Word count: 37891 Went to a Halloween Haunted Hoe-Down last night, then did my critiques after the party; to bed around 1am. Up at 6am and immediately got to work writing. 2000 words (!) later, it was about noon and I decided to cut off the chapter at that point. There were two more scenes in the outline, which I wanted to get in at the climax of the chapter because they tie the two plot threads together, but the chapter had reached a semi-satisfactory stopping place and I just didn’t think I had time to write any more. The good news about writing a novel is that there’s always another chapter. Took a shower, during which I realized that the scene I completed and the new scene I had just written could be slightly altered to tie them together better and increase tension (in the new version, it’s Raptor who rescues Clarity from the roof rather than Honor). So I altered them, and it worked. Reformatted it for critique, printed it out, took it to the copy shop, and arrived at the meeting exactly on time. At which point I discovered I’d neglected to press the Collate button, and I had to spend the first 15 minutes of the meeting manually collating the 10 copies of 28 pages. But I got the chapter finished in time, by God! Got Chapter C critiqued at this meeting. In general people are happy with the way the novel is going, though some folks thought the pace was a little slow and a couple of people said they thought the characters were well-realized and believable but they didn’t like them as people. Sara in particular said she wanted to slap Jason silly. Also — as I already know — the aliens aren’t alien enough, Jason isn’t motivated enough, and Jason (and to a lesser extent Clarity) is too much reactive rather than active (“a catalyst, not a hero”). Despite these critiques, I plan to keep writing the characters as they are, so that I will have an internally-consistent first draft when I go back and start fixing it. (Is this a mistake?) Also, if Jason isn’t a hero that’s not necessarily a bad thing. He does becom the villain of the piece (for a while, to the extent it has villains), before he hits bottom and begins to redeem himself. But, as Sara pointed out, there are no Evil Fucks (thanks, Jim) in this book. Is this a problem? Meanwhile, my crashed phone came back from Nokia, repaired — but without its battery. Grr!!! They’re sending a new one, but it won’t even leave Florida until Monday. Waah! One more thing before I fall over (I got five hours sleep last night — I feel like Clarion, whee). November, as you may know, is National Novel Writing Month. But I can’t do NaNoWriMo for real, because you’re not supposed to use it to work on a novel in progress. Nor do I imagine I can write 50k words in a month. I tried a “PseuDoNaNoWriMo” in March, with a goal of 40k words, and only managed 10k. So in November I’m doing a “not really a NaNoWriMo” (NoReNaNoWriMo). My goal is to write every day — minimum 100 words, and not necessarily on my novel. I’m going to put up a calendar and stick gold stars on it. I’ll be tracking my progress here. Wish me luck!
David D. Levine is the author of Andre Norton Nebula Award winning novel Arabella of Mars, sequels Arabella and the Battle of Venus and Arabella the Traitor of Mars, and over fifty SF and fantasy stories. His story “Tk’Tk’Tk” won the Hugo, and he has been shortlisted for awards including the Hugo, Nebula, Campbell, and Sturgeon. Stories have appeared in Asimov’s, Analog, Clarkesworld, F&SF, Tor.com, numerous Year’s Best anthologies, and his award-winning collection Space Magic.