The deathmarch continues unabated, but I am tired of talking about it. Fiftyish pages left in the draft, which, if God is willing and the crick don't rise, may mean that truepenny and I have a finished draft before I must leave for Fourth Street. I really, really need for us to have such a thing, because I also need to have a finished draft of "Confessor" by the end of the month, and it's still missing a plot twist or two.
I have written over 183,000 words since the beginning of the year, if you were wondering. Fortunately, after June 30, the deadlines ease up somewhat.
<Arlo> But that's not what I came here to talk about today. </Arlo>
So, as those of you who follow this blog are no doubt aware, I have been working on a vampire story, aka "Needles," nicknamed fondly the "near dark pastiche noir stuntwriting thingy." Well, I sold it today. For those of you who are still struggling with this idea that your first draft need not be your final draft, and that there's more to revision and rewriting than fiddling commas around, let me provide a brief history of the work I've done on this thing:
2009: Agree to write vampire story for horror anthology.
2009: think about vampire story in back of head, occasionally.
2010 01: Start listening to U2's "In God's Country" obsessively.
2010 02 03: Realize that you've been obsessing about the U2 song because it (and a bunch of others) are the music that go with the story that's building itself in my head. Write first paragraph of story, which stars blackaire's car. Twitter with blackaire to ascertain details of her car. Wonder if title of story is "Walk Away" or "Young Bone."
2010 02 05: Bribe self with sexy new exciting vampire story to work on nasty old broken boring Grail. Realize title of vampire story is "Needles" and always has been. Well, duh. Then while walking dog, Realize The Awful Troof and scribble down a note to myself to address later.
2010 03 19: research.
2010 03 27: I attempt to write an entire short story in objective, and discover that it's extra-hard in fantasy, especially when you have nonstandard stuff that works in ways that contradict people's base assumptions, and you cannot exposit about it. Also, I finish a draft. I send the draft to leahbobet, truepenny, and stillsostrange for opinions.
Later that week: opinions come back. This story is confusing, and nobody understands what the hell is going on because there's no exposition.
2010 April: Fret.
2010 05 16: Email editor and explain that story may not be fit to be seen by deadline. Editor says, "Try harder."
2010 05 17-2010 05 21: try harder.
2010 05 22: Email editor and explain that maybe I have fixed the story after all. Would she like to see to see it? Send story to editor.
2010 06 05: Editor emails notes, in which she informs me that the story is still confusing and she doesn't understand what the hell is going on because there's no exposition. Also, some other, more minor complaints. Email back to promise to try harder. Make many changes, including moving story from objective into omniscient. Send story back with a note explaining that one is open to another round of revisions. Wait until editor sends back still more evidence of confusion. Sigh.
2010 06 06: Try harder. Post sad post on lj explaining that writing is hard. Send story back to editor again. Also send story to nnalo and coffeeem, with sad notes pleading for insight.
2010 06 07-2010 06 10: Editor emails to say "Don't die of stress over this, please." Next round of betareaders emails back with different confusion this time. PROGRESS! Another round of revisions. Remain convinced that story is not working, that the whole thing is irretrievably broken. Send story back ONE MORE TIME. Editor says "Did you actually change anything this time?" Take this as evidence that the latest marathon revision session amounted to moving commas around. Contemplate a life of alcoholic retreat. Decide to go for a walk instead.
2010 06 14: Story accepted. Editor says "It's great!" Be so emotionally exhausted that you're sure it can't possibly be any good at all, but say thank you anyway. Editor says, "One last change--" Make change. Screw it up badly enough that editor says, "You know what, let's just leave it as it was." Fall over.