After spending half the day prepping to deal with the bureaucratic blunder mentioned yesterday, I got a new letter, which said everything was done and completed and approved, and there was no need to do anything else. (It did this without acknowledging yesterday's letter, too.)
So now I am, apparently, free to return to my writing.
But the mini-crisis more or less knocked me completely out of all the stories I was writing. So, I decided that today it was time to do my "Late-Book Outline" for In Flight.
I don't write in chronological order. I write whatever is flaming in my head at the time, or if there are no flames, I start filling in the pieces between the flaming scenes. I often start with a kind of rough outline, but usually, I have to redo this, here and there after I get a bunch of writing done.
And usually when I have anywhere from half to three quarters of the story done, I find myself bumping against a brick wall -- there's hole in my outline that I have to fill in. A decision I have to make, or pieces that just don't fit together any more.
That's when I actually draft a more complete outline. I have to stop, look at what I have, and nail down the details, and pin the scenes in place. Figure out what's really going on here, and what incident really does inspire that other scene. (Because the original idea won't work now that I've changed these other things over there....)
That's what I did today: I sat down, without reference to the old outline and without access to anything I had written, and hammered out an outline/synopsis from memory. And when I got to the part where the story just vanishes into a tunnel of The Unknown, I hammered it out, and hammered it out again, and again, until I got it to work and make sense.
And the next step will be to go back, and start pinning all the existing material in place, and rewrite it to suit where I now know the story is going. I'll finally be able to start working on pacing and foreshadowing and all that. I'll be filling in all the little gaps and reconciling all the duplicated scenes. (Every duplicate, of course, has two mutually exclusive brilliant details I want to use.)
Eating, Reading, Watching: Made a Chinese cabbage/celery salad to go with some Crispy Spicy Chicken from the freezer. Watched Woman On The Run (1950, Fidelity/Universal), with Anne Sheridan and Dennis O'Keefe. This was a prime B-movie noir -- once again, part women's pot-boiler, part crime story. With Anne Sheridan playing the kind of brassy, smart-mouthed dame that Lucille Ball did before she transformed herself into the comedy great we all know.
The story is about a woman whose husband runs away after he witnesses a murder. (He doesn't want to be the next murdered, since the guy he saw killed was a prosecution witness.) She dutifully heads out after him, even though it wasn't such a hot marriage.
The script snaps along nicely with sufficient clever lines and character turns to get past the fact that it's... well, a B-movie. (From the plot I was able to identify a few more old tropes to add to the game.) It also makes good use of old visual tropes in the climax, which takes place at a beach-side amusement park. It's no Hitchcock scene, but they do a campy version of what might otherwise pass for art, in mix of dark and light, in the alleys under the boardwalk and roller coaster. Also, there is a great mid-movie "reveal" or twist that works very nicely. It's not as good, imho, as the Douglas Sirk B-thrillers such as Sleep My Love, but still fun enough to entertain.
It's in the public domain and you can find it all over the web. However, as should be expected from a PD flick, the sound and picture can be pretty muddy. The version on Amazon Instant Video is pretty good. (I don't think you can stream it unless you are a Prime member though.) There are several versions on YouTube, and at The Internet Archive.
See you in the funny papers.