Today is the first day of check-ins for the third round of A Round of Words in 80 Days. So far I’ve been way more productive and consistent with writing the last two weeks or so than I’d been for the few weeks preceding. Even though I’ll never be a person obsessed with counting words and keeping track of how many words I write in an hour, a day, a week, or a month, I am glad to look down at the word-counting feature and see it increasing.
I’m up to a bit above 61,000 words for And the Lark Arose from Sullen Earth, my 1946-47 postwar historical focusing on Jakob’s first year in America, his first real year of marriage to Rachel, who’s been patiently waiting for him in America for a year, the culture clashes the young couple face, and Rachel’s search for a midwife during the era of twilight sleep. I’m venturing a guess that it’ll end up in the vicinity of 100,000 words, so that’s pretty good progress. And I have been writing at least two hours a night.
I’m also looking at my rough draft outline for the table of contents for my third Russian novel. It still needs a lot of expansion, and will probably change a bit after I finally get to work on the book itself this fall, but right now I have titles for all four Parts, and some chapter titles in place just to give a rough outline of the timeline and what happens when. I know I’ll be adding a lot more chapters to cover the stories of the Soviet characters who never immigrated and who are betrayed big-time by the Great Terror, in various ways.
This is the rough outline of chapters I’m working with right now. The book is titled Journey Through a Dark Forest: Lyuba and Ivan in the Age of Anxiety, so likewise the four Parts also have titles inspired by those famous opening lines of The Divine Comedy:
Part I: Midway Life’s Journey
Chapter 1: Blizzard Surprise
Chapter 2: From Joy to Sorrow to Joy
Chapter 3: The Seventh Blessing
Chapter 4: The Joy of Belated Parenthood
Chapter 5: Naína Plays Detective
Chapter 6: Tatyana’s Sweet Sixteen
Part II: The Right Path Appears Not Anywhere
Chapter 7: Paternity Discovered
Chapter 8: Death in the Nick of Time
Chapter 9: Trapped by the Great Terror
Chapter 10: Inéssa Hatches a Plan
Chapter 11: Ínna Hatches a Plan
Chapter 12: Contentious Graduation
Chapter 13: Borís’s Dream Comes True
Part III: This Wood, So Harsh, Dismal, and Wild
Part IV: The Good It Is Their Hap to Find