Posted in Judaism, Religion, Third Russian novel, Word Count, Writing

ROW80 Final Update

My Horny Hump Day post is here.


Round 1 of A Round of Words in 80 Days ends on 28 March, and I’m up to a bit over 257,000 words on my WIP. Though I’ve had to rather scale back my writing time to focus on school, I did pass the halfway mark in my guesstimated final length. I’m still projecting around 450,000 words for the finished first draft, maybe up to 500,000.

I’m kind of glad I’ve only had a general, basic outline and notes to work with for crafting the book so far, along with everything I’d had stored in my head since 2001, when I began pulling together plans for this third volume. So many storylines, characters, and angles have organically, spontaneously come together and appeared.

It’s not about memorization, but about internalizing information so you just know all the characters and storylines naturally. It probably helps a lot that I’ve studied about 15 languages so far, including 5 alphabets besides my native Roman alphabet. I’m used to taking in and remembering huge chunks of information.

I’m continuing to do very well with my Estonian study. While I’m picking up on some aspects of grammar, like the most common noun cases, plurals, certain letters changing with declension or pluralization (like K to G, T to D, and P to B), and basic verb conjugation, I’m still focusing on absorbing vocabulary. I’ve learnt things like adjectives, colors, parts of the body, food, tableware, occupations, and lots of other stuff in many other areas. Gradually, it’s all coming together so I can read and form simple phrases and sentences.

One of my favorite mitzvot, commandments, is the counting of the Omer, which began the night of the second Seder. For 7 weeks leading up to Shavuot, you say a b’racha, blessing, each night, and then count the Omer, formerly a measure of barley. You’re not supposed to announce the day before you count it, so you have to tell someone, say, “Last night was the fifth night.”

It’s special to me because I gave up in depression and apathy partway through in 2005. I’d loved counting the Omer since I’d first done it in 2002, but I was so frustrated and depressed at feeling in a community of one. What was I doing all this for if I didn’t have my own religious community or own family? I felt like Dante, waking up in the Wood of Error, no idea how he got there or how he lost the way so badly. Eventually I came back to it, and it’s been extra-special to me ever since, never to be abandoned again.

My now-primary shul, the university student center, has a tradition of going around the room and counting in different languages. Last year I did it in German, and over the years, we’ve also had people doing it in Spanish, French, Chinese, Armenian, Japanese, Portuguese, Farsi (Persian), Italian, Yiddish, Russian, and some other languages. This year I’m going to offer to do it in both German and Estonian.

Say, for example, it’s the 20th day. I’d say:

Täna on kakskümmend päevad. See on kaks nädalad ja kuus päevad Omeris. (Today is twenty days. That is two weeks and six days of the Omer.)

I don’t know why, but counting in Estonian has come as easily as counting in German. Usually I’ve had a much trickier time with learning the numbers in other languages.


I started reading at three (my first book was Grimm's Fairy Tales, the uncensored adult version), started writing at four, started writing book-length things at eleven, and have been a writer ever since. I predominantly write historical fiction family sagas/series. I primarily write about young people, since I was a young person myself when I became a serious writer and didn't know how to write about adults as main characters. I only write in a contemporary setting if the books naturally go into the modern era over the course of the decades-long stories being told over many books. I've always been drawn to books, films, music, fashions, et al, from bygone eras, and have never really been too much into modern things. If something or someone has appeal for all time, it'll still be there to be discovered after the initial to-do has died down. For example, my second-favorite writer enjoyed a huge burst of popularity in the Sixties and Seventies, but he wrote his books from 1904-43, and his books still resonate today, even after he's no longer such a fad. Quality lasts for all time.

8 thoughts on “ROW80 Final Update

  1. Learning–no, absorbing languages is a wonderful thing. To truly speak another language is to ingrain another culture and history into yourself. It sounds like you do that a lot, both in fiction and reality.


    Have a great day.


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