Thanks to some last-minute schedule changes and cancellations, I am now very confident that the first draft of Circuit Magician will be finished by late this week, even if I don’t quite make the June 1 deadline. Since I’ve already cleared that with my editor, this will work out fine. Sooner would be better, though.
The hardest part at the moment is deciding where to stop for the day. I’m in the final stages now, with the barn door in sight at last, and between that and the deadline looming, I have a tendency to want to keep going as long as the words are still coming strong.
Unfortunately, my loathing of transitions remains. This means that I tend to stall at the point where the next thing I have to write is a transition – and even at this stage of the game, there are a lot of transitions: between scenes, between chapters, between one story-day and the next. If I work until I completely run out of steam for the day, odds are good that I’ve come to a transition…which means that starting up again the following day is going to be hard, hard, hard. On the other hand, deliberately stopping when I’m still going strong seems like a waste.
What I’m ending up doing is making sure that if the next bit is a transition, I get at least one paragraph into it before I call it quits for the day. This at least gets me over the hump of starting the transition sequence, and once in a while, if it’s a very short between-scenes transition, it takes care of the whole thing so that I can keep going after all.
The other thing that’s helped is having a plan for the plot points I need to get covered each day. (I am up to having them deal with A and B; today, they decide to extrapolate Q and, if I am very lucky, actually do it (not just decide to to it). If I am not lucky, they decide today and test on Monday, leaving me with the wrap-up for Tuesday.) This is the important thing, after all – not how many words I write per day, but whether the whole story gets told, all the way through to the end.
Oddly enough, the plot-point plan works exactly the way most of my plot outlines do, which is to say, the specifics are not very useful. I’d expected B to be something other than what actually occurred, and Q to take place very differently (under different circumstances and in a different place) from where it appears to be going. And sometimes, I have to fight the flow – it’d be easy to make the final few scenes into a sort of reprise of the climax of the first book, but as soon as I know that, I can work at heading it off (though that may require M coming in from left field, which would probably add a day to the current plot-point plan). The skeleton of the plot outline, however, seems to be working fine. Maybe I should start doing all my outlines with A’s and B’s instead of what I actually think the events are going to be.
I’m still twitchy – my medical consultant is out of town until Monday night, so I can’t double-check whether I got the injuries and treatment right until she gets back (I can fudge the treatment with magic and my somewhat different historical development, but the symptoms aren’t susceptible to that kind of manipulation), and I have the dismal feeling that the settlement meeting I spent all day writing will have to be cut back (or worse yet, cut out) due to Boring Meeting Syndrome, but that’s for the future. Right now, I have Q (or possibly M) to polish off today. I’ll know for certain which once I get through this *$#@$ transition.