You guys . . . can I tell you a secret?
I really like this book.
Which, y’know, ought to be a “duh” kind of thing? Except that by the time I get three-quarters of the way in on most of my novels, I usually hit a point where I’m tired of them. Like I’ve been eating the same meal for three months straight, and no matter how fond of it I was to start, the taste has really palled. But I’ve been catching up on revisions (doing a first-pass polish on earlier chapters, because the back-and-forth nature of our collaboration means both Alyc and I wind up having things we want to tweak), and . . . when you get head-down in the nitty-gritty of a scene, working through the metaphysical math for an important plot event, or trying to figure out how to make a character imply X when they’ve only got like seven percent of the available information on X and additionally have to look like they’re trying not to imply anything, it’s easy to lose sight of the bigger picture. Revising earlier chapters reminds me the bigger picture is there, and additionally that it contains a lot of awesome stuff. Over here it’s political shenanigans; over there it’s bitchy fencing practice; this corner has the caper and that one has the journey into spiritual woo. We’ve got something for everybody, including all the bits of me that like different things.
And so much of it isn’t standard-issue stuff. Like — let’s see if I can do this without spoilers — for that journey into spiritual woo, the characters have an argument over who ought to be the one to go. Everybody who speaks up has a good reason, because their various agendas are colliding, and the point of view we chose for that scene lets you watch a certain character manipulate the whole thing without telling you why they’re doing it. Which is good enough all on its own . . . but then we layer in our metaphysical worldbuilding, and the character backstory that gives the lies personal depth, and the overarching plot that means the reader should be very worried about what’s going to happen as a result of this, and you wind up with a scene that feels genuinely fresh. (Even to me, and I’ve read more of my own damn work than anybody. But then: this is a collaboration.)
So I’m three-quarters of the way in and when I look back over the road behind us, I still really like it. Partly because this being so large of a book means we’ve got so many different things going on, it’s hard to get bored — but partly because I think it’s damn good.
Which is a good feeling to have, going into the endgame. And I say “endgame” in the full awareness that the home stretch of this book is literally more than half the length of an entire Lady Trent memoir; we’ve got another month’s work ahead of us before we get there, and that’s at our rather high pace of drafting. But I’m in the sort of mood where 50K feels like I can snap my fingers and it’ll be done.
Word count: ~163,000*
Authorial sadism: Bitchy fencing practice means asking on Twitter for suggestions of how somebody can be a jerk with a rapier, and getting all too many good ideas. 😀
Authorial amusement: You’re going to have to explain that again, T—, this time in words of three syllables or fewer. And then convince R— to take some little baby steps along the road to altruism.
BLR quotient: Rhetoric of several different kinds, if I take that to encompass both social politics and intellectual labor. Don’t mind that splash of blood at the end; that’s just to set up the next chapter.
* Anybody who’s comparing numbers might notice this is a big jump from the last post. It isn’t all one chapter; in addition to writing 19, we also backed up to add a scene to Chapter 6, and I finally remembered to include the prologue we wrote a while ago in the wordcount total. Between that and revisions done to flesh out scenes we’d been short-changing in our quest to stay under 200K, there’s a lot of growth that isn’t part of the new chapter.