Christmas, an impending move, and the demands of the day job have all been impeding progress on the novel of late, but all that seems to have ended yesterday. I made myself a Christmas present of some time at work on Chapter 21 and found it going in a direction I had not anticipated. I don't know whether what I wrote was any good or not at this point, but at least it was coherent. Sometimes that's about all you can ask for.
What I was working on was a letter from the deceased that I had no idea he had written until Drayton opened the file it was in. Part of the fun was that I got to write in a voice different from Drayton's and could work in different rhythms and with different word choices. My concern in all this is that, since the letter gives a precis of Briarbrook's biography, that I might descend into mawkishness or sentimentality. Neither of those are typical ailments for me artistically, so I'd hate to start up at this late date. The prose, however, is spare and lean, and that helps keep the melodrama under wraps.
All I can do now is to write it and come back at some later date to see whether I want to burn those pages or not. That's the process.