When my friend Jim Thomsen and I chat electronically — which is nearly daily — inevitably one of us will ask the question: “How goes the chain-moving?”

Today, this is my answer: Quite nicely, thank you.

After veering off to do some Web site recasting — see the new results here — I got back to my new novel project and set down about 1,800 words (total so far: 22,200). More important than the number is the fact that I finally noodled out an essential turn in the narrative, a juncture that I’m quickly approaching. Had I not found my way out of this particular corner, my progress would have come to an abrupt halt.

I’ve also changed the working title. I started out with “Cuts and Dents,” a phrase I like and a nod to an R.E.M. song. But the title I’ve settled on, for now, is much more direct in getting to the heart of the story: “Going to Milford.” We’ll see if it stands up. I have another 50,000-plus words (and many, many, many revisions) to go. Plenty of time for a change of heart.