The End Beginning Again

Beautiful morning, good breakfast, the Chicago II album playing in my earphones while I Panera 10514blog at Panera–yes, it’s a great day.  Here’s a picture to prove that I’m telling the truth.  You’ll have to take my word about the album, but since Chicago II is one of my favorite albums, you know I’m not just telling you that.

More writing last night, but this time I waited until about nine PM to start.  I was busy through the afternoon, I watched the original The Thing From Another World, then flipped over to Mythbusters to watch their season opener.  One I got on I finished the current scene, cranking out just under a thousand words in about ninety minutes.  The story is over ninety-five thousand words now, and the next goal is the Big One Hundred, which is something I’ve only done once before, an that was a long time ago.

Once I finish the next scene I’ll be out of Wednesday and into Thursday (in my story), and with that comes a bit of nastiness.  I’ve maybe a dozen scenes left to write, and that could take me to about one hundred thirty thousand total.  Maybe a little more.  Maybe.  Anymore I just write and not worry about where the word count takes me.

However, during the afternoon I started my mind down the road to the end of this story.  Not the end of this novel, mind you, but the end of the main characters of this novel.  A while ago I put together most of their lives, how they’ll go through life, the major events they’ll encounter, and finally, how they’ll die.  Yeah, I do that:  I like to go from birth to death with some of my characters, and in the case of Annie and Kerry, I’ve already described their births.

It’s only natural that I know how they check out.

The thing is, there’s more to the story after they die.  Call it the coda, call it the epilogue, call it whatever you like:  there’s a followup that is designed to wrap up everything nice and neat.  But how to get there?

So I went and stole an idea I had for another novel.

I have an idea file.  Let me show it to Idea Fileyou:

There.  You just got to see something I’ve never showed to anyone.  You see some of the ideas that have come to fruition and were written.  You see a few that I do want to do badly, including my Indonesian horror series and my Monster House novel that came out of a recurring dream.  And there are a few here that I know will never be written, but the concepts and ideas I developed for those stories remain to this day.

In one of those stories I came up with the idea of having one person who had close to the events in the novel to be the last around to tell everyone what happened.  You could call her Ishmael, and I won’t try to dodge that one, because it’s fairly close to the mark.

I started thinking about the characters of my current story and wondered how I could finish not only their tale, but the tale of those who helped make them the characters they became, and there it was:  my Ishmael from another story.

This is why you keep an idea file, kiddies:  you never know when they’ll come back to make what you’re working on a lot easier to write.  Even if you’ve never gotten close to writing what you want to write.

Sniffles and Starts

Most of the day yesterday was spent running around.  I shouldn’t say, “Most of the day,” because I was here at Panera in the morning, then later in the morning I ran up about twenty miles north of here to the Appalachia Trail, snapped a few pictures, drove back to The Burg for lunch, did some shopping, and was back in the hotel about one-thirty.  It was quite uneventful, but that’s the way most days are now.  I get up, I get down, just like I’m living in a Yes song.

I’d promised I was going to get into some writing, and in time I did.  I did it slowly, because I had the TV on to give me a little background noise, and I found myself getting drawn into what was happening.  It was easy to get distracted because I was suffering from a stuffy nose and a strange tickle in my throat, which is usually the warning signs that a cold is coming on.  That’s some crap I don’t need; it seems like whenever I get back to work, after a couple of weeks on the job I catch a cold.  This is why I should be a shut-in and work from home all the time:  I don’t pick up strange germs from other people.

So I spent the gathering evening sniff and snorting, getting lots of fluids in my body while I pecked away at my new short story.  Yes, I want to emphasize this:  it’s a short story, one that I already have worked out in my head, so I know there are five individual scenes to write, though I can’t say how many words are going to be in each scene.

I set the Project Target at five thousand words total, and five hundred words for a daily goal.  Hey, easy, right?  Nice and easy, I can write the story in ten days at that rate, and it leaves me time to do other things.  So I got into full screen mode and started writing–

Slowly, carefully.  I didn’t want to get wordy; I didn’t want to get into a lot of things that were going to fill up the story and turn it into another novelette, or worse, novella.  Nope, I set my goal:  five thousand words.  Best stick to it.

The nice thing about Scrivener’s full-screen mode is you can’t bring up your Project Targets every couple of paragraphs to see how you’re doing.  You write on the limited interface you’re given, and that keeps you focused.  Of course you can flip over to a browser every so often, but I didn’t.

Oh, and the TV was still on, and HBO was playing Les Misérables, and there’s Russel Crowe singing to an unrecognizable Hugh Jackman, and before you know it Anne Hathaway is getting her hair done in a boy cut and I’m trying hard not to think of the opening chapter of American Psycho–“Bum, sixteen; bum, seventeen; bum, eighteen,” and the bus with the poster of Cosette with “Whore” scrawled at the bottom–but after a while I started thinking that someone’s already written fan fiction where Wolverine and Catwoman are running through 18th Century France trying to stop SID 6.7 from killing the king before the revolution–and if SID still looks like The Thin Green Duke.  At least Russel’s band’s music wouldn’t be part of the soundtrack . . .

I finally reached the end of the scene, and I went back into normal mode and checked my word count–

1066 words.

Yeah, I thought I’d do five hundred, and I did just a little over a thousand.  Knowing I have four more scenes to write, that’ll put me between five and six thousand words for the story, which isn’t bad.  And that will keep it under seventy-five hundred words, which means my story could end up being eligible for a Hugo short story award.

Now there’s some science fiction for you.