My Office on the Yellow Line

Metro Train
Photo Credit: Pawel Loj :

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.

2 Responses to “My Office on the Yellow Line”

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  2. Paloma says:

    This piece was cogent, wenew-rittll, and pithy.

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