May 6, 2013

Thoughts on almost-maybe-not-really finishing book #4

I'm in a weird place right now, writing-wise.

I feel like I'm very close to finishing my fourth book (which is weird, since I totally remembering finishing book 1, like, yesterday...but don't let me digress down memory lane...). I'm so close that I know a single day spent sitting in my room at my computer would finish it. A single day.

That's all I need.

I think.

But alas (and maybe not alas). My schedule does not allow for such things these days. I have Zoe around full-time; when she's not here for some reason, I'm probably spending quality time with Charles. Or exercising. Or running a gazillion errands. Or cleaning. Probably in that priority order.

Somehow, stopping my job has given me less in the way of writing time. Used to be I could call out, take a vacation day, and send Zoe to school to get that last bit of writing done on whatever timeline I'd set out for myself. But Zoe won't go to school again until August, when she starts kindergarten.

So now I write in spurts...from 6-7 in the morning, sometimes from 1-2 in the afternoon, if somehow I've already snuck in a shower and some cleaning. By the time Zoe goes to bed at 8, my brain is so muddled from hours and hours of conversations about poop and gravity and Scooby Doo and Junie B. Jones, I can barely string two words together, let alone anything coherent on a novel.

I'd say staying home is teaching me patience...if only I were successful at being patient.

I want to FINISH THIS BOOK. NOW. Because I love it. And I want to know exactly what happens at the end. And every time I think I know exactly what happens at the end, I accidentally throw in some plot point that sends me off in a new, and better, direction.

I used to think 50,000 words was an insurmountable goal. My first novel's first draft clocked in at 59,000, and I thought I'd climbed Everest. Subsequent books weren't much longer than that, at least not in the initial draft.

This book? This crazy mash-up of the London Blitz with a foreign planet with aliens and space travel? This morning I hit 88,000 words, and still, I have at least 10,000 more to go. At least. It's blowing my mind, how much there is to tell with this story. The important memories of these characters I've created that need to be shared. The way they all seem to have so much more to say.

I literally cannot believe it.

I write about 1500 words per morning, on a good morning. If I get that extra afternoon hour, I clock in around 2,000 - I am less productive when Zoe is playing loud pretend games with her cars and singing along to Fun. I can't help it - she's entertaining.

Basically, I have anywhere from a week to a month to keep writing on this thing, I think, if using this daily schedule.  Less than a month for sure. Maybe two weeks. Who knows.  After that, I will have a completely different experience than in any of my other books. 

I'll put it away for a month or so, and work on something completely different. That much remains the same. I have a short story I've been dying to write, and I want to go take a look at my Frankenstein-girl book again - I think there are some tweaks that need to be made to it. Then, after that, I need to sit down and do some world-building.

I never had to do that before! My books have always been earthbound...this is not. I need to plan out time-increments before I can get my timeline to make sense. Do they use years? Seasons? Something else? And I need to know how they measure distance, how they use money. All these things will help me to make my world cohesive. All these things are bits I've never had to worry about before.

So then, when I get all that figured out, I can begin to patch this book up. Repair it. I know now I have a story I love...soon I get to make it a book I love too. I can't wait to do that.

So there you have it. I'll finish this book...sometime. After that, I'll take some time away from it. And then I'll figure it all out. People love to ask about timelines for books, and I'm guessing I'm not alone in between six months and a year? Maybe? If I'm a good, patient little writer and I dot my I's and cross my T's the way I like them dotted and crossed.

It's funny, how what you know sometimes makes what you don't know that much scarier. But it's all good. I'm doing what I love, and I'm loving what I do, so in the end, I should have something I'll be excited to share with y'all.


MarissaV said...

I love this post. I think it might be one of my favorites from you. I'm not sure why. I just really like it. The way it flows, the honesty in it, your voice coming through...I just really like it :)

Leah said...

Perhaps because our lives are so similar? :D Regardless, thanks!!!! xo!

Nadre said...

This made me giggle: "By the time Zoe goes to bed at 8, my brain is so muddled from hours and hours of conversations about poop and gravity and Scooby Doo and Junie B. Jones, I can barely string two words together, let alone anything coherent on a novel."

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