In Which Our Heroine Is Weak Before The Power of the Book

22 June 2003

I finished the last chapter in the section yesterday before lunch. Wooo! So that only leaves two more sections to go, and they're partially written already. I know that sounds a bit psycho, considering how long this book is and how much work that translates into, not even counting edits. But I really think I've gotten to the point where I can do it now. I can do it here, but it takes tools, and it takes...ahem. Sorry. I will fight off the mental attack of Jordan from "Real Genius." Really I will.

I think it's reasonable to have a draft of this done before I move. In e-mail to Peg yesterday, I was trying to estimate what that means in terms of words per month. I'm thinking it's somewhere around 20K/month, which is totally, totally doable, doable even with short stories, doable even with other edits. Doable in my sleep.

If I'm wrong about that -- about the 20K figure, I mean -- then...well. If I'm wrong in the short direction, all is well. If I'm wrong in the long direction...uhhh...the editing effort will be even more massive than I thought, because there will be so much to cut even to get to Doorstop Fantasy Novel size. But I think there's been a pretty clear set of things clicking into place. I don't think I could have gotten this book done faster if I hadn't stopped to write The World Builders and Dwarf's Blood Mead in the middle; I don't think I was ready for it all. I think I'm ready for it all now. It makes me excited about this book -- and about the books I'll eventually be ready to write. Mostly about this one.

I'm waiting to work on it again until I get on the plane, though, or at least to the airport. Notes and outline elaborations are fine, but no actual new prose on this book until I get to the airport. (Yes, this really is the level of bargaining I do with myself: you have to wait until on the plane. No, work now! No, you need to work on "Rest Stop" now. You can work on the book on the plane. Now now now! How about in the airport? That's sooner than on the plane. .... And then you'll have another short story out there, if you work on "Rest Stop" instead. ....arright.) We had all best hope that I am a firmer parent than writer, someday. It's really not all that impressive a bargain, given that we leave mid-afternoon tomorrow for the airport and I last worked on this book yesterday. But it's good stuff, and I can see where the next section needs to go, all the way until the end of the book. And that's very nifty.

"Rest Stop" has also taken a turn for the better, though; yesterday morning in the shower (ah, blessed shower! how would I ever think without thee?), I realized that it had a subplot that ties in neatly with the larger plot's theme and gives the main character a more conflicted personal stake in the outcome. Also, it makes this section better when it becomes part of the episodic novel. So, yay all around. I scribbled away on this one in my paper journal last night, and I'll work on it on the computer today, I think. It'll be good. I really think I can get it into a finished state before it's time to head out tomorrow.

For awhile, I was considering just doing short stories on my trip. Hah. I think the brain has declared itself in firm opposition to that idea. I'm still fighting with it over whether a printout of the drafted sections is a good thing to bring. So far, I have been strong and not started printing, but any minute now, I'm going to think, you know, with all the teeny little summer skirts and tank tops I'm bringing, there's plenty of room in the suitcase itself, so I don't have to carry it all in the backpack...well, I'm already thinking it, but any minute now, it's going to start sounding reasonable....

You can hear the printer from there, can't you? Crud. I am weak. (But I love this book so much.)

We had a lovely House of Nanking dinner with everything I really wanted except the calamaaaaaaari, and you can't expect that every time. And I was so happy with the other stuff I ate that I didn't care. (Only we once again verified that M'rissas Don't Like Shrimp. [The proper inflection for this is the same as "Tiggers don't like haycorns."] This is an annoying aspect of being a grown-up: you try a few things you didn't used to like, and you like them. Hooray! So then you try more things you didn't used to like, and you discover, no, you were right the first time, those are nasty. Sigh. But for me, the pattern has been pretty consistent: if I didn't like the taste, chances are pretty good I might like it now. If I didn't like the texture, it's still acky. Shrimp was a texture thing. See also: pineapple, coconut, liver, onions, celery.)

I also finished reading Full House (still with the meh) and read Bruce Chatwin's The Songlines. It There were a lot of categories on the back of that book, and that's how it should be. It was about a lot of things. The Australian setting came first in a lot of ways, though, and I recommend this book. Quirky, a little rough in spots, but good stuff. I started reading William McNeill's Plagues and Peoples, since evidently I'm on a nonfiction-borrowed-from-David kick. Well, it's good stuff to read before I go, leaving smaller, lighter (in content as well as mass) paperbacks to go with me on the plane.

There's rather little left on my to do list here. Five items. Three of which I've already started, and the other two are errands that can be run tonight before Mark and I go on our date. So...yeah. Plenty of time to read Plagues and Peoples and talk to the folks and generally have a quiet Sunday afternoon. There will be nice, gentle, pleasant things to occupy my time. And I can do without working on the book until tomorrow afternoon.

What? I can. Just watch me.

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