Tuesday, December 21, 2010

This kind of thunder breaks walls and windowpanes

I think--only hindsight will prove me right or wrong--I think I am in the middle of one of my good times.

It's a bit hard to see from ground level, but I seem to be hammering out an awful lot of words lately, and feeling rather good about them. And by "rather good" I mean "ten feet tall and covered in gold dust", to quote Elizabeth Bear, who knows much better than I what it is to be a talented writer at the peak of her powers with an extra booster-shot of brain chemistry.

Recent progress:

Sold "Bleaker Collegiate Presents an All-Female Production of Waiting for Godot"

Completed "In the Scent Garden of the Rochester Conservatory" (which may be renamed with a quote from "Faustine")

Rewrote "A Sovereign Cure for Pneumonia"
Rewrote and subbed "Weathermakers"

Still on sub from a while ago: "Haunts of the School for Duellists"

Tinkered with Hour of the Hag opening chapters (this book needs another 10,000 words and it will be ready to query)

Reached chapter 5 of Compass of Chicago (this book needs about 20 more chapters, but since I've only been working on it since October-ish, I am on track to finish it in one year as planned)

Replotted Bane-Day and rewrote the first chapter (this book has way too many words already, and needs to be winnowed, threshed, and whatever other chaff-removing words you might know)

To be maximally productive, I think I ought to screw down the focus and hold off on Bane-Day until Hour of the Hag is actually in the post to agents. But it's so damned interesting. It is also an excellent sandbox for the thing I'm trying to do on the fly with Compass of Chicago: the alchemical combination of structure and character. Bane-Day was all character-driven, and the characters were blind, drunk and way too numerous, which left me with no idea what would happen at any given time. I felt my way through the dark rooms with them. Compass is character-driven also, but it was born with a plot, which needs to be revealed at appropriate times. I believe that in stripping Bane-Day to its skeleton, I'm going to understand how to build Compass from the ground up, with fewer false starts.

That, or I'm bullshitting myself so that I can justify spending time with that world again.

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