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Almost there…

Time for a new weekly writer’s roundup of my works-in-progress and those ready to read!

This past week was the Thanksgiving holiday for myself and others in the United States. For me in particular, a conjunction of elective and holiday time-off combined with a weekend to grant me five free days.

It was nice; I used much of it to get the ball rolling on Vivian’s Last Cigarette again. The holiday itself and the day before weren’t highly conducive to that goal, but I had three solid days thereafter that were. I used them to edit and finish the fifteenth chapter of the novel, then to reach the halfway-point of the sixteenth by Sunday evening. All said and done, I added about four-thousand words to the manuscript to nearly reach a total of 63,000 for the book so far.

The goal line is now firmly in sight, and it comes with an amazing sense of accomplishment! The story isn’t done yet, but I can feel it wrapping up now much more so in chapter sixteen than before. In monomythic terms, I’m writing the end of the Return phase of the tale with it… showing my teenaged protagonists enjoying “The Freedom to Live”.

There just isn’t much left to write after that. Well, not unless I want to start drafting a whole new adventure for them. ;-)

So when I say I’m one-and-a-half chapters from finishing the manuscript, I do so with confidence. Once I get to the seventeenth and final chapter, my intent is for it to serve as a funny, upbeat and open epilogue for the novel. It has been within the fifteenth and sixteenth chapters that I’ve ended almost all of the remaining loose plot threads. Aside from a few small points, everything is already tied-up before I write the first word of seventeen… I don’t really see it spiraling into more than I have planned.

That isn’t to say that the last chapter is a pointless chapter. It concludes a thread started at the very beginning of the book. And it’s one that will likely be a nagging question for many readers when they reach this point. I’m aiming to answer it humorously.

Not only that, but the final chapter creates a few new threads of story that I leave waving at the novel’s close. These are not glaring cliffhangers so much as open questions… Things that leave the world I’ve created open and alive at the story’s end, while still closing it with a sense of completion.

I’m trying not to say too much about the last chapters because of spoilers. However, I will say that I’ve loved writing chapter sixteen so far, and I hope to evoke some laughs with its unfolding events along with some more tender scenes.

I’ll also say that chapter fifteen was surprisingly tough to write. It took over a month to complete, which was aggravating and aided by injections of chaos over that time. Difficulty was added by the fact that it was also the end of the story arc for Bailey, a supporting character introduced in chapter nine. As such, I really wanted to it to close the chapter on the right note for him. That took some tinkering.

30nov16Bailey’s a small town police officer who’s both foil and ally to my protagonists. He only appears in three chapters (9, 13 and 15), but is an important player each time. Introduced as part of my expansion to make the story a novel, he quickly became a very fun character to write. The best thing about Bailey was writing him as an opposing force to Viv and Gronk, without him being an asshole.  He’s a good man; a family friend to Gronk and level-headed cop. Unbiased and sympathetic to their plight as changelings and orcs, he really is trying to help.

But his intuition is also telling him they’re hiding something, and perhaps up to more. Viv’s distrust of the police and authority doesn’t help matters, nor does Gronk’s desire to protect Viv by keeping her status as a runaway secret. I think writing this mix of opposing, but well-intentioned, motives (and in the case of the teens, lies) created some emotionally engaging work. During this part of the story, most readers should be wanting to see things work out to a positive end for Viv and Gronk… And all the components for that ending are basically on the table. It’s pretty wrenching to see the principals unable to fit those pieces together for all their missteps.

As much as I want to finish the manuscript, the upcoming weekend is unlikely to grant me much time to write. After a November dominated by sickness, recovery and random interruptions, I’ve got chores to attend to that I can’t ignore any longer.

Forget decorating for Yuletide, we have to put the Halloween decorations away first! ;-)

More importantly though, temperatures are dropping and lasting snow is on the way. We’ve got to get the house interior and exterior ready for winter, and our weekend is the only time my wife and I have to do so.

My wife also deserves some social time with her husband, who’s up in his study writing most of the time. Therefore on Saturday we’re joining friends to attend a live performance of The Nutcracker. :-)

Hopefully, we’ll get all those things done and I’ll still have a little time left over to write. Yet real progress will need to wait until next week. More delays in finishing the manuscript are frustrating, but then I thought about it: Even if I had it done now, it’s unlikely that any of the numerous folks that are willing to edit and beta read it would get much done until January… because of the upcoming holidays.

So I’m not going to moan and groan about it like Marley’s Ghost. Instead, I’ll go with the Yuletide flow. :-)

Alright, time for me to stop blogging and get back to writing some more fiction getting the house winterized! Take care!