I’ve written 1,500 pages, most of them dealing with Rick L. Ruffian’s (RLR) past and also some interwoven backstory about his arch-nemesis, whose name — for purposes of this draft — is Arch-Nemesis (AN). AN’s name will of course be changed when I come up with an actual Eastern European name. There is also some exciting stuff involving a submarine, a B-52 bomber, and a hot-air air balloon (150 pp).

It has been tremendous, writing this thing. But some things have gone wrong.

Like you have RLR fighting as a teenager in the Korean war (because he is so eager to fight for his country that he will forge his birth certificate, which he can only do by going to Chinatown and learning forgery from an ancient master, who teaches him Kung Fu in the bargain, so not only does he learn how to forge but he also learns how to kick ass, and how cool is that? (78 1/2 pages)) — so like he’s in the middle of the war and he has just lost his best friend, who, I also have yet to name, so he is understandably upset, RLR is, and is about to storm into a bunker full of nutso homicidal soldiers, his eyes red with rage, loaded up to here with guns and, I don’t know, grenades and stuff, and a little man in a red suit pops in out of the forest.

So you can understand RLR’s confusion. Because what is this short man doing in a forest? He’s dancing! And he’s holding an object of seemingly great importance, though it’s like impossible to tell what it is. And they have a conversation about chewing gum (10 pages) and the little man, before vanishing into the depths of the forest, he imparts some kind of secret wisdom to RLR by whispering in his ear, after which RLR proceeds to kick ass.

Potential Problems: The short man — what is he doing in the novel? Why did I not introduce him earlier, at the carnival in Grenada? What kind of chewing gum?

Also, RLR spends some months on an abandoned oil tanker near Greenland and develops an almost erotic relationship with a killer whale. It’s not like they fool around. But I wrote some pretty suggestive passages (“The long smooth body of the beast dipped up and down in the Artic waters. Up and down. Up up up, then down. Ruffian thought about taking his clothes off.”) and I do give some overly lascivious descriptions of Orca mating rituals (130 pp).

Potential Problems: Reader’s reaction. Specifically: PETA, Brigitte Bardot.

And there is also a duel with AN when they are in their early teens. But they accidentally shoot a pair of bluebirds — RLR’s bullet hits the father bluebird and AN’s the mother bluebird — so AN and RLR have to raise the nest of hatchlings themselves, and some comical stuff ensues (94 pp) because they still want to kill each other and have their guns ready all throughout, but they have to take care of the hatchlings or they’ll die, right? So they go to a pet store to buy bird seed while still technically involved in the duel, and they like go through all this Odd Couple stuff packing heat.

Potential Problems: Is AN really the nurturing type? Will the reader “buy it”? What do bluebirds eat, anyway? Worms? Also: PETA. And Tony Randall.

Yes: some revisions need to be made . But I am hopeful as to the resolution, which I am outlining right now, which is that RLR and AN face off in this facility that manufactures ICBMs, and it’s in some small Eastern European country, which is where AN is from, right? And so he (RLR) mentions something about some stereotypical Russian item (Borscht? Vodka?), as in “I’m going to shove this Russian Item up your criminal ass,” and AN says, “Dude, that’s pretty culturally insensitive [not that AN would say Dude — but that’s the general vibe] — we don’t even eat/drink that here, in this small Eastern European country with its rich history and, you know, culture.” It goes on from there.

PPs: Do small Eastern European contries really have rich histories/cultures? Also: What about S.A.L.T.? Plus: The sword-fighting scene on the very tip of the ICBM — too phallic? What happened to the baby bluebirds?

I am also writing a Romance novel, though it seems to want to turn into a Time Travel adventure involving action film director Tony Scott, and also another killer whale. The name of the killer whale is Jenny. So far I’ve got 2,300 pages.