Saturday, November 30, 2013


With 22 minutes left in November, I finished the scene, chapter 19, and Act II.

I haven't written at all since Tuesday. I was teaching, cooking Thanksgiving dinner, dealing with family emergencies. But I pulled it together and worked on it tonight. The scene went on further than where I'd planned to end it, because I realized I needed more thrills, and bit more narrow of an escape.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013


Yesterday The Husband had a car emergency that ate up most of my afternoon. I did make some progress though! Inching toward the end of the scene/chapter/Act, in between teaching, tutoring, grading essays, and getting reading for Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 25, 2013


Well, it's Monday and Act II isn't done. It is, however, almost done. Story of my life.

I'm killing time in the lounge of the Math building before I teach my class. After class, I need to clean my kitchen, and then do my Thanksgiving shopping. Later in the afternoon I have The Son's parent-teacher conference, but somewhere in the midst of all that I should be able to find enough time to finish the chapter. I really am almost there-- just one more bro to tase, two sets of wings to sprout, and two jumps from a cliff.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Wednesday, November 20, 2013


One more scene to go to finish up Act II. Next week I'm teaching an intensive SAT prep course AND cooking Thanksgiving dinner for seven, so I'm not anticipating getting any much writing done. So my mini-goal is to finish Act II by Monday, so I can leave off for the holiday with a sense of accomplishment.

Friday, November 15, 2013

11/15 Check-In

I edited the dialogue for the big da-da-DUM! reveal of plot point two. Lemmetellya, that was SO MUCH EASIER than having to make shit up. Still left to do to finish Act II:

1) fill in the attributives/description/introspection to break up the dialogue I wrote today Finally finished this.
2) go back and stitch in some of that thread I dropped Edited the picnic scene to include this.
3) write the last action-y bit of chapter 19

I feel like crappy crap today (post-migraine hangover), and tomorrow is The Son's birthday party, so I'm not counting on getting any writing done for the next 48 hours or so.

Thursday, November 14, 2013


Eighteen chapters done!

Since I've already written the last chapter, that means I have eight more to finish the book. Whew!

Dropped a Stitch

I read over the dialogue for plot point two last night, and stumbled across a thread I completely dropped after Act I. Oops. This is one of the consequences of taking 47 years to write a book: you are inevitably going to forget some of what you're doing. It'll only take a few hundred words to fix, but first I need to figure what what to say and where to drop it, and that could take a while since at the moment I can't remember what my original intentions were. I've decided to write to the end of the chapter first, since I have a pretty clear idea of how it's going to go and I don't want to lose that momentum.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

On the Map

I finished up the scenes leading up to the one-two punch of plot point two. Act II is almost done, kids.

Even better (like, so exciting I can hardly contain myself): every remaining scene in the book is an edit. These last few chapters have been written from scratch, to the point that I started feeling like I was writing a whole new damn book. But from here on out it's Edit City. To be fair, some scenes need so much editing that I'm not sure they'll be any easier than just writing from scratch, but that's not the point. The point is, we are on the map again!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

75%, For Realz

I decided to stop being a baby and calculate my percentages based on the projected final length of TOB. I'm at 81,000, which google calculator informs me is 75% of 108,000. It's a little disheartening to feel like I've made no progress the last week and a half, but at at least I know I'm really three-quarters done now.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Shelf-Sitter Challenge: Book 16

Book 16 of the shelf-sitter challenge is The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman. Two different book-friends have been aghast when I admitted to not having read this yet, and now I see why. It's wonderful. It's rare that I read a genre book that I think deserves to be considered a classic, but this Juvenile Fantasy book qualifies. I am humbled by its greatness, truly.

I kind of cheated by listening to this on audiobook. This is a shelf-sitter challenge, after all, and I do have the dead-tree version of this book sitting on my shelf right now... but I'm short on time and motivation for finishing this challenge by the end of the year, and I thought The Son might enjoy this one, so I made it our car-audiobook. It was a magnificent performance: Pullman himself read the narration, with a cast of actors doing the character voices. Pullman is a terrific reader in addition to being a terrific writer; it makes me forgive him for being such a little bitch about everything in his essays.

The plot in twenty words: Oxford-raised "orphan" girl teams up with river gypsies and a sentient polar bear to stop evil church-sponsored experiments on children. There were three scenes with adults discussing Lyra and how important and special she is that I thought were completely unnecessary and threw me out of the flow of Lyra's POV, but other than that it is basically perfect. The Son loved it, too, even though parts of it were truly wrenching. This is a kid with an extremely high tolerance for peril, tension, conflict, violence, and tragedy in stories, but there was one scene in The Golden Compass that upset him enough that I suggested not continuing with the book-- a suggestion he fiercely rejected.

Are the next two books of the trilogy as good as this one? I read the blurb for The Subtle Knife and it sounded meh.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Gut Punch Dialogue

I finished chapter 17, hurrah, hurrah.

The next two chapters are going to be dark and depressing, culminating with the all-is-lost moment and plot point two. Chapter 18 opens with a few paragraphs of Willa being like, well this sure sucks, followed by a shortish but intense confrontation with Akenam. This is kind of a new scene; I've always known this conflict between them needs to happen, but I wasn't sure where exactly in the story it needs to be or what exactly needs to be said. In the first draft they clash over the same stuff in at least two different scenes, and it kind of goes on and on. So the first order of business is to copy and paste all that dialogue into a separate file and whittle it down to the bone. It needs to be short but impactful (not a word, I know), like a punch to the gut.

Monday, November 4, 2013

11/4 Check-In

I just finished the dialogue for the next scene, and after a short break for a word from our sponsors, I'm plunging back in. I'm pleased at how relatively easy it was to write, since big showdown dialogue can be eye-rollingly overwrought if you don't keep reining yourself in. I think this is a good one, though: anger, hurt, conflicting agendas, respect, and desire all tangled together.

I'd love to get the scene-- and thus the chapter-- finished today.

Friday, November 1, 2013

New Month, New Goals

I didn't quite get all I wanted done in October. I wrote about 17,000 words, and did not finish Act II. But I've passed the three-quarters mark, which is a huge mental relief. In an ideal November, I would write 25,000 words and end the month with only the two climax scenes to revise, so I guess that's my goal! However, The Son's birthday, Thanksgiving, and the week-long intensive SAT prep course I'm teaching might all take a bite out of that goal.

I finished the first section of chapter 17 today. Now I've got maybe 4-5 paragraphs of exposition followed by a whole other brand-new scene. Willa has to confront someone who's done her wrong, but it's not a straightforward conflict, since he's still trying to win her over to his side. He's going to tempt her with her heart's desire, and in order for the temptation to be a genuine obstacle I have to really show how much easier and tidier it would be for her to accept his offer.