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

First, a quick update for all of you who wrote me concerned about my health after last week’s post. I want to thank all of you, and I’m happy to relay that my blood sugars levels are testing around 150-180 mg/dL before meals. That’s above the “average” target of 100 mg/dL, but it’s still a huge improvement and drop from 280! It has also only been about ten days since I started changing things, and signs are good that I’ll continue to improve. :-)

Now, on to updates about my work-in-progress novel, Vivian’s Last Cigarette!

The new chapter seven has reached just over 4,000 words after I more than doubled its size over the weekend. That word-count total doesn’t reflect a big round of editing I did to it on Saturday, or the cuts to several sections that sums to a significant amount of rewritten material.

Still, I’m disappointed that I didn’t finish the chapter this weekend.

My intent was to squeeze in as much writing on the book as I could over the course of the work-week, but my day job was tumultuous and exhausting thanks to being short-staffed with a high workload. I did well enough to keep everything else on track, let alone have time for bonus writing rounds. And the rest of this week looks to be as —if not more— challenging at work than the last.

Yet, I can’t be too hard on myself; I reached 120% of my raw word-count goal for the two days that I did have to write fiction. And as you can tell from reading above, I was busy with a lot more than just that. I got a lot done.

The chapter has been a difficult one to write this far, but fun too. Its opening had me threading multiple plot strings together, and everything I did had to be done considering the ripples they would send through the rest of the novel’s already written tapestry. It was slow going, but now what’s left to write is the exiting climax of a mini-story arc.

This will be the conclusion to the novel’s second mini-story arc. Chapters one to three encompass the first; four is a transition and interlude, and chapters five to seven comprise the second. This second arc has ratcheted-up the tension pretty tight, with Viv and Gronk being outnumbered and chased all over town for two chapters by over a dozen orc-hatin’ Hammerfist skinheads. And that’s where chapter seven, Truckin’, opens…

The opening lines have the pair finding momentary refuge within The Magic Moo-Shroom Metaphysical Shop; the family run business where Gronk’s gnomish friend, Cricket Keebler, works. Unfortunately, there are now a growing number of angry thugs gathering outside the locked front door.

Although Cricket was introduced in chapter four, the biggest fun (and challenge) I had in the opening was introducing her parents: Her willowy human mother Lynn who is crystal loving, new-aged Wiccan priestess and tarot reader… and her changeling father Neil.

Both have been fun to write. But Neil —a Tolkien loving former Grateful Dead roadie who became a dwarf not long after his daughter went changeling— is just a character I love writing dialogue for because the humor just writes itself. He’s such a lovable guy… and also quite possibly the most laid-back, mellow hippie-type dude on the planet. It’s all pretty far-out, man.

However, the Keebler clan isn’t exactly a trio that seems to offer much hope or help in making a stand against a dozen or so threatening thugs. Things seem headed for a dire and violent end, but for the conclusion of the arc I have a few wild surprises I’m itching to release. I have these fairly well plotted-out and choreographed… and to be truthful, I’ve been quietly laughing while crafting them for months now. ;-)

Therefore, I’m looking forward to writing this next bit that features some unexpected turnarounds — and slapstick comeuppance— for the Hammerfist goons that have been chasing our greenskinned heroes. I think the swift change in footing will magnify the humor I’ve planned, and be a memorable part as the protagonists triumphantly escape the bad-guys.

In other novel-progress news, chapter six of Viv’s remains in a second draft and in the hands of my critique partner Lauren. Her hands have been full with a number of things this week, like the release of her second book! ­Yay! :-D However, she’s told me to expect feedback this upcoming weekend, and my goal this week is to get the new chapter seven finished, into a second draft, and off to her by Sunday.

My other projects, Far from Acheron and Cretaceous Queen, are on-hold as second drafts currently. All my fiction writing is focused on Viv’s at the moment, specifically finishing chapter seven. Once I have a second draft of that, I’ll get each of those projects into their third versions.

Then it will be on to the big retool of the novel’s former chapter two, which I will transform it into its new eighth chapter.

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

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