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.


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

  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!

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


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

    I hope you feel better soon.

  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 :-)

  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!

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

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

  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!