Thursday, May 6, 2010


So, I keep thinking that I'm in the home stretch of this novel. It's coming along really well, I've got one major chunk to write and a lot of little details to expand. To that end, I'm actually going on a much-anticipated trip to Philadelphia this weekend. (To be honest, I'm taking a break from packing to write up this post.) A good friend was saintly enough to suggest that when I give into my wanderlust and finally get back to the East Coast as I've been yearning to do since December, she come along. I'm so excited! And I'll have a lot of pictures to share when I get back.

Anyway, back to the home stretch. If you're puzzled by the title of this post, let me explain now. When I was growing up, we tended to move a lot. Sure we stayed in the same state and even in the same town, but we were serial renters. I chalk it up to the fact that my Dad has always wanted us to live in California, while we obstinately stuck it out in Massachusetts, cold weather, crazy drivers, brilliant educational opportunities and all. We got so good at moving that a local news show once did a feature on our family, highlighting how we effectively move four kids from house to house.

Well, what "chowdah" (or chowder) translates as is what would "come out of the woodwork" as my Mom said. YES! We got all of Kaki's books packed! Oh, wait, we just moved the bed and found that she accidentally dropped another half-box of books down there over the last year...oh, so THAT'S where that library book went... Or my sister's art supplies. You get the idea. No matter when you think you're done, you're not. There's always the chowdah. Now that I'm nearly 30, chowdah means that when I've moved out of an apartment, I'll tote an extra bag of things like jewelry or stray pens that I thought I'd packed.

So yesterday, I was sitting in the break room at work with K. This is the same K who has known about this book since I was still working out the plotline, who refers to it by its villain rather than its working title and who has heard most of my crazy ideas. When I had pneumonia and my drugs made me have a dream about this book, she was one of the first people I told. She's invaluable, really. Even more so because I'll occasionally have a flash of inspiration and she'll say "Yeah, you told me about that several weeks ago." If you read my Dr. Who blog, she's also the friend who got me hooked on that and with whom I analyze just about everything on a weekly basis.

I'm really off on tangents tonight. Anyway, so I had just had a realization that I was stuck with some literary chowdah. I have been working up to a reveal of a certain alliance for a while now and I wrote that scene last night. It was a part that made me smirk at my own cleverness, but I then realized that, oh my gosh, I hadn't set it up well enough. In other words, the gasps of my readers would be less "OH! I get it now!" and more "Are you kidding me? I thought he stopped being important six chapters ago!" Imagine if it turned out that Dedalus Diggle from the Leaky Cauldron in HP1 turned out to be the key to bringing down Voldemort and "good old JK" hadn't mentioned him since book 4. I sighed and lamented to K that this book is going to be longer than I anticipated. In a very good McGonagall impression, she arched her eyebrows over her glasses at me and observed that this is the second time that I've said just that about the book.

It's true. I'd originally planned for 65,000 or so words. Now I'm at 58,000 and have at least 20,000 words left to go before it's sufficiently written. It's never going to be Lest Ye Be Judged, which outstripped the longest Harry Potter book by 88,000 words, but it's going to be closer to 100,000 words than I originally anticipated. Frankly, I'm a bit embarrassed because when I overstep my wordcount bounds, I feel like I'm being too presumptuous in thinking that anyone will want to read something that long. And then I feel a bit panicked that I still have that far to go.

Like I said, chowdah.

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