While on a family vacation in northern Idaho, I was having dinner at a place called 1313 in Wallace, Idaho. I asked our waitress if she knew where the title of the restaurant came from. She did, indeed. The restaurant’s original dimensions were 13 feet 13 inches square, a mightly small building by today’s standards. But back in the 1800’s that was pretty typical for a mining town.
Then she told us that she’s the owner of a flower shop a few stores down and that during Prohibition in the 1920’s there were tunnels built under many of the stores on the same side of the street and her store is actually linked to the restaurant with such a tunnel. Cool!
I filed that nugget in my brain, thinking maybe someday Joshua Jones would pay a visit to Wallace. That may still happen but the thought lingered in my subconsciousness. Yesterday I came across a random bit on the internet about the Boise Tunnels.
Back in the 1800’s Chinese workers were employed in great numbers for mining and rail line construction. Idaho and especially Boise has a rich Chinese immigrant history. Apparently, there are rumors that many Chinese workers constructed tunnels under the city of Boise that were then used as opium dens. Today the existence of these tunnels is largely unproven and only a small number of dedicated history buffs believe they ever existed.
These two references to tunnels mingled in my brain and eventually made their way into the plot of Kill Dash Nine. I can’t go into the specifics for fear of spoilers, but suffice it to say, I can actually trace the idea back to two references to Idaho tunnels.
This week has not been a particularly productive one for the novel. I’ve missed two writing sessions leaving me with just three days in which to add to the novel’s word count. I normally write during my lunchtime in what I refer to as my lunchtime writing sprints. They are just like coding sprints but only last an hour each work day.
On a good day I can write about five pages of the manuscript in an hour. Over time, that’s a pretty decent pace to produce a novel in about three months time. But I can’t write every day and sometimes I write on the weekends and in the evenings so it all averages out in the end.
The novel is currently sitting at 63 pages and just over 16K words long. I’m on Chapter 7 and I’ve just written the first turning point in the story. This is usually when the hero realizes that he’s now in full danger of dying and must decide to act in order to survive. Normally I would get to this point in less than 20 pages so I’m thinking this novel will either need to be re-structured or will wind up being much longer than the first one, Null Pointer. I’m leaning towards the later as I would prefer to give the reader more story to chew on this time around.
Above is a shot taken near the Boise Convention Center in downtown and you can just see the condo building where the main character, Joshua, lives. The neon lights are a new feature and look amazing at night. You can easily imagine that one of the lights in the windows of the condo is Joshua sitting at his computer, coding away.
I haven’t written a mystery in a long time now. It’s not my primary genre to read or write. But that doesn’t mean I don’t think about the next Joshua Jones book on a nearly daily basis. I’m always coming across interesting bits of information and jotting down notes. Usually those notes are saved online from either stories I’ve visited or research I’ve come across while online. But lately I’ve also started to compile old fashioned paper based notes into notebooks that are primarily used for journals.
For Kill Dash Nine (KD9) I’ve started such a notebook to capture my notes about characters, plot and locations. Anything related to the novel that I don’t want to forget, once I start writing. When I write a novel I usually follow an outline. I create this outline first and having it before me as I write helps keep the story flowing in the right direction and allows me to avoid writer’s block.
I write my novels these days using Google Docs. This allows me to use my primary laptop and a Chromebook backup laptop as needed. All my writing is backed up and in the cloud and updated instantly when online. It’s very convenient for my writing lifestyle. But it’s good to organize things on paper too.
I’m putting together the outline for the next Joshua Jones novel in preparation for writing it in 2014. Hopefully that means you will have it in your hands in 2016, at least the ebook version. Not sure if I’ll do a paperback right away. Depends on how many of you are interested. The title is going to be Kill Dash Nine.
The other exciting news for 2014 is the production of a Joshua Jones Universe short story as a student short film. My short story “The Safe Cracker” is being filmed this fall as a student thesis film. More details later.
Thanks for you patience as this series was on hold for so long.