I've mentioned before I'm in the middle of work on a new novel, The Fall Of The Hammer, and in general it's not my habit to post word-count updates or anything that granular. I prefer to underpromise and overdeliver, and to bring the thing out when it's done and no sooner. I will say this, though: the peculiar genesis of this story means it's going to take at least one to two more passes than usual to kick it into shape.
Some backstory. Hammer is derived from an old, old, old project of mine that I wrote about 60,000 words for, never finished, and eventually lost the manuscript for. No tears shed; it wasn't very good. All concept and no execution. But the concept lingered in the back of my mind like that stuff in the rear of the bottom shelf of a closet you can't quite bring yourself to throw away no matter how many inch-thick pads of dust you peel from it.
I finally came back to the idea, threw out everything else about it (more like, everything else attached to it fell off at a touch anyway), and set to work. Now, most of the way through draft 1 -- more like draft zero -- I'm realizing this "hoisted" nature of the project made me think I had more of it doped out ahead of time than I actually did. Kind of like packing for a long weekend and then realizing you forgot your toothbrush ... and your razor ... and your deodorant ... and your comfortable slip-on shoes ... and et so on cetera.
Not the worst thing in the world, really. All it means, as I'm finding out, is that I have to find out what all the missing bits are by actually attempting to write them instead of just think about them ahead of time and make notes. Usually, by the time I get to the first draft, things are far more "rehearsed" and refined, but this time around I dove in and began swimming more or less to see where I'd end up.
The only thing that would be truly bad about this is if I decided not to refine more aggressively in the next drafts. I'm trying to treat the next draft as the real first draft, with the current one more a source of raw material to cannibalize than a product to polish.
OK, there's one other thing about this that's not great: longer time to delivery. Irony of ironies, all is irony: one of the whole reasons I was forcing myself not to go over 120K words on this was so I'd have it out in time for Christmas and not have to be cagey about Christmas of what year. But it shouldn't run that far over budget. One hopes.
New York City
Other Lives Of The Mind