Still not done, but closer. I was having trouble working out what would happen in the climactic showdown, then late yesterday had the burst of inspiration that I needed to look at it from the villain's perspective. The villain won't be a viewpoint character, but the other characters are reacting to what she does, so I needed to shut them out and think about it through her eyes. I was surprised by how much insight that gave me into the things she'd be saying and doing and the way she'd be reacting to things. It's already given the scene a lot of oomph. Maybe if I'm really good today, I'll finish. I've hit 400 manuscript pages (in the format I use for first drafts -- it will shrink with the font I use for editing), but I have no idea how much longer it will go.
When I get really caught up in a book like this, I tend to have odd dreams that are incredibly vivid and that I remember in great detail. The night before last, I dreamed that I was nominated for an Oscar for best supporting actress, and I was excited about this because I could put "Academy Award Nominee" on my book covers, the way you'd put "New York Times Bestseller." But I was surprised that no one seemed to have noticed, so I told a few friends. Then I got paranoid that no one had heard about it, so I went to verify it. I could no longer find the newspaper where I'd seen my name on the list, and when I looked online, my name wasn't there, though there were suspicious blanks like something had been removed. And then I realized that the nomination had just been a vivid dream, and I was embarrassed about having to tell my friends that it wasn't real. I was very relieved to wake up for real and realize that I had not been going around telling my friends I was an Oscar nominee after having dreamt it.
I suspect this dream was triggered by my irritation about seeing announcements about WorldCon panelists when I still haven't heard anything. They're listing writers I've never heard of, so I started looking them up, since the fact that I haven't heard of them doesn't mean they don't have stronger credentials than I do. One boasted on his web site that he'd sold more than 20,000 words. So, yeah, it looks like I'm being passed over. I'm seriously considering skipping it this year because of the drama (so much drama) going on with the politics of it all and the fact that there are no direct flights from DFW, so it will be an all-day trip to get there and get home. If I'm not even on programming, there's not much point to making that trip. So my ego is feeling rather bruised while at the same time the "maybe they're right and I'm not a real writer" insecurities are flaring. And thus the nightmare about dreaming about success I didn't really have.
Last night, I dreamed a serious conversation with a friend from college in which he didn't believe my assertion that fairy tales were actually a form of secret underground journalism. At first I couldn't remember where I learned this, but then recalled that it was in my journalism history class (it wasn't). According to the class in my dream, this was a way of spreading information in an autocratic society in which the rulers tried to withhold information from the people. People knew that the various common archetypes in the stories actually represented certain real people, and they seemed to just be telling fantasy stories to children that spread by word of mouth, while really they were spreading the news of what was really going on that their rulers weren't telling them -- all wicked stepmothers represented a particular person, all the lucky third-born sons represented a person, and so on, and each of the stories involving these characters was actually a news story about a real event.
And I am totally going to use that in a book. After I finish this one.