I’ve got to start this week off with a story because it’s just truly unbelievable, and I’m lucky to be able to write this right now. I have two cats, whom I’ve talked about often enough on here that I think everyone knows that. Lily is super chill about most things. She loves to be pet, has a sweet tooth, and mostly doesn’t care about what anyone’s up to. Grace, however, is very high strung. She loves to snuggle, and she’s constantly following me around, but she’s also a demon in disguise. On the outside, Grace just looks like a fat, lazy cat who lounges in the sun and screams at me for attention. On the inside, she’s roiling with hatred and monstrous possibilities.
Enter the cat that wanders our neighborhood, well kept enough that I’m assuming it’s someone’s house cat that they let outdoors. Grace despises it. I always joke that I’m not sure who would survive a battle between them if I let Grace outside–that is, if Grace could actually get over the fact that her dainty paws and fluffy self was actually outside. Anyway, Grace normally tries to launch herself straight through the window whenever this cat comes around and yowls at her. And despite the fact that she puffs up to about three times her size, is hissing and spitting like mad, and making these absolutely horrifying noises, Grace is really just a big ole ball of nonsense, so I can pick her up when she’s like this no problem, look her dead in the eye, and condescendingly call her a tough kitty. No harm, no foul, usually. Until last Friday.
While sitting in the living room, I heard Grace hit the window screen in the dining room, her demon meows start, and something that sounded like shattered glass. Afterward, we discovered that she knocked over a jar of sea glass, so she was never in danger, but it sounded like she’d broken something and was now trying to fight to the death while in a puddle of broken glass. I ran for her, intending to do my same routine of scoop her out of the window screen (she gets her claws stuck pretty bad when she’s angry) and slam it shut so she couldn’t hear the cat anymore. What I didn’t think about was the fact that I usually approach her from the side or dead on so she can see me.
I reached around from behind her to get her claws out of the screen and to pick her up because I still thought she was standing in broken glass, and she bit my thumb. I didn’t realize at the time just quite how bad it was because I was so focused on getting her to safety. I had to hold her on the floor while my mom closed the windows, and it wasn’t until a few minutes later, when I let her go and stood up that I realized just how bad she’d gotten me. Obviously, it’s 100% my fault because she was in fight mode, and I approached her from behind, but damn. I had to go on antibiotics for a week, my thumb swelled up so bad that I couldn’t use it for a few days, and I’ve got these four gnarly puncture wounds that I wouldn’t be surprised if a couple of them scarred. Thank goodness this happened on Friday night because I sure as hell wouldn’t have been able to type for the few days after it happened, and even now, as I’m drafting this starting Monday, I still have to be careful with how I move it, and I’m honestly not typing with it a whole lot. It was a wild weekend, and I hate this outdoor cat so godsdamn much because it just keeps coming back to torment Grace, and I really can’t wait to have the use of my thumb again. There are so many things that I didn’t realize I used it for, like opening my toothpaste!
Anyway, it’s been a bit of a slow few days for me, and I’m really excited to get back to writing, so I hope this doesn’t impede me at all!
In my NaNo announcement post, one of the questions was to describe your MC in three words, and the first one that popped into mind for Florence was arson, and anytime I’m describing her to someone, I usually mention fire because ya girl likes to burn shit to the ground. The chapter I’m working on this morning is probably more fire than I’ve employed combined in the entirety of these two books, and I’m hella excited about it.
I’ve been listening to different Ruelle songs for most of the chapter, but I just hit this one and put it on repeat:
WELL GOODNESS THAT’S ONE WAY TO END A CHAPTER. We’re smack in the thick of things right now, officially over the 50k mark, about halfway through the second act, and all hell is breaking loose. Not literally, not yet, but figuratively, and it’s chaotic. Just fire and yelling and guns everywhere. I’m having a great time, and though it’s going to wrap up in the next chapter or two, I can’t believe I’m actually going to call it a day and not keep writing because damn, that’s called a cliffhanger ending.
Also eerily similar to another cliffhanger I’ve written before? At least this one continues into another chapter, and the other one is the end of the book.
