This was a fiddly chapter. Since the previous one was a bit of a pivot point, here we’re dealing with the fallout from the events there, and setting things up to lead toward the middle of the book. There’s a lot of information-wrangling going on, and a lot of us trying not to trip over our own feet in our cleverness, because of course we need to drop clues without letting the reader know they’re clues, and make sure certain scenes can be read in (intentionally) erroneous ways — which means continually going, “wait, what do the characters in this scene actually know, and how can we get them to behave in the ways we want while still having it be logical and in-character.”
This is also the point at which — at least for me — it starts to sink in that we’re writing a book. Noveling, I have often said, is an endurance sport: you work your butt off for weeks on end, and you’re nowhere near the end. That’s especially true here, since this bidding fair to be the longest thing I’ve ever written (though Alyc has written longer). I’m mentally cinching the straps on my backpack tighter and tugging my socks straight, because we’ve got miles to go before we’re done.
Word count: ~56000
Authorial sadism: Twisting the knife in a wound of grief. Also making a character who is terrible at lying fish for information — and the lie she gets in response is going to come back and bite the other character on the ass later.
Authorial amusement: New category! But with the number of things Alyc and I toss into the story for our own entertainment, it really deserves its own call-out. Sadly we had to cut an excellent line of Alyc’s because it would, for the right kind of reader, have been a giant neon arrow pointing at what we’re really up to — but that scene in general is far too much fun, with lots of social dancing and awkwardness and our protagonist R— trying to figure out just how many things she needs to be worried about right now. (Answer: more than even her paranoia realizes.)
BLR quotient: Well, we did dislocate a character’s shoulder. But I’d say mostly love, as there’s lots of creation of and leaning on social bonds. Don’t worry — we’ll have some blood for you next chapter.