Who has two thumbs and wrote 100,000 words of a fantasy romance this year? *points my two thumbs at my fantasy romance writin’ chest* The most recent chunk of words brought us to the final new location, paid off all my references to the Assassin Witness Protection Program, sprung There’s Only One Bed But We’re Not Having Sex Even If I See You Naked A Little, put us face to face at last with the oft-mentioned traitorous mentor, and introduced the heroine of the next book, who is plot-essential and not merely sequel bait. I even found time to noodle with her plot a little in order to keep her characterization during this appearance reasonably consistent with what it will be in her own book.
Most people with whom I have online contact are scaling back their December holiday obligations this year for obvious reasons, so I’m seeing much less stress attributable to those obligations. I have, however, noted an uptick in random snits of sufficient severity to make me reconsider several relationships. Whenever it seems like everybody is being a jerk, I step back and evaluate how much of it is me being more of a jerk than usual. December holiday season is always stressful for me, despite not participating in 99% of it. (The stress, in my case, mostly comes from presumptions of participation against my will.) I realized that if I can be stressed at this time every year without doing most of the things that stress other people out, they can also be stressed out in the absence of those things! So if everybody (including yourself) seems extra irritable and/or irritating right now, consider postponing any irrevocable responses until after New Year’s, when the tension level traditionally drops. I think “get back to normal” can safely be stricken from the lexicon at this point, but “be somewhat less of a butt” is a reasonable aspiration for everyone come January.
I started off so strong with that November 5 milestone, I truly believed I’d have another 10K by November 20. Naturally, I immediately hit another roadblock. One day, the only words added were “I DON’T KNOW HOW TO TURN THIS CONVERSATION TO THE DEAD.” Unlike my chronic problem with transitions between physical locations, I can’t hit Enter a couple of times and resume with “Eventually, the conversation turned to all those dead bodies readers haven’t been thinking about at all.” The solution as it currently stands is clumsy, but it did get me past the obstruction and up to 80,000 words.
I don’t know where 70,000 words will ultimately fall in terms of final word count, but it’s “spiritually” in the midpoint sequence. There’s a difficult-to-survive battle in the arc of escalating physical conflicts that will culminate in the final boss fight, where Heroine will have to use every skill displayed in these smaller skirmishes (and skills she hasn’t wanted to use). In the romance department, the unbelievable truth comes out, and without the big lie between them, they can now have sex without the consent problems associated with false identity. This is the tipping point—less trying to figure out what’s going on, more direct action to solve the problem as they understand it after all that trying to figure out what’s going on. They’re still missing a couple of puzzle pieces they’ll eventually need, but those will shake loose as a result of acting upon what they already know, hopefully in the form of unpleasant surprises.
The award-winning-based-on-the-first-twenty-pages fantasy romance has crossed the 60,000-word line. I was feeling fairly productive until I got to another “they need to get from Point A to Point B” scene and came to a screeching halt for a week. I’m frequently derailed by that type of scene, and it usually turns out in revision that the story is better served by a scene break and “When they arrived at Point B…,” but all that “show your work” garbage from elementary school did lasting damage to my brain that no amount of writing experience can repair.