Daily word count: 3,455
Total word count: 18,665
Despite all my rules about when to write, I truly can’t believe I didn’t continue writing yesterday. The ending of yesterday’s chapter haunted me for the rest of the day, and I had time that I could have utilized to keep writing, but forcing myself to only write in the morning and then think about nothing else but what’s coming next for the rest of the day is really working, so I’m glad I didn’t break my own rules and keep writing yesterday. Today, however? Today is going to be epic.
I am The Worst™. One of my favorite things to do is write a cliffhanger in and then start the next chapter in a completely unexpected direction. For this one, someone’s just been potentially gravely injured, and it’s just wretched, and everyone is probably going to be screaming when the scene finally continues. The next chapter, however, starts with a memory, of the first time Freddie ever played the piano, and the resulting years of music that followed. It sounds odd, I know, like it doesn’t work at all, but it’s going to fit so beautifully, and it’s going to make everything hurt even more, and I can’t wait.
I generally only stick to music from that time period when I’m working with Freddie playing the piano, but Erin sent me a video the other day of a ballerina dancing to a string version of this in the middle of a plaza, and I’ve just fallen so in love with the original:
That chapter is going to require a lot of work to actually get it into the correct shape, but the bones are there for now, and I’m hungry, so I’m calling it a day. This whole book is going to need a lot of work, honestly, because I’ve been so focused on moving forward with the story that I haven’t paused at all to edit what I’ve done previously. Normally, I write a chapter, and I read and edit that chapter the next day, but I’ve done that only very sparingly with this story. I’m definitely going to need to sit down and do it soon, too, because it’s starting to spiral away from me, and I need to gather it all back into some semblance of making sense.
Anyway, two character deaths and a lot of emotion on the horizon means I’m done for the day!
Daily word count: 3,373
Total word count: 22,038
Heyyyyy, I’m almost halfway there!
Well, today is not going to be a writing day. It might end up being one, by proxy, but that’s not the intention that I’m setting out with. Generally, when I write, I’ll churn out two or three chapters, and then immediately turn right around and reread those chapters for small edits. I have the worst sort of memory, and that applies with my writing, too. If I just barrel through without stopping, I’ll forget what I’ve written before, and it’ll all start to become a bit muddled until I’m struggling to keep moving forward.
I also generally outline and plan a lot before I start drafting, too, but this duology has been a rule breaker all around. I’ve done none of my normal things with it. I completely pantsed the entire thing, just took off running without even the faintest hint of an outline. And while I did it with the first book, as well, and should have reminded myself to take breaks, I’ve plowed right through the first nearly 60k words without pausing to read what I wrote previously. I know a lot of people do draft like this, bu tI’m 100% not one of them, and while yesterday’s word count of 3k seems awesome, I felt disoriented for most of that chapter, and my least favorite thing started happening. I stopped plugging emotions into my characters and just let them be all flat so I could carry on until it was done.
Thus, I really, really need to go back and read everything. Obviously, not ideal for the second week of NaNo, but it’s going to get a lot worse if I don’t do some editing, so I’m off. I’ll probably end up with a small count just because that’s how editing works, and I’ll definitely be adding to the later chapters that have gotten progressively shorter as I struggle more, so stay tuned!
And uh, probably not listening to aesthetic music, just All Time Low all day.
WAIT YOU KNOW WHAT I SHOULD DO
I’M GONNA DO IT
Here’s one sentence for every chapter I read today:
One: The lace curtains in her too big bedroom caught like their sole purpose in existing was to burn.
Two: There were endless ways to ritualize death, and though a burial in a coffin,
six feet deep in dark, cold earth, had become standard, it was far from the only common method.
Three: When Hugo came down the stairs hours later, Morland tucked against his shoulder and fury starting to unravel in his bones, he didn’t know much, but he knew this—there was no God, and if there was, such a being would sorely regret the day he’d crossed the Joanina’s librarians.
Four: Coins on his eyes and blood dripping from his fingers,
Freddie would give himself to whatever lore had answers.
Five: “You can fuck yourself straight to Eden if you come near my hair with scissors.”
