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Posts Tagged ‘and ashes lie’

Well, that was bloody stupid.

On the bright side, I almost have a complete novel.

6647 words tonight. I’m too sick of sitting at the computer to look up whether that beats the giant marathon I did at the end of MNC. I’m closer to the end than I was then, though; all I still have to write is the epilogue.

And a half-finished scene I glossed over because I’m still not sure what bit of folklore to stick in there. I think we may cut that out for now, and put it back in if I find something appropriate. (Because I have a long-standing habit of insisting that I cannot declare a novel done until it has no holes in it. And I want to write the epilogue last.)

Anyway. Bedtime came and went hours ago. Time for me to do the same.

murder your darlings

Dammit. I think the line which was a seventeenth-century translation of “blowing up a busload of orphans” has to be cut from the novel. The conversation it was in has been changed by the decision not to kill a particular character, and there just isn’t anywhere else it belongs.


ETA: actually, maybe not. Certain aspects of the conversation have to happen, I think. Let’s see what we can manage.


Three parts revised. Three days’ worth of London burned down. One hundred twenty thousand, three hundred and thirty-six words.

I’m nearly done.

Observations: I have lots of great epic battle music. “Holocaust” not only was a word back then, but originally meant a sacrificial offering that has been completely burnt, which is a fabulous thumbs-up to me using it here. I am spoiled by the internets, getting mad at them for not giving me a high-enough-resolution image of Hollar’s 1658 plan of St. Paul’s Cathedral for me to clearly read where Sir Christopher Hatton’s grave monument was. (What do you mean, I have to actually go to the library? And that I can’t do so at one a.m.?) I am, however, pleased all over again by history’s obliging tendency to drop perfect bits of story in my lap. St. Faith’s was right where narrative logic says it ought to be, and I didn’t have to go at all out of my way to smash Sir Francis Walsingham’s grave.

Destroying things is fun.

(Even if I’m running out of ways to describe stuff burning without just repeating myself over and over and over again.)

what we like to call a marathon

Over 4K words today (all of the London Go Boom variety), and over 8K of revision. We’re nearing the home stretch.

This book feels more raw to me than Midnight Never Come, in a way I find hard to describe. It’s not simply that I think I’m being meaner to my characters — though that’s part of it. (I think Irrith is the only viewpoint character I haven’t done anything horrible to. I wonder if I can fix that before the end?) Partly it’s that I think the politics are less polished; whether it’s a genuine difference of time period or a result of the rough edges being worn off the Elizabethan era, the seventeenth century just feels messier, with more sharp corners sticking out. And I’m really going all-out on the explosions, which no doubt contributes in its own way.

Raw. That’s the only word I can find for it.

112K of book at present, with two days of Fire yet to be added.

special landmark

I finished revising Part Two last night (in a marathon session made possible by the fact that it’s been revised once already), but here’s the real landmark:

I’ve killed a pen.

Yes, dear readers, I have taken so many notes for this novel that they have single-handedly killed a pen. The thing was new when I took it to London. But in the midst of scribbling down some details about how the wells and conduits in the City were running dry in the Fire, I noticed my ink doing the same thing. So we just took a break to walk to the store and buy a new one.

(Because I couldn’t just go to the ammo box and pick out another. Why? Because our stuff isn’t here yet. But the latest forecast is that it should be arriving tomorrow. Keep your fingers crossed.)

I’m just hoping I don’t run out of notebook before I’m done. That would be very inconvenient.


I am up stupidly late, but I have 2325 words of Fire and — more importantly — precisely 100K of book.

There will be no LBR measurements taken here. It’s all Fire, all the time, exactly as it should be.


Revisions of Part One are done. At least in the broad, chainsaw, “this scene can just die already” sense.

Tomorrow? I start blowing shit up.

Part the Third

I’m sure you’ve all been dying to know how the novel’s going.

The answer to that is complicated. Have I been getting work done? Yes, almost every day. How many words do I have? 96,224 — which is not so much, given that I was at 86K back on the 7th. But this discrepancy comes about because I’m doing something different from usual.

As I’ve said before, I’m structuring this book so that it cuts back and forth between long sections skipping forward through the years I’m covering, and days of the Great Fire. So I wrote Part One, then Part Two, and so on, with the intent of going back to write the Fire days once I finished Part Four. This is more or less what I’m doing, but I realized that a) given the massive revision Part One needed and b) the advisability of making sure each part flowed properly into each day, when I got near the end of Part Four, I went back and started revising Part One. I’m 13K+ through that and making good progress; you would have to see it to believe just how much less it’s sucking now. (I’ve lost all perspective as to whether it’s good, but it’s definitely better.) When I finish that, I’ll write the first day, then revise Part Two and write the second day, and so on to the end.

I haven’t quite finished Part Four; it needs maybe one or two scenes, which I will have to get done before I write any Fire stuff. (The night I was supposed to tackle those, I just didn’t know what I wanted to do with them, so I went back and started revising instead.)

Some of the revision has been polishing; some has been wholesale replacement of scenes. It helps that now I know, as I did not when I wrote this, that I don’t have to stay below 110K for the whole book. Antony’s got a series of three incredibly short scenes coming up, where I all too obviously am trying to keep my word-count in check, to the detriment of the story. So expansion of existing material is the third leg of this process, and possibly the most important; only a couple of scenes have been chucked out in their entirety.

I’ve become a moderately better writer over the years, but a substantially better reviser.



Was not supposed to be a 4200-word night.

In fact, I think I even promised kitsunealyc that it wouldn’t be.

But, um, that promise, it got broke real good. There are just bits of story that you cannot stop in the middle of, and this turned out to be one. Not because of explosions — the usual excuse — but because I really didn’t enjoy going some of the places I had to go, and once there, I’d rather just stay and get it all done with. Suffice to say that we are at the height of the Great Plague, at this point, and I feel obscurely that I owe it to the hundred thousand Londoners who died to do everything in my power to communicate just how horrific that was.

Horrific enough that people committed suicide rather than wait for the plague to finish killing them. Horrific enough that they threw themselves into the mass graves, already wrapped in their winding-sheets, as if they were corpses before they even died.

Imagining that is not exactly fun.

4200 words for seven scenes, most of them deeply unpleasant. It’s a good thing tomorrow’s scene will be . . . not exactly enjoyable, but a breath of air after this suffocating passage, because otherwise I’d be sorely tempted to take the day off. And then perhaps another, and then moving eats me alive, and the next thing I know I’m behind schedule and out of the novel’s headspace.

I’m making good progress, at least.

Word count: 85,888
LBR quota: What do you think?
Authorial sadism: See above.

and there goes the benchmark!

Jesus Christ on a pogo stick. Tonight’s work was supposed to be a particular scene, which would take at least my 1K quota to finish.

2,411 words later, the bloody thing is done at last.

I didn’t think I would reach 80K tonight, what with being over 2K away from it. Well, hello, you novel-thing you. We’re still a long way from the end, but 80K is traditionally minimum real novel length, so the number still looks a little magical to me. Crossing that line means we’re approaching the end. (Even if it’s still 50K away — which I hope it isn’t.)

Oh, and that’s with having skipped over one bit, because I’m not sure what to put in it. Dear Merlin: no, you cannot be in this book. Please go away.

Word count: 80,277
LBR quota: Blood. And how.
Authorial sadism: The funny thing is, Lune believes that was less mean than the alternative.