Pondering the meaning of it all.

I'm sort of speechless.

Don't that make you feel mortal.

I never bought a Tom Petty record even though I liked him a lot. But he was always there as a soundtrack to my life.

Los Vegas--I can't bear to think about it, much less talk about it. My God. 

Writing seems unimportant in some ways, and yet it is at the core of who I am these days. Nothing to be done? I lived through the '60's and somehow this feels worse. At least back then you could believe the pain was leading to some kind of progress.

The rest is boring writing stuff...

I haven't been writing for a couple of weeks now. I feel exposed to the real world and it ain't pretty. I getting ready to dive back into the fictional dream as soon as possible.

But first, I need to finish the rewrite of "Takeover."

Turns out, many of the readers don't like the first half of the book or think it's slow. I had someone in writer's group say, "boring stuff about losers" or something like that. She also literally laughed and continued laughing at a scene that was supposed to be serious.

It took me a week or so to absorb that hit.

I'm going to be a bit stubborn about this book. The goal was to try to make this feel like a real event, and that means I can't go for cheap theatrics. I have a couple of ideas of how to beef up the first half of the book in ways that won't subvert that goal.

Up to now I've accepted almost all criticism of my writing. Most often, I've tried to address it. But I think the more I open myself up, the more likely it is that doubts will eventually overwhelm me. Time to dial that back, I think.

There is time to be willing to accept critique and there is time to go your own way.

I see people at writer's group and elsewhere reject basic criticism of stuff every writer needs to learn. All they're really doing is making it that much harder for themselves. But I've got 35 books behind me and I've absorbed a lot, even if I can't always get there. But it isn't a matter of not trying hard enough.

Premise and story are way more important than I originally thought, and the actual writing is less important.

Actually, I don't think that is strictly true. Writing is what makes the premise and story work, but remains invisible to most readers. Good writing isn't noticed and bad writing is. So the goal is to at least not be bad, and then just try to be as good as you can.

So if premise and story are most important, followed by execution, then it becomes something of a crapshoot whether the premise and story are going to appeal to anyone else. It's also a bit of a gamble that the inspiration will carry all the way through the book. I don't think I've ever got all the way through a book feeling completely inspired.

So the hope is that I'll nail it one day. I've come close a few times, in my own estimation. A few of my books have turned out better than I could have ever expected 7 years ago when I first came back.

Whether anyone will ever notice it is another story.

I've also had the experience over the last couple of books of writing the book I wanted and feeling like I got it right--and finding other people don't like what I've done. That hasn't happened before--for most of the time I've been writing my own estimation of a story matched the general acceptance. I'd have to agree with the ratings of most of my books (though there are been some unfair ones.)

I've also had the repeated experience of writing the book I wanted and not having people be interested in the premise enough to read it. I've accepted that. I'll write what I want when I want.

So I may have hit a glass ceiling to my abilities.

Then again every book is a new thing.