120K of Not Much

Well, The Awakening, the sequel to To Sleep, reached 120K today. And while there are a lot of good scenes and a lot of good words, the connection between them all are thin tendrils of ‘kinda sorta’ and ‘where was I going with this?’. I really like this book but it there’s not an underlying continuing purpose underneath it. I guess the theme is flawed maybe or the plot itself.

I kept writing, thinking maybe perhaps it would come together and some point and I’d know what it was that was missing. But it never has. And when I realized I’d hit 120K (120449, to be exact), I finally admitted there was a problem. So I gave up on saying the end in its current format. I was tempted to just keep going, hoping maybe I’d find it, but there reaches a point (like, 120K words) when it’s time to do something.

So, I did a ‘save as…’ on the original file ‘the awakening 1’ then did it again to save as it’s original file name. That way the original mass of words is saved for posterity. And now I edit before I even finished. I’m going to read it and tame the tangents I kept going off on. I already know several plot lines are going to be cut because, frankly, I was wincing as I wrote them. But I followed along, hoping it would lead somewhere.

I considered setting it aside for a while, letting it settle, but I don’t want to lose the MCs voice. This is why I jumped into it even before To Sleep had sold. Written in first person, it is very very important to maintain the same voice of the character.

It is times like this that I admire (and hero worship) those writers who outline first. While it is not my style, I wish it were.

Writing Organically

Also known as no outline aka going with the flow aka what the heckaroni am I doing?

I am over 86K words into the sequel to To Sleep. And I have no clue where it is going. Usually I know by now. There’s this goal in the distance, I can kinda see it, so I plod along until the clouds clear and there it is. But not with this book. I like the book. I like the beginning. Then somewhere around, oh, 40K, I just start rambling with no real direction.

That means I edit drastically when done. But that’s the price one pays for organic goods. Organic vegetables and fruit are always so ugly, aren’t they? Yet they taste better and are better for you. Thusly, so are my books. (No, don’t eat it!)

Anyway, there’s a general direction the book (tentatively called The Awakening) is going but I’m not at all sure where it will take me. I realized a major plot hole tonight and am thinking my way around it. I may just leave a big {FIX THIS!!} and move on. Perhaps if I discover the end, I’ll know the rest. Right? Maybe?

I think the problem is the details of what the characters are doing. I feel the need to explain every meeting they are having but that makes yet more details I have to keep track of. Then there’s the Humans. They are following along so easily.

Meanwhile, I think I have a character who is trying to get my attention. I’ve never had that happen before. I keep seeing Harri from Butch Girls. She’s in a corner of my brain, tapping her booted foot, arms crossed, wearing a blue muscle tee, well worn blue jeans, short buzz cut hair covered by a denim baseball cap. And she’s scowling. I created this chick so why is she scowling at me? I am considering setting The Awakening aside and drift back to Harri’s book. Harri kinda scares me a little. Not sure I want her loose in my head without supervision.

Current Project

I am working on the sequel to To Sleep which is called The Awakening. The main document is almost 44K but the second document where I tried out a plot line, is 14.5K. Doing the maths means it is about 58K, more than halfway to the goal. I like the direction the plot line is going so I’m going back over the main one to fit it in at some point.

The good news is it is going well. Very well. The even gooder news is this book will have sex scenes in it. To Sleep had none because it wasn’t needed. But this book will need it because it is part of the plot line. The book starts about two years after To Sleep ends. It will still be in first person. I considered using another person for it but I kinda got attached to Karen. She has such a sarcastic mind, it was fun to write using it.

I’ll be introducing some new characters. Some are cool, like Denise and Cass who I made main characters (MCs). Others I thought would be more MCs but I didn’t like them that much.

She leaned into me and hugged my side. “You made the right decision, you know.”

“Did I? I gave her an ultimatum, one or the other I said.”

“And she chose the path she was the most comfortable with.”

“Or less frightened by.”

“Same thing. Stop worrying about it or you’ll get an ulcer.”

No, I wouldn’t. The nanites would take care of it at my yearly checkup. “You know we advanced Denise’s genetics, right?”

“Yes, and she’s still working through her new skills.”

