Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Over the Hump

I spent a lot of time staring at the computer yesterday morning. Most of last week, actually.

See, I'm at the turn of the book. For various reasons, the action has to stop for most of a month while everybody gets into mental and physical position for the endgame. So I have this long flabby Überchapter crammed full of conversations and geographical and chronological markers, descriptions that are mostly there to keep me oriented, and details that need to be covered, most of which will be cut and most of the rest of which will be relocated during the first revision, or the second at latest. All my books seem to have a point at which this happens, and it's not the most efficient part of my process but it's there, I can live with it.

All that got cleared up Friday, and over the weekend I was supposed to have my backbrain working on a real chapter to write on Monday, in which Len runs into the person with the information that allows her to realize that she doesn't, in fact, have any idea what's going on. But this weekend we had a game, for which I had to level two characters (twice!); and we were supposed to go to a Frightful Food Feast, so I had to make a Quiche from Yuggoth; but it was canceled due to health crap while I was making the pie shell, so I had to worry about a friend; plus (this is embarrassing) my backbrain was getting all 'shippy* about a couple of my Sims2 characters instead of doing its job. So I sat down Monday morning and realized I didn't have any clear idea of how and why Len even met Luke Parry, much less became convinced that he wasn't the villain of the piece.

I did, however, thanks to the timeline and that sprawling Überchapter, know when and where, so I started with that and kept putting down whatever crud I could think of, and backing up over it, and going forward again, until finally one of Parry's many creditors came weaving drunkenly down the street and tried to beat a non-existent twenty dollars out of him and solved my problem. I wrapped up for the day knowing what the next sentence would be, and today I went back over the mess from yesterday tidying up after myself, and wrote the next chapter properly, the way chapters should be written.

It's not exactly all downhill from here, even in the drafting phase; but I am over the hump now. The story is more than half drafted, the plot and characters are in their proper places, and I have a sense of a meaningful milestone being past. This is a good feeling; one I couldn't have if I'd insisted on either the Überchapter or Monday's work being fit to be seen. After all, I control who sees my story when. Nobody has to be offended by the sight of it half-shaved, covered in cold cream, and in curlers except me. Perfectionists don't finish things.

*The term 'shippy is short for relationshippy, a fandom term for the state of being invested in the imaginary romance of imaginary people; usually applied to series television in which the imaginary romance is either unrealized or counterindicated. So whereas many people, during the TV run of The X-Files, were, for reasonable cause,'shippy for Mulder and Scully, they coexisted with 'shippers who preferred to project their romantic fantasies onto Scully and Skinner, Mulder and Skinner, or even Mulder and Krycek, despite the difficulty of squaring these pairings with the existing text. One does not write slash where one is not 'shippy.


  1. A toast! You had a good day. May one follow the other with ease.

  2. Sorry I missed the camels. Life interferred. Glad to read your report.