Book, Bandwidth

Season 3 of Roadtrip Z goes live tomorrow, which means I’m having release-day nerves all the way down. Maybe that was why my Sunday was full of staring and not getting much done.

Thankfully I get to run today.

*time passes*

My frustration with the home warranty company still dicking me around over the dishwasher replacement reached a certain level that usually leads to stomach irritation, so I tied my shoes and hit the pavement with Miss B. Who was quite pleased, thank you very much, and is now exhausted enough to be a Very Good Dog for the rest of the day. I mean, I know she’s always a Very Good Dog, but this will make her a Very Calm Dog as well. Or at least, as calm as an Australian shepherd can get.

She’s currently sprawled in the hallway, opening an eye whenever I pass. She would like, no doubt, to be snugged up against my office chair, but she suspects I have plans of moving about, and the hall remains the place she can keep track of me without hauling herself upright to supervise my peregrinations.

Today I have release day nerves and concomitant self-care to attend to, as well as seeing if I can get this lady-in-waiting kidnapped and a pair of unlikely rescuers. I have to get through several other scenes to do so, or I could just say “to hell with it” and write the kidnapping/rescue first, then go back and fill in the piercing, the confrontation in the market, the next arranged marriage, and a couple assassination attempts.

This is going to require some thought, and more coffee. I’m hoping the book’s architecture will let me work on it non-chronologically, but that may be borrowing trouble. We’re at almost 80K words for this damn story, it’s only book one, and there’s at least a third more of the whole thing to cram into writing time over the next couple months.

I’m not sure I’ll make it.

Plus, this is something I’ve never attempted before, and the anxiety over maybe fucking it up beyond repair is…mounting. Even sweating for multiple kilometers doesn’t erase that completely. The only way out is just doing the best I can and seeing if I can hit the updated draft deadline. On the bright side, a book usually takes over all my available bandwidth like this right before it spikes towards the finish line.

It’s just that instead of having only 10K words or so to get out of this monster, I have more like 30, and that’s if I’m lucky.

I keep meaning to reserve a little energy to work on Robin Hood in Space–the first season will probably be titled Hood, Home–but when I get to the end of working on Khir’s Honor for the day, I’m worn out. I’m not sure anything else can give in order to free up energy. Dog care, child care, running–those are non-negotiable hard points, and I’d really love to keep on with Latin and piano since the latter is one of the few times my brain doesn’t eat itself during the day, and Latin makes me happy. I have so much crammed into a day, and need to cram in even more.

Well, complaining about it won’t get it done. Time to set a timer and get the fingers to working through the setup for the kidnapping scene. I may have to throw it out later, but at least it’s progress.

Over and out.

The Potential Pile

blank Rain. Rain, rain, rain, and I get to go running in it. Miss B is extremely excited, and doesn’t understand why I have to run the dryer before we leave. My running jacket just went through the wash, and I want to make it as dry as possible before I go out and…get rained on. I also just had to tell B to calm her multiple teats, since a neighbor is running a chainsaw in the back yard and B is Defending the Household with a bonus of Making Sure Mum Knows There Are Things Going On.

Speaking of the back yard, we’re going to have to keep the Mad Tortie in. She used to be an inside cat, but when we moved she darted out through the back door and has managed, by hook or crook, to be an outside cat ever since. She’s killing too many birds for that to continue, though, and she’s also getting older. Which means we’re going to have to get serious about blocking her escape-artist habits. Safer for her, and definitely safer for the feathered and furred denizens of Backyard.1

I got a grand total of a thousand words in yesterday, all layering in a scene that isn’t very sexy but is extremely important. I’m juggling umpty-scrump character arcs in the doorstop epic fantasy, and while I don’t personally like or get excited about all of them, they’re necessary for the book to have any depth. It’s also fun–for a certain value of fun–to stretch my narrative skills. You keep swimming or you suffocate.

So the warlord-turned-Emperor is facing his own mortality, his sons are jostling in the succession, his wives and concubines are afraid for their children and themselves, the foreign princess bartered to the Crown Prince in return for a peace deal is nervous, her lady in waiting keeps having to fend off assassins, that one prince is being a dick, the general-turned-prince-by-adoption is having tricky feelings, and then there’s the assassins and the court ladies and and and.

Man, I love this book. I’m in the slough in the middle where it feels like it’ll never get done, but I still love the shit out of it.

I also meant to do some Robin Hood in Space last night, but I got sucked into piano practice and also watching the Blade Runner sequel. I didn’t finish it–leftover exhaustion from the weekend rose up and laid me flat–and I have…thoughts about the whole thing. Like, I’m really tired of female bodies being disposable things for spec-fic “hero” characters to transact through. So tired. And the Dickensian workhouse as a hallmark of dystopia and shorthand for “here is a morally grey character running this place” is just…come on, people, stop with the shortcuts, let’s do something new or at least change up the visual shorthand.

As usual, if I want something like that, I’m going to have to create it myself. At this point I’m just adding it to the list of potential projects, and telling myself that the gods can’t take me yet, I have too much work to do.2

There’s no shortage of work, and I’ve taken on a short-term editing project as well as some comic book scripts. Because of course I’m not happy unless I’ve got a glut of work to get through. There’s also a break in the rain coming, so it’s time to lace up and drag my laundry out of the dryer.

*narrator voice* And so, Tuesday begins…