day before, that was very reassuring. I just have to trust that my subconscious will keep coming up with stuff.

Writing this way is extraordinarily easy for me. It's more or less a fresh start every day. The story advances by addition, but not by straightforward timeline, which is fine with me. Jumping around like that is very refreshing.

I have chosen one character to carry the narration. I'm trying to make sure he's at least every third entry.

My biggest problem is that the more extreme characters are the most interesting. Much more fun to get in their heads, and by doing so, I can't help but make them sympathetic. But I really don't believe their views, even though it may seem like I do. I don't really get into the political specifics, so far, more just their general since of aggrievedness, their pissed offness.

The moderate characters by contrast are, well, moderate, and they tend to get drowned out.

Just like real life.

I'm hoping by the end of the book I've made it clear that taking-over places is a bad idea.

Linda thinks the real theme of the book is the inability to see consequences, that taking extreme action leads to extremes...ending in violence. I hadn't intended this as the theme, but by trying to access the character motivations, this seems to be what's coming up. Not the "reasons" for their actions, but that they respond to their anger in inappropriate ways.

I've avoided the specifics politics, like I said, which is unexpected. But I can see a way to keep doing this, making it more about personality than politics.

I've decided not to even go into the POV of the law enforcement. So the two people who work at the monument and stay behind have to carry the "moderate" load.

That's going to take some doing, I think. That will be a challenge. This book was always going to be a minefield, so I really want to defuse that ass much as possible, and that means making the two sides roughly equal.

If the reader gets far enough into the book, he'll find that it evens out as the original takover-ers join the moderates to fight to true extremists. But whether people will hang in there long enough, I don't know.

This book could fall victim to the extreme polarization these days. It's probably a stupid thing to write.

I'm also writing a few "babies," that is, parts that are artistically satisfying but maybe aren't completely needed. (Just about anything can be atmosphere and mood, but not everything materially advances the story.)

For instance, I decided to have one of the characters be a "cowboy" poet and as a result, I have a couple of poems I wrote included, and really, it's all character mood and shading.

Anyway, the book really has me in its grip, and I'm writing it the way it wants to be written, and if that doesn't work for other people, so be it.