Pistachios. Once a year or so we buy pistachios.

There is no forseeable point to this story; you can skip it.

Not some pistachios, but a bulk of pistachios. I will avoid chewing off my fingernails for a couple of day so I can pick them open. This year was a “wreath” of dyed pistachios, red and green. Usually it’s a plastic mesh bag the size of my skull.

I am tolerably long-headed, you know.

I don’t remember who said it, or where: “You never learn how to write novels. You learn how to write this particular novel.” The thing about writing this particular novel is that I don’t follow my rules that I use for short stories. In the first chapter (anticipating 40-50 pages), I have eleven characters to handle, as well as all the other details that you have to handle when you’re writing a fantasy of any type–you have to define the rules.

First rule: don’t rewrite your first draft until you’re done with it.

I can’t handle that many details at one time. It’s still mostly action and dialogue at this point.

That’s enough rules. Rachel has thrown all the empty pistachio shells on the floor with squeals of delight. “Mmmm!”

She also likes to eat the nuts.