I was e-mailing with Krissie this morning (she’s in Vermont, I’m in NJ, we’re both buried in snow as we write books), and I thought about what life would be like without her. She’s always there for me–you would not believe all the stuff she did for me while I was in the hospital, including driving down from Vermont on about an hour’s notice)–and she’s always funny and wise and profane and sharp and she always tells me the truth, but she also tells me I’m amazing and I can do anything. All of which is to say, Krissie is crucial to my happiness, which means that friends are necessary for achieving a state of joy.
Well, friends and dogs.
You gotta have friends (there’s an earworm for you) because happiness shared is like happiness squared and cubed and wrapped around you like a warm blanket in winter (in summer it’s a cool breeze). Also, Krissie is a goddess.
Today is Homemade Bread Day. I feel certain “homemade” also includes freezer dough. Or those Panera frozen sourdough rounds. Or bakery bread you heat in your oven. Anything that smells like warm yeast as it bakes, really.
Oh, oh, you know what else is good? Banana bread. Or nut bread. Or banana nut bread. Cinnamon raisin bread. Toasted. Croissants. Cresent rolls. Crescent rolls with cheese. Crescent rolls with butter . . .
So I did one of the boring things I have to do when I get close to the end of a finished first draft: the outline. This outline is not one I follow, it’s the one that follows me. It lists all the scenes I’ve already written so I can see the plot lurches, the subplots I’ve dropped, the characters who have disappeared, the scenes I need to write yet. It’s the well-let’s-see-what-we’ve-got-here part of the process, done in Word in a table with three columns: Date and Time, Nita’s scenes, Nick’s scenes. Nick and Nita’s names are done in boldface, and then the characters I need to keep track of (Button, Max, Belia, etc.) are highlighted in different colors. It’s a nightmare, and it’s boring as all Hell (which is not that boring, I’m hoping), but it does help me see the holes in the book.
This book is the swiss cheese of narrative excessiveness.
So we’re halfway through November, (five days before the new Aaronovitch is supposed to land), and there’s a threat of snow outside, so I’m going to build a fire and lose myself in a good book, in this case, the one I’m writing. It’s still going all over the place, but I like it. That’s HUGE.
Monday I spent the day trying to get a timeline for Earth/Hell which means I did math. I happen to think math is beautiful unless I’m doing something like this with tables, trying to make two different timelines match. I think I’ve got it now, but creative it was not. Last night, I tried to figure out what kind of porn Ranger Rich would have under his bed. I decided to leave that up to the imagination of the reader since if there’s one thing I do not want to research, it’s porn. Today, I’m working on the scene where Marvella tries to burn Nita at the stake. I’m thinking that one might be a bridge too far for readers,, but what the hell, it popped up as part of the process, so I’ll give it a shot. Thank god I know how this book ends (I’ve written that scene already). And now back to trying to find all the scenes I’ve lost because I’m sloppy with the doc-naming . . .
Today is Sesame Street Day, a celebration of the kid’s show that debuted on November 10 in 1969. If you’re not singing, “Can you tell me how to get, how to get to Sesame Street” right now, you’re Oscar the Grouch. My fave? The Count, the guy I think of whenever I have to count something.
So I’ve got all of Nita blocked out, at least 80% of it written (probably more once I get all the pieces assembled) and then I looked to make sure that all the characters moved through the book, that I didn’t introduce anybody in Act One and then leave them in outer darkness for the rest of the story.
I have more than forty characters with speaking parts in this book. My usual count is seventeen. (I don’t know why it’s seventeen, it just always seems to come out to that.) That doesn’t include the people just milling about in the background, those are all speaking parts with goals and plots lines, demanding my attention.
I’m having a fraught week. Apologizing profusely for the second late post in two days. I’m reading Krissie’s next book so we can talk about it in Slack–title right now is Thirty-fourth Street Time Warp, but as I explained to her, I keep seeing Tim Curry in a corset, so I’m thinking a change might be in order–and putting together the last of Nita which has spiraled completely out of control, so AAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH.
So I took a shower, took the dogs out, hit the grocery, fed everybody, got through my e-mail which included talking with Krissie about her new book and asking one of my agents if I could postpone a conversation until Monday, talked to my new trash collection people, caught up on the election, sat down to finish reading Krissie’s WiP before starting on the last pass of the truck draft of Nita and realized I hadn’t put up a Working Wednesday post or put the groceries away. But the point is, I’m working.