The first sentence of my new book is "I work alone," so the Word program used that as the de facto title to the book. It'll do for now.

The story is already going in some weird directions. Basically, I've got a current chapter, followed by a flashback, followed by a current chapter, followed by a flashback. Don't know if that is going to continue. Don't know if it really works, mostly because some of the events are similar just at different times. The big crime boss calls him to his presence, once because the hero has a confrontation with the crime boss's obnoxious son (flashback) and once because the boss is demanding that he do a job for them (present.) So don't know if that works.

But I figured out yesterday that I just need to "follow the story." Not so much to "create" the story but to "follow" the story that is already there. The main requirement is that I be "plugged" into the story, that I'm feeling it and sensing it and seeing it. There is a sense that the story already exists and all I'm doing is following it as it is revealed.

I've put too much pressure on myself, I think. It was the lack of expectation that let me be so prolific for those first few years, and I need to get back to that feeling. Just let the story spin out, follow the leads, let myself be constantly surprised. Do some jiggering when it is all done, but trust the process, trust my subconscious to uncover the story.

I have tried and tried and tried to plan ahead, to outline, and I just can't seem to do it. Even being too locked into the "premise" or "theme" can get me off course, because then I don't let the story dictate where it wants to go.

On the other hand, it helps to feel like there is enough meat to the story to make it worthwhile doing, to carry me through to the end. That is just an instinct, a feeling for the character and for the tone of the story.

I'm writing this in first person, which I swore I wouldn't do again, but that's how the story revealed itself and so far I'm comfortable in the skin of the hero/anti-hero. I can feel him. Frankly, I never could quite feel Hart Davis in "Deadfall Ridge." Hart was more of a stand-in for me and when I do that it always feel really amorphous in the same way I can't really figure my own self out, too complicated, too contradictory, too close.

When I have a separate person as narrator, someone not me, I'm much more comfortable.

I'd hoped to have this book be nothing but action, let the plot and characters fall where they may. But of course, I'm already developing plot and characters and that doesn't always mean action, but the overriding principle is to "follow the story."