Tag Archives: Meet the Larssons

Spring Sunday Stats, #2

The kids are in the tub, so I only have a few minutes to post before someone starts crying or splashing (or spitting water onto someone else’s butt — sorry for the interruption).

Weather: Sunny and cool (around 55 at 11am when I went out for a run). Gusts blowing west from the lake down Irving Park Road like a wind tunnel.

Miles run: 9.74, in 1:30:31. That’s slow for me, even these days, and I’m not sure why. I got a lot of sleep, had a decent breakfast, and felt pretty good, but I just didn’t have any speed in me today. The Solider Field 10-Miler is next Saturday, and I am not anticipating a PR. I’m hoping to do better than I did today, though.

What I played on my iPod during my run: I Should Be Writing #90, Geek Fu Action Grip Morning Show Lite After Dark #12, and Phedippidations #140 — yes, it was a Mostly Mur run.

Words written on Meet the Larssons: 2,220! That takes me over 75K, to 75,945 words. For the first weekend in quite a while, I took a significant chuck of time and sat my butt in front of the MacBook and just wrote. For about two hours, I turned off my internet connection, shut down Mail and Firefox and any application other than Scrivener and iTunes, played tunes from a large mixed playlist I have of songs I know well enough that they can serve as background music (mostly 70s and 80s supergroups like Styx and Rush, lots and lots of Zevon, some Johnny Cash and Jimmy Buffett for variety), and just wrote. I got up once to use the bathroom, and once to put on socks because my feet were cold, but otherwise stayed planted in the chair. It felt damn good. Mrs. Unfocused took the kids out for most of the day, so I had time to get in my run, do some work for my paying job, and still do solid time on the novel. She’s a saint.

All that, and two blog posts. I feel productive as hell. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have children to wash.

Spring Sunday Stats.

Weather in Chicago: warm (mid- to upper 60s) and sunny, the first weekend day in God knows how long with decent weather.

Miles run: 7.85 (according to my Polar RS400), in 1:04:13. That’s my longest run in months. I’m still not running regularly enough, either to keep the screaming heebeejeebees out of my brain or to be ready for the Solider Field 10 Miler in three weeks, but I’ll get there.

What I played on my iPod Mini during the run: Seventh Son, Book One – Descent, by J.C. Hutchins, Chapter 16 and part of Chapter 17.

Words written on Meet the Larssons this weekend: As one of the characters in Seventh Son says, “Two words: Jack and shit.” A combination of distractions, nice weather, actual legal work for which I am paid, a sudden realization that I needed to add a scene to Test Tube Beneficiary before it could be called done, and suddenly the weekend is over. I’m traveling to California for business tomorrow, which means I may have time to get a couple of hours of uninterrupted writing, or quite possibly, none at all.

Short stories submitted to professional markets: Umm, none. The edit formerly known as “final” is done, on paper, and just needs to be typed in. The problem is that the new scene has almost certainly generated changes that ripple through the rest of the story, which means that I need to do one more edit. Damn, damn, damn. Damn.

Hours of fun with the kids: Around 7 today. Junior and I were on our own all morning, and then all four of us spent the late afternoon in the backyard, before dinner and getting the kids ready for bed. Unfocused Girl and I worked on the tae kwon do form for our yellow belt test, coming up at the end of this session of classes at the Y, and Mrs. Unfocused joined in, while Junior held up a pad and demanded that we all punch it. All in all, a pretty darn good day. Yesterday was pretty good, too. I love spring.

What To Do, What To Do. I Know! Ask Other Writers on the Internet!

Here’s the issue: I’m at a point in Meet the Larssons where I can see I’ve got a long way to go to get to the end, and I’m not entirely sure which of the many available paths to take to get there. I do know, however, what the final scene will be, and could probably knock it out in close to final form in one evening. I’ve had it in my head since I started working on the thing. (Note to self: in future posts, refer to MTL as “The Thing.” It sounds appropriately tortured and arty.)

Mrs. Unfocused thinks that would be cheating, like eating dessert before dinner, and that I should only get to write the ending as a reward for writing everything that comes before it.

I know at least some of you are struggling with (or breezing through) your own works in progress. Have you written your endings already? Would you ever? Or never never?

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back.

I just cut about a thousand words from Meet the Larssons, because I realized that I did something to one of the main characters that either I shouldn’t have done, or shouldn’t have done yet. So I moved the original versions of the last two chapters I’d written (Chapters 23 and 24) into the Research folder of my Scrivener project file, and copied them back to salvage what I can (which, thankfully, is most of Chapter 23 and about half of Chapter 24). It’s not that I like going backwards, but it could have been much worse.

