I’m very excited to finally be back to work on Justine Grown Up, and making wonderful progress. I think one of the things holding me back was that Chapter 13 was getting so long, even by my standards, with so much more material yet to be covered. I decided to change the table of contents yet again, so that these events will take place over two chapters. Now Chapter 14 is the one entitled “Crossing the Point of No Return,” and Chapter 13 is now called “Things Heat Up.”
This has always happened in reverse before, but this time, coming off the heels of a past tense project, I accidentally wrote the first new sentence in past tense. Usually it’s the other way around, forgetting I’m writing in past tense after so long in a present tense project.
I’m going to try to keep most of the rest of the chapters short by my standards, perhaps 10-15 pages or so, maybe shorter like the earliest chapters. My estimated final length for this book is 150,000-200,000 words, and I’m now up to 79,000. I’m so looking forward to writing the dramatic penultimate chapter, “Sing Blue Silver Snowstorm,” though I still haven’t found anyone to interview who went to that Hartford show in that snowstorm.
That’s the reason behind my current banner, my fortuitous inspiration for the turning-point of the book and the dramatic ending events, and how it amazingly coincided with some real-life drama.
After the rest of my August posts (both scheduled and written in real time) have been posted, I’m going to switch to a more abbreviated schedule. I don’t get enough traffic or regular comments to justify posting other than in my weekly bloghops, and in contests and other bloghops/blogfests as they come up. I’ll now only be posting on Sunday, Saturday, Wednesday, and Friday, along with the progress reports for ROW80 and Writers Support 4U. If I start getting more traffic and a higher percentage of comments per daily hits, I may post on Mondays again.
My newest bloghop is Friday Flash. I decided to write some pieces about my Shoah characters Csilla, Klaudia, and Aranka in May and June 1945, before they’re reunited with my established character Eszter in their hometown of Abony, Hungary. Then, as I was going through the 99% unedited, hiatused file that’s going to be reworked into a book called The Strongest Branches of Uprooted Trees, I realized that a lot of the dialogue is really monologue-like and infodumpy. Yeah, it makes sense for these long-separated friends to want to catch up, but I think those things would be much better-conveyed through flashback chapters. Not Eszter, Aranka, etc., talking for like 2-3 pages at a stretch.
I was also going through the 20 pages or so I wrote for my long-hiatused alternative history How Would You Have Ruled Us, Aleksey? (I have a more updated, lengthened version of that excerpt on the hard drive of the ’93 Mac, written in the Spring of 2001, but no way to access it at the moment.) And I was really thinking, not for the first time, that when I get back to it, it might just be better to do third-person omniscient all the way.
Why did I think it needed to be told in journal form, from 5 different young women throughout the 20th century? That means they have to have a way to witness all these events or know the Tsar and his family in some way, and put in supplementary newspaper clippings. It would feel so much more personal to keep the story focused on Aleksey, not how people throughout the Russian Empire responded to him and thrived under his enlightened rule. This story just doesn’t work well in first-person, just like one of the reasons I didn’t like The Great Gatsby was because it made no sense for this Nick person to be the narrator when he wasn’t even the central character.
Plus, I’ve developed into a third-person omniscient kind of writer. I think it’s safe to say I’ll only venture back into first-person when I revisit the long-shelved Anne Terrick. And that’s only because her story is told in journal format, and I have such a LONG history with her.