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Calvino progress report: Number 9

This weekend I start chapter 20 of the new Calvino novel. The story is about three or four chapters away from the end. The end, in the case of a first draft, is a relative term. A writer friend asked me this week how many drafts do I write before the book is finished. In the case of Gambling on Magic, the answer is six drafts. The first draft is the most difficult and also the most interesting and creative part of writing. At this stage, I don’t know the final destination of the story until I come to the end of the first draft.

I find it amusing when a reader says they figured out the end halfway through one of my books. All I can say that is I never know the ending of one of my books halfway through. There are too many variables and normally a number of possible endings. One of those possibilities finally emerges as the natural, inevitable ending. I go with that gut feeling that in terms of emotional satisfaction, only one ending pays off fully the story from the beginning.

In chapter 19, Calvino has a couple of cracked ribs and hairline-fractured jaw. He chasing down pain pills with Mehkong and coke until he can finish one final appointment. Dinner with a wealthy widow whose husband had previously given him a great assignment only to die before Calvino could deliver the evidence of a crime. The location is Bangkok, square in the middle of the red zone.

It is a good feeling being this close to the end of the first draft. I am like a horse heading for the barn, full gallop and a bag of feed waiting.

Next month the cover designer will start to work on the cover. Once that is done, I can reveal the title. I think you are going to like the title of this Calvino. It is a departure from the two word titles used for most of the previous books in the series.

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