You would think I would have had plenty of time to crank one of these out last week. But, no. I was actually getting some writing done while traveling on business to our office in Beaverton, OR (more about that later). Kind of nice to be able to come to a quiet hotel room and not worry about people wanting you to Drop Everything and take care of their stuff.
The writing action the last couple of weeks was centered around Pickups and Pestilence. I figured out how Chapter 8 was going to fly, and that filled in a serious gap in the story. If I were to start serializing it today, at the usual one a week, I’d have a year’s worth of episodes in the queue. I think I’m about ⅔ of the way done with it.
Even better, I now have a clear view of the endgame. Among writers on Twitter and the blogs, there’s a “plotter or pantser?” meme (we have too much fun with it to call it a controversy). After writing just over 150,000 words on the White Pickups two-fer, I’ve finally figured out how it ends. I’ve had some thoughts about it all along, even from the time when I expected White Pickups to be a 30,000-word novella instead of two large novels, but none of them ever felt quite right. This is definitely pantsing, i.e. writing by the seat of my pants. The thing is, it actually works for me. Of course, what’s really happening is that I’m taking dictation from the voices in my head. Naturally, the changes reverberated all the way back to Chapter 1 of White Pickups. Funny thing was, several things I put at the end of the first book are tied to the ending of the second. Maybe the voices in my head knew all along and gave it to me piecemeal.
My next large project, tentatively called Wings, is going to be largely plotted. In fact, much of the plotting is done already. I did that as a compromise — it wanted some attention, and I’m trying to stay focused on finishing a large commitment as described above, so I threw down as many details as I could into a mindmap (you may remember this wibble from July). I did it so I won’t forget important details when it actually comes time to start writing, rather than any serious conversion to plotting (I think a plot is like a battle plan: neither of them survives very long once they’re actually used).
Maybe some of you are still stuck on the “year’s worth of episodes” thing three paragraphs back, thinking Hey FARf, if you’ve got that much done why aren’t you posting them already? Well, I’ve been thinking about that ever since I got back from Oregon. Here’s what’s going to happen: I’m going to get White Pickups released, I hope some time next month. When I hit some arbitrary sales figure (50? 100? don’t know yet), I’ll start posting episodes. I’m hoping to complete the first draft of Pickups and Pestilence by the end of the year, and have it ready for release in the spring, so it should be available long before the last episode goes up on the blog. (You see where I’m going with this?) If you don’t want to wait to see how it ends, you’ll be able to get the eBook.
Yes, I’m pantsing this whole marketing and promotion thing too.
For my #FridayFlash this week, I’m going to try really hard to do something with Icy Sedgwick’s prompt: “write a story about a pirate captain, a fictional Londe bus route, and a kidnapped bear cub.” I’m going to assume “Londe bus” means “London bus,” since that’s what Google thought it meant.