Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Sick Day, Chapter Twenty-Three

Last night after work I felt awful, and I felt increasingly awful as the night progressed. Mighty Reader made tea and toast for me and we watched the Olympics a bit and then called it a night. This morning I knew I'd never make it through my work day so I called in sick and went back to bed, dragging myself up and about the house around 11:00 AM. Some tea, some croissant, a bit of restorative chocolate and then I made myself comfortable on the chaise lounge we keep in the Designated Writing Room, had another cup of tea and a bit more chocolate, and then I wrote for several hours and have finished the penultimate chapter of "Cocke & Bull." That's right, just one more chapter to write, and the first draft will be finished. If I can get it done by midnight on Sunday, I will have brought this thing home an entire month ahead of schedule. That makes me a badass. No, it does. A middle-aged badass with poor posture and a receding hairline, but a badass nonetheless. So there.

I've written the first sentence of the final chapter, because it's been my method throughout this draft to never leave off at a chapter break. It's a good first sentence (The news reached Edwin Hammond early the next morning, as he was having breakfast.) and although I was in a bit of a panic for a few minutes about how exactly I was going to actually end the book--what the structure and contents of this last chapter were even though I knew how the story itself ends--I wisely had a look at the outline I wrote way back on October 1st of last year and by God, it's a damned fine outline because the few scribbled lines regarding this chapter have given me exactly the guidance I needed and I know how to go forward and finish the book. So, Win. I am learning to place trust in my initial inspiration, to have faith that at one point I could see the entire story with a clarity that gets lost during actual writing, and I should just believe what I told myself I needed to write and write it. Which I've done, and I'm pretty pleased with it. My only fear, of course, is that I'll get hit by a bus or something before I can write the last chapter. But I won't be plowing ahead right now and writing it, because I am exhausted and it's getting to be later than I thought it was and this is, after all, a sick day so why am I not on the couch under my blanket with a cuppa and a cat and the Olympics on TV?

wordcountometer = 68,289!

Yes, that's a few thousand words lower than I wanted at this point, but I figure that as long as the first draft comes in over 70K, I'm in good shape. I am positive that the final chapter will be at least 2,000 words. It feels like it's going to be closer to 3K. We'll see when we get there. I also have a few places in the first two chapters that I know need to be expanded a bit, which I may well do before I even finish the last chapter. I know: too much concern abuot word count, especially just for a first draft.

9 comments:

  1. Congratulations Mr. Badass G.F. Bailey! Hope you get to feeling better soon and watch out for any stray busses.

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  2. Hey, here's the first sentence of my last chapter!: The news spreads through whispers over the temple grounds.

    We're like chapter twins. Or at least chapter second cousins!

    Congratulations, Mr. Bailey! Go, go, go!

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  3. Well, at least the sick day was good for something productive! I hope you're feeling better.

    .......dhole

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  4. Congrats on being so close to the end of the draft.

    I hope you feel better soon.

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  5. Watch your posture! Bad posture will only lead to back pain. Trust me, I'm going through physical therapy for it right now.

    BTW, a friend of mine has a blog where he graphs everything, from his commute times to the number of commercials on TV. Your last post reminded me of his blog. I think you two would get along :-)

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  6. I hope you're feeling better. I love what you wrote about your outline and how at one point you could see the entire story with clarity. I feel that way when I first get ideas. I need to outline them!

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  7. Hope you're feeling better today, Scott.

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  8. Scott, I'm so sorry to hear that you are sick! But it sounds like you're keeping your spirits up, at least. :)

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  9. Anne: I am being careful around buses, but I am still under the weather, darn it.

    Davin: We're like chapter twins! I am dying to find out what news spreads through the temple. I have an idea, but still. One has an interest in seeing a recent draft, you know.

    Donna: I had another sick day yesterday, which was spent pretty much asleep. What a waste of prime writing time!

    Dominique: Thanks! I hope to finish the draft this weekend. I am very, very close.

    Livia: I've always had bad posture, but the last few years I've become aware of it and I try to sit straight nowadays. Your friend's blog is cool! Though he might be mad, you know. Just saying.

    Annie: Thanks! We have to work hard to hold onto our original vision, don't we? I think my outlining is really a process of writing out that vision more than a real organizing strategy.

    Davin & Michelle: Thanks! And thanks to Big D for covering my shift on the Lit Lab today. I owe you, chapter twin!

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