Sekrit Projekt R&R, Chapter 12

After two marathon evenings of writing, we are now — at least in theory — halfway through the book.

During Worldcon I had people asking me how long it’s going to be, which is a simple question with a complicated answer. When we were originally laying out the plot, we tossed down a few key events and more or less arbitrarily declared that they were the one-quarter, one-half, and three-quarter marks. The one-quarter milestone came in at 47K and this one wrapped at 98K, but the original three-quarter mark has been moved to a point that will definitely not be anywhere near 150K. (We’ve added a ticking clock on a certain plot thread, and that event needs to happen before the clock runs out over there.) So right now we’re just kind of guessing. Looking at the scenes we definitely have planned, taking into account the average length of scene up until this point, and realizing we’re going to need to add more scenes than just the ones we’ve got listed . . . the answer I gave people at Worldcon was “175K plus or minus 25K.” Which is, y’know, a rather large margin of error.

But we’re homing in on that 175 or so. That would be approximately twenty-one chapters, which feels like the appropriate ballpark to be looking at. Might be twenty-two; probably won’t be twenty; outside chance it will bounce up to twenty-three, once we actually figure out how the ending is going to go. (Our original estimate was twenty-four.)

Regardless of where it winds up falling in the overall pacing, this was the midpoint in the sense of being where the entire book pivots. All our major plot threads just collided; now our protagonists will realize those things are connected, and have to do something about it before things get worse. We inflicted trauma in wholesale quantities, and dropped a lot of clues. A central character underwent a major change of direction. And there will be very little in the way of leisurely politicking at dances and parties now — everything is moving too fast for that.

Word count: ~98,000
Authorial sadism: This entire chapter.
Authorial amusement: . . . see above? This wasn’t the kind of chapter where we went “tee-hee” over silly things. Our amusement was the sadism, because writers are like that.
BLR quotient: Blood. No contest.

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