Random Thursday Update

It’s been heating up at The Firm lately, which is one of the reasons I haven’t been posting as frequently. People get sued, people need suing (“Why’d you do it?” “He needed suin’.”), one of the senior partners gets hired, and eventually I get a phone call and my blogging dries up for a bit. This is just a quick update to kickstart my blogging muscles.

I’ve also been trying to make some progress on Meet the Larssons, which I put aside a few weeks ago in the push to finish the first draft of “Test Tube Beneficiary” and then get through the revisions. I’m back into it now, though, and I think it’s coming along. I’m going to have to change the name of the family at the center of the book though — I only noticed it recently, but one character, Astrid Larsson, has the same name as one of the main characters in S.M. Stirling’s Emberverse Trilogy. There’s no similarity between MTL and Mr. Stirling’s books, but it’s an easy enough change for me to make (hit REPLACE ALL and we’re done!). As a working title, though, I think I’ll leave it as Meet the Larssons, at least for now. It’s past 65,000 words, and I think I’m on track to meet my goal of finishing the first draft by the end of June. That will depend on how crazy things get at the office.

As for TTB, after three passes through it (two hand markups on paper, then one more set of revisions as I typed in the first two), I managed to cut a whopping 110 words, net — I cut a lot more than that, and but I added enough that it was effectively a wash. Between Passover and other commitments, I haven’t been able to get it into final shape to submit, but I expect to get that done in the next week or two. I accomplished Step One, buy more printer paper, on Monday

That’s enough for now. My blogging muscles are all wobbly. I’ll try to think of something interesting to say for tomorrow.

And Now For Something Completely Different: Insomnia.

I have never had any trouble falling asleep. I see television commercials for Lunesta or Ambien, and they don’t make any sense to me at all. I’ve been practicing law for 13 years, and a handful of times I’ve woken up in the middle of the night and stressed out about something, but I can’t remember the last time I got into bed and simply lay there, unable to fall asleep. Normally, the amount of time it takes me to fall asleep is immeasurably short; a “long time” is five minutes. (One exception: I often have trouble falling asleep in hotel rooms, for a variety of reasons that boil down to being uncomfortable. Special case.)

All of this is to underline how unusual it was last night, more than half an hour after Mrs. Unfocused and I turned out the lights, for me to still be wide awake. I wasn’t panicking about anything, or stressed out. I was physically wiped out from chasing Unfocused Girl on her bike and Unfocused Junior on his scooter up and down the block all afternoon, and had nodded off on the sofa before coming up to bed. I had no good explanation for why I couldn’t sleep. We had gone to sleep a little earlier than usual, but not by much, and considering how tired I was, it shouldn’t have been a problem.

Finally, I slipped out of bed and went downstairs. I spent an hour on the novel, which I had ignored all weekend while my father was in town and we were out enjoying the weather. After about 800 words, I went back upstairs, and fell asleep within a couple of minutes. This morning, I’m exhausted, but at least I have something to show for it.

I’m hoping this was a one-time problem, and not the beginning of a serious problem, where I can’t sleep if I don’t write. There are going to be plenty of days when I’m too busy to work on the novel, and I can’t afford to kill a night’s sleep every time that happens. I’d try warm milk, but I’m lactose intolerant. Maybe next time, I’ll just take a Benadryl.

50K.

I just passed a milestone on Meet the Larssons: 50,000 words (50,083 as of 10:24pm CDT, to be exact). It’s a long way from done, but it’s moving along nicely. I have the word meter set for 100,000 as my target, and that’s probably right for the first draft. I expect to cut some of that in revision — maybe 10,000 words — not to make it shorter but because I’ve either overwritten some of the technical details (what we refer to at the firm as “lawyer stuff,” or would, if we weren’t charging for it) or just to tighten up the prose. I also expect to have to write additional scenes or partial scenes, so it may all net out even in the end.

My target when I’ve finally crunched through the editing process is somewhere between 90,000 and 110,000 words, which should be enough to tell the story without channeling James Michener (I should be so lucky). By no coincidence, this seems to be the range that editors and agents are looking for from a first-time novelist (at least according to Editorial Ass and Nathan Bransford; I also noticed that it’s what Scalzi hit with Zoe’s Tale).

Fifty thousand words is not just the halfway point for my target word count for MTL; it is also the target word count for NaNoWriMo, which I plan to use to hack through as much as I can of my second novel in November. Apparently, all I need to be able to do in November is knock out an average of three times as many words on the novel each day as I have managed for MTL.

No problem.