75K. It’s been slow, and I’ve still got 15 – 20K left to go… which, after approximately 45K of Dreaded Middle, doesn’t seem like very much at all.
I finally hit that fabulous home stretch last week, and now every few paragraphs I’m getting blindsided by one of those EUREKA!! moments, complete with yelp, crazy facial expression, and figurative lightbulb appearing, all halo-like and shiny, over my head.
These are, as you can imagine, particularly awkward in public.
This stage is, if I’m being honest, the real reason I love writing books. Beginnings are fun for me: beginnings are shiny new toys I get to unwrap, mess around with, and eventually pull apart until all the lights stop flashing and the wheels won’t move in tandem.
Middles I don’t like so much (the last few months of whinging about them here may have tipped you off to this): by then I’ve reduced my pretty new toy to its components, all the shiny has worn away, and it’s just occurred to me I don’t know how to put it back together.
And then, somewhere around 60-70K, I hit this fabulous stage, where I realize that in all my screwing around trying to get the pieces to fit together, I’ve somehow gone and built myself a SCUD. Off she goes in a trail of smoke and screaming air, to eventually land on someone else’s desk (i.e., betas and then my agent), to drastically rearrange some furniture and probably make them wonder what they ever did to me to deserve this.
I love this part. Every random little moment I had no idea why I was writing is now a piece of the puzzle: they’re coming together into a cohesive picture as I watch. It gives me some much-needed confidence in my own weird brain to see this happen; to know that all that stuff I thought was crap, and not in any way connected to the plot, was in fact not only connected but pivotal. I have no idea how a writer who outlines as obsessively and geekishly as I do can still be surprised by pieces of her own book, let alone repeatedly trampled by a hoarde of stampeding plot bunnies ever four pages or so, but here it is: book 3, and I have ambushed myself yet again. It reminds me to have a little faith in myself. Even when I don’t have any clue what I’m doing, it turns out I know what I’m doing.
Did I mention I love this part? Because I love this part.