Thursday, June 05, 2014

Epic Accomplishments

Today should be a day of Epic Accomplishments (I figure it deserves the capitalization). It's possible that I could get to the end of the story in the book I'm working on, since I don't have that much more to go. Unfortunately, I'll be about 20,000 words short of my target for this kind of novel. I already know that I kind of breezed through many of the more climactic scenes because I was anxious to see what happened. It's the writer equivalent of rapidly turning the pages to see what happens, only to have to re-read that part of the book because you didn't catch it all, you were reading so fast. Only, instead of re-reading, I have to go back and rewrite to put in all that stuff you don't catch the first time when you're frantically reading. You know, things like details, description and emotion.

I think I may also have made things a bit too easy for my heroes in places, and that altered my pacing. I'd planned this one part to be the big midpoint, then had other stuff for them to deal with, and then there would be the big, climactic confrontation with the villain. But when I wrote it, the confrontation with the villain happened very quickly after that big midpoint scene, and then the one other "oops, guess it isn't over" part got handled with what was essentially a "y'all stop that now, you hear?" scolding. So that will require some rethinking. Is that one scene really the midpoint, or is it part of one big climactic sequence? This book has what will probably be a longer-than-average resolution because there are a couple of things that beating the bad guys won't take care of, and there are some farewells and new life plans, etc. I guess you could say there's a physical climax and an emotional climax.

Ooh, and I just figured out that I need to switch the order I deal with those resolutions. That gives more of a punch at the end and provides a motivation for the decision one of the characters has to make. And one may even be moved to fit during the physical climax. Thank you, blog, for helping my writing process. This is often the time when I'll call my mom and talk it through and then I figure it out just from talking. I'm not sure she even has to be there. She could put the phone down and wander off and it would help just as much. Writing about it seems to do the same trick.

But my other accomplishment of the day will be my annual batch of strawberry jam. It probably wasn't the best planning ever to make jam on the day I'm hoping to finish a draft, but on Sunday I caught a sale on the berries that means all my ingredients for the entire batch that will last me nearly a year will come to about $5, and the berries might not have lasted another day. It's also a process that tends to last until late in the day because this recipe requires the jam to cook, cool, refrigerate for a couple of hours, then boil again before canning, and I'm planning to go out tomorrow evening. So, today it is. It's the kind of thing that takes all day, but most of that time is spent in the cooling process. The thing that's really labor-intensive is that it requires cleaning the kitchen before, during and after, since it takes up a lot of space and each phase makes its own kind of mess.

The jam is already cooked and cooling, so now it's time for round one of kitchen cleaning -- washing the food processor, clearing a countertop and making room in the refrigerator.

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