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Week 10 Update: Sad Rhythms, Skiing Metaphors, and Sailboats
Folks, we have reached the three-quarter mark.
This is the end of Week 10 of this novel-writing project. Five weeks and two days remain until the end of November.
Since returning from our trips, I’ve kept up almost every word count goal. I add almost because I finally faltered this week, on Friday.
The reason, I suspect, is my body remembers the terrible mid-late October days we experienced eight years ago. Those were the days after Mindy’s second diagnosis, when she was in the ICU undergoing surgeries I barely remember. My body remembers, though, and that’s why I didn’t mind slowing down on Friday. I can’t fight the rhythms.
I also had an appropriate resting point. On Thursday, I passed the 30,000 word count and reached the end of the river portion of this story. Of the book’s ten sections, only three remain, and one of those is an epilogue. In other words, I’m about 75% finished. While this is no time for complacency, I wasn’t sure how to transition to the next scene, which is the the final action set-piece. I’m hoping to get in some surreptitious scouting in order to make it happen.
Instead of meeting my word count goal, I took a field trip down to the river near Zidell Yards instead.
Outside of the first few chapters, most of this book is still a first draft.
Toward the end of a project feels like skiing. That’s when the fine tuning and best jokes and prose and details emerge. That’s when I feel like I’m I’m gliding down a well-groomed slope, slaloming in the powder, riding the chairlift up for another run. Exhilaration!
I am not there now. In fact, if we expand the skiing metaphor out further, the work of getting to this point feels like every other step in crafting the slope. I cleared out a path, set up the lift, gave time and finger taps for the snowflakes to fall. That’s where I am now. And when the snow’s finally down, I’ll still have to groom the run with a Sno-Cat.
The skiing is close, though, and the three-quarters mark at least holds some hope. Meanwhile, the river section gave me faith that even the most hidden aspects of this story will have their own unique feel and thrills.
This was a rest week, so word goals go up again over the next two. This may prove a challenge with Halloween and Lana’s birthday nearing, but otherwise I feel ready for the final legs. In future projects, I plan to keep my weekly word counts lower. However, I’m also expect some communal lift from NaMoWriMo (where the goal is, not for nothing, 50,000 words in one month) and the AWA Writers training I’m attending in early November.
I read a lot about sailboats the last couple of weeks, mostly so I proper used nautical language.
In Brandon Sanderson’s Sci-Fi/Fantasy Novel Writing course at BYU, he talks about the levels of expertise a writer needs to properly build a world, and his take is that if the world you’re building is an iceberg, you want the reader to feel there’s a whole mountain of ice under the surface. But that sort of knowledge depth is paralyzing and endless. Basically, he says, know the surface of the iceberg.
This is where having a mind tuned to general trivia and being an extensive reader for decades come in handy, but I still have a deep aversion to being seen as an idiot by experts so I rely plenty on Google and Wikipedia.
I think my favorite sailing words are transom and starboard. Just really fun to write! In closing, please pray this final action scene is super awesome and properly violent.