Approach Alarm

Since the clock ticked over to 2013 work has progressed more slowly than intended, but the end is drawing near. We are at about 75% of the original goal for the first draft.

As the project’s one-year anniversary whizzes into the rear view mirror, I want to thank everyone who has supported my work on the novel these past 13 months. Truly, without your help I could not have come this far and my life situation (as, in turn, that of my wife and daughter) would be quite different right now. I have promised you all some bonuses, and I want both to confirm that these are on their way and to put out a request for details.

Anyone who is due some cookies or brownies, please let me know which you’re up for and if you have any special dietary concerns. If you can’t do gluten, we will use brand new pans, untouched by wheat. If you can’t do sugar, let us know if you have a preferred alternative.

Thank you again for all of your help. It has meant so much to us over the past year. Let us know what you need and we will see to it that things happen that way.

We will let you know when the actual end date is in sight. Right now it is just over the horizon.

Floating in the Dark

And there’s chapter five, at last. I think it came together pretty well in the end, and accomplished all that I wanted. It just had to take its own strange route to get there.

So we’ve passed another checkpoint, and I can tie off that train of thought for now. Now I’m right where I want to be — but of course a new chapter means a new beginning. Oy! Well, we’ll see how quickly I can get into the swing of this one.

Final chapter 5 wordcloud:

Chapter 5

Just like Finland

So we’re at 25,000 words. That comes out to 100 standard pages. As usual the real page count differs depending on where you’re reading it.

Progress has been slow, this chapter. It’s not entirely a creative problem; it’s more the consequence of practical demands: moving house, attending to the changing needs of my family. I have much on my mind, and scant time to act on any of it.

Still, the daily updates continue. Right now I’m in the middle of a flashback, which is providing me the chance to explore a couple of characters and the basis of their relationship. Though to me it may feel like meandering, every time I wind up on one of these tangents I return with something crucial that I would not have found otherwise. In retrospect the book wouldn’t be what it is without these regular side steps. So though I may feel lost, I am gaining faith in the material as a guide.

Twenty Thousand

We’re past the 20,000 word mark. That’s about 80 pages, by standard measurements. (In Word format I’m up to 78; in my Moleskine… that comes to 62 pages, counting back and front.) I’m not quite done with chapter four, though I have reached a milestone in its content. From here it’s all smooth until chapter five, and I have something interesting planned there. After the last two chapters it will be a nice change of pace.

I’m going to be away for the weekend, and I may not bring my notebook. I’ll have other things to think about, and I don’t want to lose or damage my work to date. Sure I’ve been typing this out every night, but the hard copy is the real thing. I can always retype it if I want, but I’ll never have the original back again.

So, phew. One more chapter or so and we should reach 100 pages — a fact that will quite probably cause my brain to melt. So that should be fun.

Center of the World

There’s chapter three down. That means another period of grasping while I get a feel for the next block — though as I expect the next chapter to pick up almost immediately, that may be ameliorated by the continuity. We shall see.

Another productive evening.

The Internal Coquette

We’re at 15000 words. Chapter three still has some life, though. As I said, the estimate is very rough. I find it interesting how the scenes and the dialog keep dancing around the connections that I want to make, often flirting openly: “Almost, but not yet! You’ve got to work for it!” In the interim, scenes grow and characters play through their own natural forces. It’s all for the best. It’s the tease that keeps me going.

Since the start of this chapter I have been listening to WBGO, 88.3 FM. I have my reasons. It’s been a while since I have listened to jazz, or to the radio. If you’re going to do it, might as well do it in the middle of the night.

Dancing Landmarks

The second chapter continues to yank me in unexpected directions, all for the best. Nearly done now, and on the cusp of 10,000 words. In page terms this is an arbitrary number; at an average of 250 words per printed page, that comes to 40 pages. Still a good chunk of pulp, but it’s not even a round figure. Ten thousand, now that sounds like a nice milestone. And I’m nearly there.

I might have written even more tonight, except that research ate up way more time than I intended. Any time you write about New York, you really need to know your background — and sometimes the details can get kind of crazy.

Both my wife and I are touched by your continued support. The most recent donation comes from my very old friend Lan, which makes two contributors in a row in need of special cookie recipes. Dietary minefields are all part of the challenge.

If anyone has been putting off a sizable donation out of concern for gluten or sugar content, don’t you worry about it; whatever your needs, my wife can work around them. She’s clever that way.