I really thought I would have this book done by now.
The problem is, I went into it half-blind. Usually, I don’t even start typing notes unless I know two things: how a book starts and where it ends. No matter how clear the middle bits appear to me, if I don’t have that first and last chapter solidly in mind, I don’t get involved. But this book…ugh. I needed something hard and fast for the table at the RT Convention that we never actually got, so I broke my rule and started before I had an ending. How fortunate it is that we never got that stupid table, because my quick and easy 45k word novella has climbed to 117k and I ain’t there yet. I honestly don’t know where it’s going, even though I know I’m in the last chapter. I can feel the end, but I can’t see it, like a tornado right before the funnel drops.
Other than that, I’ve been very productive. Moving is never quick or fun, but it’s going along. Today, I got most of my skulls unpacked and assembled one of those cubby shelf thingies for my massive hat collection. I also assembled the last of six bookshelves for our library and got 14 boxes of books unpacked and in an approximation of order. Still don’t have A/C in my room, because the idiots who owned the house before us disconnected the air ducts on this end of the house and ran cable wires through them. Why? I have no idea. Neither does the duct guy, who says it’s the dumbest thing he’s ever seen in all his years. Especially since the cable wires aren’t connected to anything either. They’re just sitting there, disconnected at both ends and snaking through a third of the house, which is now at a balmy 92 degrees and humid as Swamp Thing’s jockstrap after a particularly aggressive football game.
Assembling and unpacking things has been my daily routine for a month now and that stack of boxes in the basement doesn’t appear to be getting any smaller, like the ending of my book, which I type on every day and yet gets no nearer. Yet, I keep grinding away at it. Here’s a little snippet from the scene I wrote today (subject to changes during the inevitable editing phase), just so you know I really am doing something out here:
* * *
Ahead of them, the road had been blocked with a tall wall, long since knocked in. At regular intervals, signs had been posted, most of them too faded and riddled with bullets to be legible. The rest said things like ROAD CLOSED AHEAD and CONTAMINATED AREA BEYOND THIS POINT, along with pictures of skulls and swooning stickmen and other ominous symbols whose exact meanings were now lost but which still conveyed an undeniable sense of threat. Over the years, graffiti had covered over most of these notices in layer upon layer of apocalyptic murals depicting Azrael and Eaters and demons riding skeletal horses; quasi-religious gibberish spewing angry and fearful rhetoric about broken seals and eating the body of Christ; social commentary that was either meant to be ironic or was just badly spelled, like U can sleep when your DEAD or The End is Nigel. Crowning these madhouse musings, in thick black letters stretching across the full width of the road—all six lanes—someone had written, WHAT HAPPENED. Someone else had painted a T over the W, which Lan thought so perfect an answer that it was a very long time before she noticed Aristides had stopped the van to confer with Serafina.
* * *
The Land of the Beautiful Dead, coming soon, I swear to God.