Six: She cut a striking figure, standing beneath a domed ceiling of glass,
the moon splintering across her fair face.
Seven: He had been a conduit before, and he would be one again,
but not for this, not for a faith that preached love and practiced hate.
Eight: I dreamt that they made you a saint.
Nine: “I’m coming for you,” she whispered in Portuguese,
“And you are coming for me, and no matter what happens, this world will not separate us again.”
Ten: He’d grown up leaving out thimbles of milk and honey, carefully collecting juniper berries to dry and store in an open container along the mantel, and making sure that any visible iron in his room was painted over with gold glitter.
Okay, I’m calling it for the day. I’ve read about 38k words, and I am so tired. It’s past 8PM, and I’ve usually been done with my laptop for hours by now, so I’ve got to break for the night and go read a book or something. I have six more chapters to read, as well as one (or two) to write, I think, that belong in the middle of what I’ve already go. I did manage to add a substantial amount of words today, too!
Daily word count: 1,680
Total word count: 23,718
Here we are again, reading instead of writing! I have six more chapters to get through, and I’m going to carry on as yesterday, dropping a sentence for each one.
Eleven: They started across the street, and he let Virgil’s words whisper between them,
a threat to all that stood in their way, “Here be vile fear extinguished. We are come.”
Twelve: A storm was gathering, one the city wouldn’t soon forget,
and Florence would be its gale wind.
Thirteen: “I want to ask how, but that seems silly since I’ve seen you summon a demon,” Irene whispered.
Fourteen: Florence thought about tearing up the rose petals, so she ate one instead, letting the earthly taste of it linger on her tongue before she swallowed the petal and sunk to her chin.
Fifteen: He was not going to stop until he had his British menace home again, under Portugal’s summer sun and tucked into the Joanina’s archives, stealing books and sneaking tea.
Sixteen: Freddie was a Wright, sim, but he had washed away the decay on that name and given it new life, and he would carry them forward without the hollow cavern of their father looming over them.
It’s not really fitting, for everything that happened in those last six chapters, but this is what I’ve been listening to while reading:
It’s too soft considering my characters literally just burned down an entire house, but it’s been working, for some reason.
And we’re done! I added 1,285 words, and though it’s way later than I would normally start writing for the day, I’m finally firmly back on steady ground where things make sense in this story, and I really want to write the next chapter, so that’s what I’m diving into now, around 1PM. I may even continue listening to MILCK, who knows.
I’M NOT CRYING AT ALL
BUT I REALLY, REALLY AM
I wrote another chapter (3,742 words), and I literally had this song on repeat for the first half and Ooh Child by MILCK for the second half, and I was definitely weeping a bit. It was just so emotional, and my characters are safe again, and everyone was feeling the family love vibes, and it was so PURE I CANNOT.
I’m exhausted now, though, because this is way later in the day for me than normal (close to 5PM) to still be in front of my laptop, purging the words from my bones, so I’ve got to close it and, I dunno, go do some yoga or something. Honestly, thank goodness I decided to wear glasses today because I’d be feeling the dry, sticky contact grossness otherwise. Does anyone else write like this? You just get so in the zone that you’re barely blinking, can’t talk to anyone, just go go go.
My brain isn’t working anymore.
Daily word count: 5,027
Total word count: 28,745
We’re going to finish strong today, I can feel it. Definitely crossing the 30k mark, and I’ll probably make myself cry again because I’m in for another emotional chapter.
Well, no tears, but that was definitely one of the softest chapters I’ve ever written. There’s still some fights to be had, evil to vanquish and all that, but everyone’s settled back together, and Freddie’s in a sweater and drinking gallons of tea to make up for time lost, so I’m pretty happy. I might actually end up writing this weekend, but I also really want to spend some solid time reading, so we’ll see what happens. I know this is a super short update for today, but I’m just feeling so chill after that chapter, and I really want some lunch, so I’m off!
Daily word count: 3,622
Total word count: 32,367
Very close to the halfway mark for 70k (35k), so I might have to write this weekend just to actually give it a real go at my unofficial goal!