So, I note that it’s been 24 days since I posted Chapter 5 up here. 24 days since I set out on Chapter 6, which still isn’t finished.
It was about then–24 days ago–that I started to project outward and realized that this novel I’m working on (yes, I finally said it) was not the first of two books, but the first of three. Chapter 4 had grown all out of reasonable proportion, cramming way too many events into what turned out to be way too many words, which ultimately led to my splitting it into two distinct chapters, each of them still of an almost-too-long length. And then Chapter 5 followed, which ended up with a rather prominent wordcount, despite the brevity of the actual events that happened within.
And as I took a look at what I’d done, and what that might mean for the work as a whole, I realized that under my original plans, I was looking at a novel coming in somewhere between 120,000 and 150,000 words, which is way too fucking long for a first novel.
(First published novel, I should say. I’ve danced this dance once before already, which is one of the few things allowing me to think I might actually see this thing through to the end this time.)
So, I decided to restructure my plans, aiming for 18 chapters rather than 30, and a nice round target of 90,000 or so words for the first book.
Then Chapter 6 came along. In 24 days, I’ve written nearly 12,000 words. And, to this point, barely 2000 of those will actually find their way into the final first draft of the chapter. It’s been some of the hardest writing I’ve ever done, digging and digging through fucking bedrock to find the true path. And the work isn’t done yet. But soon, dammit, soon it will get where it needs to go.
So, apologies…no new chapter tonight. And I’m not sure when it will be done. You’ll be the first to know, or at least first after I know myself. In the meantime, I leave you with something that inspires me, and keeps me grounded during both the worst and best of times…it might be one of the most important lessons I’ve ever learned, something that keeps me warm on cold nights and able to breath in the darkest of hours.
So the hell with it. Chapter 6 is awesome, finished or not. And so am I. And so is Captain James Tiberius Kirk.