“You can do the same thing. We’ll be offering it to all the descendants.”

“Become one of you? With telepathy and stuff?”

I almost told her she had to, else in fifty years I would lose her to old age while I never aged a bit. But that was for later, after she made her decision. “With telepathy and stuff.”

“And orgies?”

I had to laugh. “And orgies, if that’s what you want.”

(…)

After we had put them on, I hugged her close. “This is going to feel funny. It kinda tickles sometimes.” I then pictured the beach front property in New Zealand we had bought. I pictured the little cottage and the stone patio. Then we were there.

“What the hell?” She looked around in awe. It had been fall in Pennsylvania but it was spring here. The air was a little nippy but not too bad.

“You are in New Zealand.” I held her hand and we walked toward the water.

“How did we…without a teleport pad?”

“One of my skills is teleportation.”

She briefly looked like she was going to run screaming into the morning sunrise. Then she slowly smiled. “That’s a cool skill.”

“Frankie’s a little better at it.”

“You always do that. Say that someone is better. But I know, just from listening in, that you are the best in every skill you have.”

“Not electrokinesis. Julie’s by far better than me.” We sat on a bench near the water’s edge. “And certainly not empathy.”

“And I disagree. I think you purposely don’t train or exercise or whatever you do to make a skill stronger. I think you do it on purpose so that they are stronger than you are.”

“Your skill will be lie detection.”

She laughed then stopped. “Please tell me that’s not one of them.”

Organization

If anyone knows me, they will know I am not organized. I’m a complete mess. I am kinda a hoarder, too. I keep everything with full intentions of filing it. Someday. I have old computers that I kept for parts and to ‘some day’ build one for my ham shack. And speaking of ham shack, all of my ham stuff is unused, on a shelf, waiting for ‘some day’ to come along and me set up a space for my ham stuff.

Sometimes, my disorganization bites me in the butt. Like the reason for this post. I cannot find my contract I signed with RCE way back in 2006. I can’t find any of my RCE stuff prior to mid 2010. Where the hell did I put all of it? All of my royalty statements and receipts are missing.

Our dryer goes unfixed because I cannot find the receipt to prove we have a warranty. A dead car is in our driveway because I can’t find the title so we can donate it to some charity.

I am a digital hoarder as well. My WIP file (that’s Works In Progress) is huge. I save every version, even if I it is basically identical to another I also have.

I am really, really into writing right now. But I can’t because I really gotta clean house. I have a shredder. And I have three boxes of “Stuff to be Shredded”. I bet when I finally get around to it, I’ll have three boxes of shreds. Mulch, yes, but I then have to remember to use it. We don’t have closets and have very little shelving. So a ‘place for everything and everything in its place’ doesn’t work since not much as a place to be placed in. On. Whatever.

It is like last night. I went to the kitchen to get a drink. On my way, I saw the laundry basket in the Cat Room (room between rest of house and the kitchen) that needed to go back to the bedroom. So I did. Along the way, I realized it had gotten dark and I ought to turn on the hall light. Then I remembered I needed to turn on the kitchen light, too. Which reminded me of my drink. So back to the kitchen I went. As soon as I got there, I realized I was hungry so I made a sandwich and left the room. Partway through the Cat Room on my way to the Rose Room (office), I remembered the light so I went back to turn it on. Then I realized I didn’t have a plate for my sandwich so I turned around and went back to the Cat Room to get it. I am almost back to the office when I remembered my drink so I went back to the kitchen. I got the drink but stumbled over stuff in the Cat Room because, you guessed it, I’d still not turned on the light.

Meanwhile, Mike had been following me. At some point, he just sat down in the Cat Room to watch me go back and forth. Sometimes I wish I knew what was in their heads but at that moment, I was glad I did not.

Getting Larger

So I am still editing To Sleep. Using the advice from the beta reader and Lorna, I’m making some changes and fine tuning.

And it is getting larger. It is now 107,922 words. I added in a scene which got bigger than I intended. I cut a lot (nearly 20K) then put one scene back and added another. Sigh.

But, I love this story. Not as much as I love poor Simple Sarah but close. The good thing is I am not freakishly attached and am looking forward to setting it free and submitting it to RCE. Yeah. I can do this.

