Thursday, September 24, 2009

Progress report

Today I finished looking thru the ms, which is 110,000 words. A big stack of unnumbered pages with "Sky" on the title page.

I listed chapters that still have to be written, points of fact that have to be filled in, and points of chronology that need straightening out. The list came to six handwritten pages and 78 items large and small.

Large items: 9 unwritten chapters. Four of these are long, heavy-duty, difficult scenes. The other five are what I refer to as roll-calls, meaning each is made up of vignettes devoted to the different cast members. Naturally, each vignette can turn into a full-fledged scene, calling for days of work.

Medium items: have to make sure I've spread out the material about Washington Ferris and his use of a popular psychology book I made up. Think I've written most of the necessary prose, but it's present as a great lump in one part of the book and then in another. 

Work out why Sandy not only can't go to her husband's get-together with his kids but also sends along her little girl. Why no babysitter?

Small items: about 70 of them, small questions about which neighborhood somebody would live in or where you'd find a pay phone on a Hollywood lot in 1967. I just spent a year reading or rereading 40 or so books about '60s tv, '60s LA, Hollywood of the '50s and '60s, and so on. Reading my list of questions, a few cases jump out where I know I've got the answer. Great! But in most cases, no.

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