“Last Run” Progress Report

After a lot of editing and wiping of cruft the novel stands at about 104k, and still has the main drama in front of it. I’m an unrepentant pantser, which means story outlines aren’t part of my usual practice. What that means, and I’m learning the cons of, is that I’m essentially writing in ‘first gear.’ Like certain authors who are famous and fabulously paid, I can take 2,000 words to describe a simple mean and the character interactions. Not because what they’re doing is so fascinating, but because it’s from their dialog and actions that I get the clues for the next scene.

Any strength overused eventually upsets the balance of life. And while 104k is a “big” number, that’s not what this novel is about: when I started Last Run I was aiming for 90k total and edited. At the rate I’m going, my first draft will top out somewhere in the 150k-175k region. And I don’t want to be writing low-density gorp for the next few months.

Fortunately one of my writing groups helped me resolve that issue, much the way a good therapist lets a client talk out their problems without actually having to intervene. I’m happy to report that the damn party has moved through three days over the course of two days writing, and i’m just at 70% of the way through my outline—which, of course, I don’t have. But if I did, that’s where I’d be.

I’ve pinged UT Austin to see if I can’t get some long-distance expert opinions on the astronomy/astrophysics parts of the novel. Still need to find a good volcanologist or two and someone good with atmospheric analysis of ash fall and particulates.