The Clarion Write-A-Thon ended last night. I actually hit my goal on Thursday, crossing 30,000 words, but I was so tired and burned out that I waited to post about it, and then Bluehost went down, so I don’t think my site was even accessible. That’s okay, Bluehost, you’ve done a great job otherwise with my shitty little no-traffic site.
I want to thank all nine people who donated to make up the $200 I raised. Well, eight people, since I put up the seed money. Also one of you was my mom. But the point is, $200 for Clarion! Yay! That will go into a scholarship for the next SFF superstar, just you wait. [Ha ha, just kidding, the next SFF superstar is me. But the one after that, definitely.]
I’m over 80,000 words into the novel, now. The ‘Thon was a good kick in the butt to keep me terrified of a deadline – and I did have some tough moments in there, sometimes several days at a stretch where I was too tired/busy/anxious about other life stuff to write, and I despaired of ever making even my moderate, self-set goals. I confronted mortality – my two living grandparents are causing a lot of family drama right now, most of it just stemming from the fact that they are Hella Old and not dealing with this effectively. I said goodbye to Troy, the foster kitten I loved most, and Annie, who unexpectedly became my best friend while I was mourning never seeing Troy again, then was adopted a week later. I said hello to two new fosters – Britta, who was found starving and alone on an athletic field, and Tomi, who was confiscated by police after she was thrown off a building (and miraculously escaped uninjured). Pictures to come.
I have struggled, sometimes, just to get up at a reasonable hour, keep the house clean, buy groceries and cook at least a few dinners a week. Fatigue stalks my every move. But I’ve seen each of Arthur’s Shakespeare productions a couple of times, and we’ve been to a few movies and concerts – Pacific Rim, Much Ado About Nothing, Imagine Dragons, Weird Al. All of these things could be unpacked into posts of their own, but probably won’t, because I don’t remember how to blog anymore.
[Baby Abed, the last of the original three kittens, has grown into a handsome and charismatic mini-cat who, inexplicably, has never received a single adoption application despite two stints in a store cage where the public could meet him in person. He has adored Mycroft since the day they met (Mycroft does not adore him, but we’re working on it). He is a joyful and (relatively) gentle friend to Britta, who loves to play with him, and is eager to meet Tomi, who is still quarantined in our bathroom. I’m thinking of adopting him, but agonizing about the decision, because I’m an idiot and swore we would always adopt senior animals. I think it would be good to have a cat who truly loves and nurtures the many fosters who will come through our home. Mycroft, bless him, has not proved to be that cat, though I have assured him many times that he will always be the Most Important Cat in my heart, no matter how much I adore Abed, who is at the end of the day a spoiled little baby.]
So I’ve been grinding my gears over some heavy stuff as I write. Death and family and nurturing the young are all themes in the book, so surely it has all been for the best and will make my writing better. It doesn’t make it all any less exhausting.
But I’m in the home stretch! Most of the major scenes are written, at least the actiony bits, at least in some form. I took a really awful stab at the grand finale that I’m going to have to toss out entirely, but that’s the composition process for you, especially when I’ve never done this before. I can feel momentum drawing me forward, gravity pulling me downhill toward the end. This book is going to happen. It is already 82,000 words’ worth of happened. I’m already thinking ahead to the next draft – what needs to be tightened, what needs more connective tissue, what I can possibly fit into my allotted 100,000 words and what will need to be discarded or reserved for a hypothetical sequel. (Oh, I have ideas.) I am thinking about how to position it in a query letter – yes, there’s a dragon, but it’s not ABOUT dragons, the dragon is kind of incidental, as incidental as a dragon gets, it’s not a pseudoEurope clone, please just actually read a couple chapters – and trying not to despair. It’s a weird concept, but that means it’s not the same old regurgitated bullshit, and that gives me hope.