done, sort of.

Well, it took almost two years but I have reached the end of the novel. Not that the end is the end, this is what happens when you write things non-linearly. The last bit written actually goes somewhere in the middle, but still.

It’s almost 130,000 words. 129,148 according to Scrivener, but some of that is notes and rewrites and lots of it will change. It’ll likely end up right around 100,000 which should be perfect, since 130,000 is far, far too many words.

(For those of you unfamiliar with word counts one of the general rules of thumb is approximately 250 words per page. That’s over 500 pages, which is too many pages.)

I have a grand plan for editing, which involves reading through everything and taking notes next week and then organizing those notes into a proper rewriting schedule. Am still on track for finishing mid-October with time left to plan for NaNoWriMo.

(I have already changed my mind three times as far as NaNo goes, and have plenty of time to change it again.)

But first I am taking the weekend off.

awaiting autumn

I have been in a sort of cocoon of Lapsang Souchong tea and writing lately, alternately accompanied by Philip Glass on solo piano and Zoe Keating on multi-layered cello.

Now I’ve moved on to being vaguely addicted to Amanda Palmer’s new solo album, Who Killed Amanda Palmer. I wasn’t sure what I thought of it at first but it has grown on me like some sort of musical fungus and I think I love it to little bits. Or something.

Still writing. Still have my Lapsang Souchong. Still have kittens finding new and interesting places to nap. Tessa was all about the front window for awhile (see photographic evidence) and now she’s underneath the gold armchair in the corner. Bucket has taken to flopping in various spots in the hallway so I have to jump over her to get to the kitchen for tea.

It feels like it could trip over into autumn any day now, I am sick of the humidity and I long for scarves and fingerless gloves and pumpkin spice lattes. It is my favorite time of year, all cinnamon and leaves and crisp cool air. Any day now.

reading about writing

Firstly, the Nicest Person on the Internet got me the aforementioned Tarot of the Magical Forest. It is even more lovely and whimsical and weird in person and I love it.

I’ve had a very long, very productive weekend. Went to the Peabody Essex Museum, cleaned the apartment (sort of), upgraded PhotoShop, wrote a lot, read a lot. Somewhere in there kittens chased flies and I made sangria and we talked a lot of politics. Good times.

I’m very fond of reading books about writing. Mostly just to see what other people have to say about it, and how so many of them say the same things in so many different ways. I have two new ones that I read this weekend, that are both lovely in almost completely opposite ways.

The War of Art by Steven Pressfield is very straightforward, very thoughtful and kind of a kick in the pants for anyone struggling with anything from writing and painting to weight loss and yoga. It is very clear and concise and frames familiar struggles in an interesting way that I hadn’t encountered before. It’s a quick read, and I have a feeling I will be re-reading it occasionally as well.

On the other side of the reading about writing spectrum (the colorful one) I also read SARK’s Juicy Pens, Thirsty Paper. It is very much a SARK book, all handwritten wonderfulness in bright colors and doodled illustrations and it is equally as inspiring. I feel like I’ve fed both sides of my brain with writing books in one weekend.

One of my favorite bits of Juicy Pens, Thirsty Paper (even the title makes me want to write!) is this page of numbered doors, on which SARK instructs the reader to pick a door intuitively and follow the coordinating advice on the next page. My advice, found through a simple purple door: Put your writing FIRST and see how it feels, which feels like very good advice for me right now.

So I am looking forward to this week. I have lots to write, I have lots to say. I have Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds Live at Radio City freshly downloaded and I still have quite a bit of sangria, too.

(And I promise I will finish the Phantomwise Tarot sevens soon as well, really.)

on perspective and cute batties

I am completely smitten with the Tarot of the Magical Forest.

I don’t often go looking for new tarot decks. I have about, um, twenty or so. I think. I haven’t counted them in awhile. Most of them are in a hatbox but there are others tucked on bookshelves here and there.

I am extremely picky about my tarot decks. I gravitate toward interesting yet consistent art and I like decks that have their own personality but still have recognizable traditional imagery.

And I’m a sucker for something whimsical.

So I don’t know how the Tarot of the Magical Forest stayed under my radar for so long, because I instantly adored it. The Hanged Man batty is particularly fabulous, mostly because it’s so appropriate.

The Hanged Man is one of my favorite cards in any deck, it’s odd and perplexing and so much of it is about perspective. It always reminds me of Odin on Yggdrasil. Sacrifice for insight.

(It also reminds me of the desk-standing from Dead Poets Society, because my tarot-reading influences are many and varied.)

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about perspectives and changing as I’m doing massive amounts of editing and rewriting. I am being extremely productive but also extremely thoughtful and reflective about everything as I go over it.

It’s really all about perspective: each character sees the same things colored by experience and role and knowledge. And I get to choose which perspectives are shown when, and in which combinations and how to have them all unfold to tell the story.

It’s rather daunting, really. But I’m finding in editing I can turn things every which way to approach it from any angle. I already have the bulk of the work there, now it’s about filling holes and expanding sections and making it into a cohesive whole. I can work from one character’s angle and then another’s, and I find unexpected things along the way. And when I get stuck I can turn it another way, work on it from another viewpoint.

Maybe that’s the benefit of working non-linearly. Though I suppose it might work with anything.

I sound particularly optimistic today. I blame the adorable batty, though I hope it continues.

(And I’m going to buy the nice deck, of course. As soon as I have enough spare cash.)

nocturnal again

Staying up until 3am again, under half an hour to go.

I rather like this. One of my writing books suggests writing at different times of day to figure out when you write best. I seem to be a late night writer. Or a two glasses of wine writer, since the combination seems to work well.

I wrote about 2,000 words today, some in the afternoon but most over the last couple hours. I am very pleased with the result, as it was a tricky bit of a scene that hadn’t been cooperating earlier and now I like it quite a bit. It’s interesting how all these bits and pieces are slowly but surely forming a whole, almost of their own volition.

I’m feeling like things are starting to align properly, which is a much better feeling than the frustation and doubt that I’d been feeling previously.

Kittens are, as ever, confused with the late night write-a-thon. They have spent most of the last hour chasing a bug around the studio and now Tessa is sitting on the table behind me and squinting at me tiredly, as though I am keeping her up with this disruption in routine. Poor thing.