My Office on the Yellow Line

Metro Train
Photo Credit: Pawel Loj : http://tinyurl.com/33ston8

It’s Monday morning and I’m going 60mph between the King Street and Brad­dock Road sta­tions. This means that I’m writing. Others know this place as the loudest and dirt­iest part of the metro car – that 2-seat bench at the far end where people can be found sleeping or carving graf­fiti into the wall. But today it is just me and the laptop – and sit­ting next to me a woman whose purple-flowered pants mean that she can only be a nurse, and behind me, always there, is my nemesis, the pas­senger who just can’t help but stare at every word I type. Today it’s an older woman [Yes you. Hi. Have you given any thought to what’s in that news­paper you’re holding?]

Wel­come to my office. Today I’m writing a blog post.

It didn’t take long for me to realize what this blog should do, and what it can’t. I simply don’t have the time to become a known voice about any­thing, and I quickly dis­cov­ered that I have no interest in cre­ating another grammar blog or how-to writing guide. I have 20 min­utes a day when my mind is fresh enough to write — 20 dis­tracted min­utes, sur­rounded by 100 people. I write in the smallest leg­ible font to thwart the gawkers, all the while speeding con­sciously toward my train stop, where my life of non-writing com­mit­ments will resume. While some may say that’s no way to write a novel, that’s the only way I’ve got, so I take it.

That means that pol­ished blog posts will be few and far between. How­ever, posts like this might be more useful to anyone out there who might follow my work (both of you.)

We’re already crossing the Potomac, so here’s my update:

Releasing a book into the wild has an affect that I didn’t antic­i­pate. That self con­scious writer’s fear that yells, “It’s not fin­ished!” no longer works. For me, that energy turned into a new, more crit­ical per­spec­tive on the books and on editing.

For example, anyone who has read The Whis­pering Walls knows that there is a brief scene near the end in which the iden­tity of two char­ac­ters is ambiguous. Almost every male reader had trouble with it, while few females missed a beat. I knew the scene asked readers to engage more care­fully if only for a half a page, but now I under­stand better what I can and can’t ask of a reader. It’s a sobering thing to take a chance and have your audi­ence tell you it didn’t work for them – but it’s also impor­tant. As a side note, this scene will be cor­rected in future editions.

This is my stop, by the way.

Now I’m picking this up on the way home:

The result is that I’ve attacked the editing of book 2 with a greater aware­ness. How­ever, com­bine that with my writing schedule of less than an hour a week, and this means two things — that the writing and story of book two will be even tighter when it is released, and that the date might not be this year.

Until then, I’m working as hard as I can. In the scope of the larger story, book 1 rep­re­sents a small begin­ning, but book 2 expands the nar­ra­tive into some­thing much larger, and I can’t wait for you to read it.

Lastly, I reit­erate this bribe: When it comes out, I’ll make book 2 avail­able a few weeks ear­lier to anyone who has left a good review of TWW on Amazon, and I’ll also include their names in the credits, unless they prefer oth­er­wise, of course. I’ve also already chosen at least two of these reviewers to read advance, editing copies for me in a  month or two.

Thanks for reading, everyone.


About J. E. Hunt

J. E. Hunt is a writer based in Washington DC, and the author of The Whispering Walls, its pending sequel, and several short stories. Please take a minute to check out his work.

One Response to “My Office on the Yellow Line”

  1. Cassandra says:

    We are a gaggle of vol­un­teers and starting a new scheme in our community.

    Your site pro­vided us with helpful info to work on.
    You’ve done an impres­sive task and our whole group will likely be thankful to you.

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