My bro and his family will be here on the 28th. I want to submit this before then. I am fairly certain I will make it. I am on page 374 of 419 and steadily moving forward.

Teasers below. Some were cut completely, others were left in.

Mona touched my arm to get my attention. “I need to return to the Pod’s Infirmary. Do you wish to return with me or shall I leave you in their capable custody?”

“Stay with us, Karen. It is time for us to eat and probably you, too, if Mona’s kept your schedule going.” Tora said.

“If you truly do not mind…”

“Not at all!” Chloe pulled on the hem of my shirt toward an empty table. “I’m starving! I’ve just been polite but I was beginning to wonder if you would taste better fried or baked.”

I did more math in my head and realized that if all of the Firsts and Seconds were present, there would be eighteen thousand women in this room. I looked behind me and could believe that. Over half of them were on their feet and the rest were starting to stand as well. I wondered if they would do riot control now or just let it burn out. My question was answered when the First Mother left the podium and sat back down. No one else stood to take her place. She sat, hand folded in her lap, and stared toward the back of the room.

I had an urge. A strong urge. I didn’t know where it came from because I was not a public speaker at all. I hated talking to groups. Yet, I had the urge to get up and go stand at the podium and tell everyone to shut the fuck up. As I stood, Julie did as well. She took my hand and we stepped out of the aisle and walked toward the front. No one stopped us. As we walked, I stared at the First Mother, daring her to look me in the eye and deny she was influencing me. But as strong as the urge was, I knew I was fully capable of going back to my seat. I knew I could do it yet I chose to follow it through.

We reached the stage and climbed the steps together. I felt her damp palm in mine and I held onto it tightly. We got to the podium and stood there, looking out over the multitude of women. I let go of Julie’s hand and she took one step back.

“Shut. The. Fuck. Up.”

That’s all I said. The sound system was marvelous because my words echoed throughout the room and the shock of them did what I wanted. They shut up.

(….)

“We all have questions. We all want those questions answered. We will not get those answers by shouting them all out at once. I am sure there exists a way to ask in a safe, sane, and consensual manner.” That got some laughter. “We are lesbians. We organize Uhaul trucks better than a professional mover. Surely to shit we can organize ourselves and get our jobs done. Those four billion people will need to be woken up somehow. We have been given the task to come up with a list of ways to do that. They respected us enough that THE leader of their entire people is here. Now let’s return that respect and let her take the podium again.”

I turned then and looked her in the eye. All I felt from her was shock. I realized it wasn’t her that had gave me the compulsion to say my piece. I bowed deeply and stepped aside. Julie again grasped my hand and we stood there, waiting for the First Mother to stand. She didn’t. Instead, the Malon next to her did. She addressed the crowd.

Synopsis

I dislike synopsis. Synopsi? Anyway, I hate writing those things. I spent most of the day working on one for my novel To Sleep. It was too wordy, too relaxed, too….something. Then someone over at Lesbian Fiction Forum said to check to see what the publisher requires as some state the length. Whoo Hoo! RCE doesn’t require one! Happy dance.

I’ll still do one, I just won’t make it all pretty. I will submit a brief ‘plot summary’ however. A synopsis is quite useful before and after writing a book. It helps you to see any plot gaps or problems. For one, there’s a lot going on in this novel. Not quite too much, but close. The idea is to not overwhelm the reader but also not put them to sleep. It’s a delicate dance especially with science fiction.

When I have something finalized, I’ll let y’all know. My goal is to have the novel submitted by the end of this month. But I’ve got a toothache and came home from Minneapolis with a stomach bug. Yay. But I am working on it. I am editing and using the beta reader’s input as I go.

It’s Off!

My novel, To Sleep, is off to the two beta readers! May their eyes not bug out and may their brains not turn to mush.

After the editing, chapter adjustments, and putting back in a scene, the word count is 99,116. The ‘cuts’ document is 17,745 words.

I really like this novel. But, like I just told the beta readers in their email, I don’t want this one to languish in perpetual re-write like poor Simple Sarah.

Now, to work on a synopsis. I hate those things.