80,000 words on May 13. There’ve been some “blank” days on which other stuff happened, and of course lots of other stuff is happening to everybody everywhere. But NewBook is well past any concern about “Will it gel into a book?” It’s definitely going to make a book, though “But will it be a GOOD book, a publishable book?” is still up in the air. I read 70-something thousand words aloud to my first ever alpha reader (the one who read the first Paks pages way back when) because she’s having eye trouble and can’t read right now and SHE likes it and thinks it’s going to make it, but I haven’t yet shown it to my agent. And my first alpha reader is now a long way away on a secluded ranch–she’s older than I am, has an impaired immune system from cancer treatment, and seriously needs to have zero contact with a corona virus right now. So I have quite a few words flapping in the breeze with no one to talk to about them. (OK, I do have another friend who’s read some of it, but she’s also an editor/writer and busy. I want to get the main draft done before I let my agent see it.
I can’t tell you a lot about it at this point because it’s not even half-baked yet, and because when I tried sharing a previous attempt to write something I got suggestions that killed it. Until I’m more sure of myself as a writer (I was, now I’m not) suggestions–whether good, bad, or in-between–destroy my own connection to the story. And *that* has to stay uninjured…I have to feel that I’m competent enough to solve any problems the book has. Someone can tell me “this part reads slower than that” and that’s OK. But “You need to change so and so to what and what” is a killer. Equally so with “Change this character ‘s [sex, race, age, motivation, etc.]”
So what I can tell you is that a lot of it is “domestic” in the sense that it’s within the characters’ lives, but outside stuff keeps impinging on them. They’d hoped for a chance to settle, think things over, figure out this that and the other, and then head for a desired goal, but life doesn’t wait for them to relax, rest, and then start again. Parts of it are being great fun to write, which is good for my kind of writing…fun is motivating, even when you don’t know where a scene is going. (In my experience, if you don’t know where a scene is going…keep on with it, until someone else walks in. I’m beginning to “feel the beats” again, something that used to be easy, instinctive, so I feel the undercurrents moving even when something looks static on the page. (Fixable in revision.) Just seeing the words come out, and the characters generating plot, builds my confidence that I can indeed finish it and then work on another. For my own pleasure, I’ve included horses in this book again, with many thanks to the You Tube channels of Elphick Event Ponies, Life on the Left Rein, and a scattering of others I forgot to note down when I watched them, for details about a kind of riding, and horse experiences, not available in South Texas in my childhood and youth.
What else? We’re OK. Horses are OK and I now let them into the north lot (lusher grass) once a day for a few hours. At this point they come back into the south lot (far enough R- can shut the gate behind them) when called, as long as I display horse cookies. As always when a book is rolling I find it hard to find time for other things, but to avoid painful hand, back, and hips, I need to get up and move every hour. I’m not working on the book on weekends, either. Well, not much. The solar system delivered the smallest power bill we’ve ever had while using AC (not a lot, but some because it’s been hot and stuffy some days.) I’ve made cookies. I’ve eaten too many of them and gained weight (writing fast, with the hours spent at the computer, makes it easy to gain and hard to lose.) Like other older (in particular) riders, I”m not riding to avoid accidents that would put a strain on the available medical resources. Yes, I have a mask and wear it when I go anywhere.