Yesterday, I wrote 1,428 words on the final chapter of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. A pivotal, culminative scene I could not have written (well) had I not gone to the Blackstone River in the snow on Sunday. But I did go, and so I did write the scene to the best of my ability. And I find that, as I expected, this is essentially a novel without climax. There are revelations strewn here and there, but nothing actually ever coalesces into a climax. It's a novel that begins here and stops there, when Imp believes she's done the best job she'll ever do of telling her "ghost story."
As it stands, the manuscript is 96,158 words long. My contract specifies a novel 100,000 words long. Setting aside for the moment that no one should ever tell an author how long or short a novel has to be, I emailed my editor a week back and told her it might go to 120,000. She asked if I could please keep it to 110,000-115,0000. I did some math, juggled scenes, and replied that I might be able to keep it to 110,000, which made her very happy. So, assuming I can do that, I have about 13,842 words left to go until the more or less arbitrary THE END. I've been writing, on average, 1,200-1,500 words a day, which means I'll likely finish sometime between Friday the 11th and Sunday the 13th. Hardly any time left to go, on a novel that I've been working on. in one way or another, since August 2009.
Also, we proofed "Postcards from the King of Tides" for Two Worlds and In Between. It's a story that still works for me, despite having been written in 1997. I don't think that I'd ever seen how much influence "The Shadow Over Innsmouth" had on the story until yesterday.
For dinner, there was spicy beef shawarma and baba ghannoush.
Last night, we finished Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games. Gods, this is a brilliant book. I mean fucking brilliant. Horrifying and sorrowful and poignant and beautiful and strong. Katniss is one of my new favorite literary figures. I'm not going to gush on and on, or risk spoilers, but I will say I was especially impressed at how Collins deftly managed to put us in the mind of someone living in a totalitarian world. There are so many times Katniss Everdeen might have stopped and given the gamemakers or the Capital the middle finger. But she doesn't, even though that's what they do in Big Hollywood movies, because she understands the dire consequences it would have for her and, more importantly, for her family and District 12. She only knows, at this stage, how corrupt and loathsome the world is, and that it may destroy everything it touches. This is how evil men stay in power. And it's impossible not to read this novel and see the Capitol of Panem as the US, and each of the twelve districts (thirteen was obliterated in the late civil war) as all those countries where people live in squalor so that Americans may enjoy an obscenely high standard of living.
Gaming consumed far too much of my night. First, Spooky let me use her laptop long enough the level Selwyn to 16. I love the world of Rift so, so much. I love that it awes me, and takes my breath, and frightens me, and that I walk through Meridian and so many people are in character, roleplaying, and so few have inappropriate names (for now, the name police thing is working).
Meanwhile, in that other game, the candy-colored one, Shaharrazad is still grinding away at Loremaster. I've now done 105 out of the 120 Netherstorm quests.
Okay, I slept far too late, and now it's time to make the doughnuts. Go to bed at 5 ayem, get up at noon thirty, you must make concessions.