Dear Ted and Jody:
Yesterday I sent you the last segment of the 3rd novella in the Amanda series, tentatively titled “Tracking Down the Man with the Goatee and a Scar over His Left Eye,” which if ever edited and set to print will be called “The ATI Chronicles” thanks to a suggestion from someone who read all the episodes (and I thank her for that). The three novellas took 186 days to write and resulted in over 186,000 words. The novellas were presented as dialog with a bare minimum of a description of characters or locations. My intent in using dialog to tell the stories was to leave the readers with sufficient flexibility to characterize and describe those people and places in the story as the readers saw fit. The few places I named are in Washington State or New York; however, my use of those place names was for convenience only, my convenience. Had I used more description, the stories would have been much longer. I could be wrong, but do not think that adding description would have enhanced the stories contained in the three novellas. In constructing the stories with dialogue ss one character made a statement or asked a question, another character had to have a response. Being somewhat demented, I have long conversations in my mind and so the concept of a conversation about something fictional comes second nature to me. I must admit, however, sometimes I was astounded at what my characters said.
I published the stories as I wrote them as an attachment to each daily letter to you. Thus, there was minimal proofreading and maximum errors that I would like to ascribe to typos, but know full well it is my lack of paying close enough attention. I ask your forgiveness for my, err, sloppiness in this regard. In publishing the stories as they were freshly imprinted on my computer’s memory. I placed myself in a writer’s bind from time to time in that the directions I could go with the story were limited by what I had published earlier. Every time this happened, I gave myself a good talking to about not thinking ahead. But, looking back, I would not change the directions I ended up taking (having to take).
As the last paragraph betrays, I started each novella with a vague idea of where it was going. Each day I started writing with a number (the episode number) and a title for the episode. The title gave me a clue as to what I needed to accomplish that day. Since I ended each episode as a cliffhanger, each new episode followed from the episode of the day before. Therefore, I only knew I had to find a way to stop the stage from falling off the cliff or go off on a diversion and still have the cliffhanger to resolve from the previous day the next day. That was largely my organizational plan. (OK, so it was my non-organizational plan). So, this made for a daily reason to pick up and find out what happened as the train was rushing toward the person tied to the railroad tracks in the previous episode. That was the way the story moved forward. As an approach to a daily serial, it seemed to work. I have no clue if it works in a book format.
The daily episodes gave me an hour to two hours of distraction and amusement. I found writing each compelling. That alone was worth the six-month journey. Having chosen time travel in an early episode of the first novella, Amanda7, rather than the communications with an alternative universe that the seven Amanda’s emanated from was not necessarily a good choice as the choice posed limits on what bad guys could do and not be immediately captured. I am not at all sure I successfully finessed the paradoxes and simple answers in that choice.
I do have an affinity for the characters that have popped out and grown in these three novellas. I suppose that will lead me to write more about their attempts to keep the timeline intact.
I do hope this finds you healthy, wealthy and wise.
Warmest regards, Ed
Dear Ted and Jody: