[writing] Progris riport, day 20 and day the last, The Heart of the Beast

1,800 words over an hour and half, to finish about 102,000 words on The Heart of the Beast. 79 hours on the project as a whole.

I’m surprised, I’d expected another 4,000 words or so in the ending. This almost certainly means I rushed it, a very consistent flaw of mine linked at least in part to the kind of binge writing I did these past few days. Well, that’s what revisions are for. And I’m going to let Jeff deal with the issue — I’ll keep this around a few days, let a couple of trusted readers go over it for major issues I may want to flag or address, then it’s off to Jeff for revisions as he sees fit.

Part of our deal on this project is that whoever has the manuscript has unlimited control. So while I worked heavily from Jeff’s outline and existing material, I altered freely, rearranging some of the character relationships, remaking entire sections of plot and backstory and so forth. I’ve left a lot of notes embedded in the text for him to consider, but he’s just as free to attack it ab initio in whatever manner he sees fit.

A few statistics:

Hours spent reading material and backstory: 10
Hours spent writing/revision/drafting: 69
Word count read/revised: 51,900
Word count drafted fresh: 50,100
Elapsed days: 20 (continuous effort)

A few observations:

The process of working from this outline has significantly altered my view of how outlines should be used as writing tools.
The POV work in this book has broken loose some of the self-imposed strictures with which I have approached POV in long form work.
Both of these have been very liberating lessons for me.

More commentary to come, as time and my introspection permit.

The last WIP:

The day grew, unfolding like those desert flowers which must grow so fast that an observant man might watch their increase with his unaided eye, rising to meet the faint walking rain before all passes into austere, searing aridity for another season. Spring, having just arrived, is already broken on the altar of summer; for heat is the natural state of the desert.

Just as the desert-ocean labors under its burden of endless sunlight, so the oceanic desert bends beneath the same bright pressure. When the heat is higher in Black, even the birds in their flocks will fall from the sky, so fatigued from the temperatures that they perish as they plunge.

This morning, the dawn after the last night of the glassblowers’ festival, is only a harbinger of those killing days to come. Still, it stirs like air from one of the kilns, a baking inevitably striding in from distant sands and gravel pans to squat upon Black like a beggar shitting over a hole in the street. Even the breezes give up for a while, leaving only their burdens of scent and the year’s first sharp sweat. The recent snow is not even a memory now, just a child’s fantasy wrapped in the coolest basement shadows.