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Lincoln, NE
April 26-28

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Progress Report, in which I tread a fine line

Notched another 5100 words on Petra Released last week, bringing Magic Meter to here:

Looks like I’m finished, but nope.  Not quite.  The climax is passed; all that’s left is the denouement.

And even here, this late in the game, when I’m usually rushing to the end, even here, this novel is giving me fits.  The damned thing has kicked and screamed almost the entire way.  Just working out the blocking for the climactic confrontation took me half an afternoon.  I wound up modifying it a little from what I had been planning to do.  This pleased me, because it’s a little bit more surprising, and it ties together three separate plot threads a bit more neatly.

Not everything is sunshine and roses, though.  As I’m wrapping this novel up, I realize that I’m not at all happy with the resolution of a separate subplot.  Not.  At.  All.  I thought I had it all figured out, but now I see a fairly serious hole in it.  Fixing it will have to wait until the rewrite.  I don’t like leaving it in this shape; it feels like cheating.  But it’s a rough draft, and I still owe a few more pages, and at this point, I just want to get across the finish line.

I didn’t have these problems with Petra.  But then, Petra was a simpler, more straightforward novel.  This one, just by its nature, was bound to be more difficult.  I’m growing as a writer.  I’m stretching.  That’s what I tell myself, anyway.

Or maybe I’ve simply failed.  Who can say?  There’s a fine line between soaring like the eagle and falling flat on your face.

Whatever.  Another couple of days or so, and I’ll have a draft.

No updates for Write Club.

Bed now.

4 Responses to “Progress Report, in which I tread a fine line”

  • klingonguy says:

    Having a completed draft is key. Yay, you! Go, go, go!

  • kannibal_kat says:

    Go, Matt, go!

    Say, there’s something I’ve been wondering about for a while now. I know many writers who, at the beginning of writing a novel, have a word count goal to shoot for. Scary thing is, many achieve that goal and are off by only a few words. When I start, I have no idea how long anything is going to be. How do you do it?!?

    • admin says:


      Tell you the truth, I got lucky on the word count for this novel and the last one. I’m usually crap at estimating. Usually, my guesses fall far short of the actual length.

      I picked 80K as the word count for Petra primarily because I knew the action of the story would cover only a few days–three, to be exact. I didn’t think there was much chance of creating a 160K doorstop out of that. 🙂

      When it came time to do Petra Released, my figuring went like this: I started with the 80K of Petra, but factored in a longer span of time (weeks instead of days) and a total of five viewpoint characters (as opposed to four for Petra). I guessed that might be worth another 20K or so. And again, I got lucky. I’m not convinced yet that I’ve actually gotten better at this.

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