After months of researching and consulting with subject matter experts, and weeks dithering about writing the battle for mumble days, I finally decided that I was more frustrated by not having it written than by launching into it badly and ill-prepared.
So I sat down and started to write, never mind that I’ve never been in a battle and don’t know what I’m doing. 509 words later, I’d gotten to the first 30 seconds of the battle and blocked hard. So I printed it out, and the topo map, and went to my in-house subject matter expert. “Love? Can you sit down with me in the living room and look over something?”
Calmer Half scrutinized the map after I fetched reading glasses, read what I had down so far, nodded, and then said, “This works fairly well. But have you thought about? And why did you use this instead of that? You know, we used that because we didn’t have air superiority; you should substitute this instead. And if you do it this way, then…. have you drawn a map of the camp’s layout? You should do that for your own peace of mind, and so you can coordinate your stop teams. And your overwatch is going to have to move to here from the original position to do covering fire quickly; they’ll have done that as soon as they knew the op was going down. And consider…”
4 pages of notes later, and after the second round of antihistamines kicked in, I had a lot of rewriting ahead with much better set of ideas. I started again, and stumbled and stuttered the words out over the next few days until I had made it to the first 2 minutes of the battle…
And then we went out to breakfast, because I was up at stupid-early and he was, too. And I asked him on which sorts of grenades would be thrown in the windows. As he was explaining where and when to use satchel charges and when not to, the waitress came up and eyed both of us with this little quirky smile. “More coffee, hons?”
Got to love Texas, and waitresses in a small town cafe. Nothing phases them, not even writers. Okay, maybe a heavy Saturday morning crowd. (Overheard this morning, “I got a family coming in, so I’m going to move you to a smaller table. Yep, moving you like U-haul, except this one is for free!”)
Calmer Half keeps telling me not to worry, just write. “Of course it’ll take a lot of editing when it’s done. But write it badly.” I know he means well, but I hate editing with a fiery passion. The thought of having to go over this again and again makes it even harder to get the words out.
Hopefully I’ll get it done sooner rather than later. Even more hopefully, when it’s been edited and I’ve declared I’m never reading this book again because I’m sick of criticizing the words in it, anyone else who reads it will never have a clue how much I hate this chapter.