This morning dawned clear and unseasonably warm; the sky at six, when I headed off to the cafe to work, was aglimmer with stars. I look for raccoon activity on Cotton and Second now–having had one sighting, I consider this my due–but the bandits failed to show so I puttered off to the cafe.
My first browse through the slenderly-drafted THE RAIN GARDEN is moving quickly and producing a long list of scenes to add, things to research, and stuff to do. I will need to reverse-engineer an outline in the not too distant, if only to figure out where the scenes to be added should go, and to check that the clues to the mystery emerge in a sensible order.
Today I cruised through what looked suspiciously like the book’s thematic heart, and thereby hit upon a working title that is more fitting, at least in the limited sense that it has something to do with the actual story I’m telling. So, for now, the book is morphing into THE AFTERPEOPLE. Since the first book set in this universe has a similar title (THE WINTERGIRLS) this rather hints that the third book, whenever it happens, might end up being THE (something)BOYS.
(If you’re me, these are the sort of thoughts you don’t want to be having when you’re trying to focus on the Book at Hand.)
I think it can be safely argued that THE RAIN GARDEN is a prettier title, and AFTERPEEPS may not be a keeper. But THE RAIN GARDEN didn’t fit, at all… it sounded poetic, and I had a good reason to call the novel something poetic before I sent its ultrasound off to Certain Somebodies for review.
This evening I was briefly tempted to adopt THE RAIN GARDEN moniker for all my unfinished works in progress. This would have the entertaining side effect of confusing the hell out of everyone, probably me included, while perhaps creating a blog tag that spanned multiple books. But hey, that’s what “Works in Progress” and “Process” are for, right?
Besides, I have for years used a perfectly good acronym for such projects: AFNA. This stands for Another Fucking Novel Attempt, and dates back to the days when I was fourteen and couldn’t write my way past the first fifty pages of a full-length book. Even at five characters, it was short enough to use in the days of DOS files. AFNA.DOC. AFNA, incidentally, can be prefaced with other letters: J for Just, Y for Yet, B for Bollocks… well, you get the idea.
Anyway, the book’s out and renamed and blinking groggily. I worked on it until after dawn, and walked home in the sunny morning. After breakfast and a coffee date with my beloved, I caught a walk in the last of the bright, even as the clouds were moving in. I made it to Hastings Park and back before the skies opened. I didn’t get any horse pictures, as I arrived too late for the morning practice laps and too early for the actual races.
In lieu, here’s a RAIN GARDEN picture for you, from the universe of things that are not yet, and might never be:
Tuesday’s words on THE RAIN GARDEN came to 1,454, bringing me to a total of 38K and change, and to the last scene. One or two more writing sessions should do it, and then what I’ll have is this skeletal draft in need of a new title, some research, and much overall fleshing. In the meantime, I’m very pleased with the bones.
I’ve been madly chasing a number of projects and events this week. TOR.COM is hosting a series of Quantum Leap rewatch posts, by me–the first of them is on the pilot, Genesis, and can be found here. Meanwhile, the Tor/Forge newsletter is crowing about Indigo Springs winning the Sunburst Award. All of the books on the short list were TOR books, so they have extra cause to be proud.
And here’s a sign of fall, for you all:
A few announcements: First, I have tried to thank each and every person who wrote, commented, or DMed me to say congratulations on the Sunburst Award. If I missed you somehow, sorry, and thank you! Word is continuing to ripple out… I especially liked Megabest characterizing it as a “suburban thriller“. The Quill and Quire chose to note the presence of Robert Charles Wilson, Cory Doctorow and several other ‘name authors’ on the ballot. I get what they mean, but Hey, QQDudes! Not only do I have a name, it’s so long it doesn’t fit in the Revenue Canada computers. (Seriously. The full moniker is Alyxandra Margaret and it’s one character too long for their name fields. I have been filed as Dellamonic for years.)
Speaking of names, I also have been remiss in congratulating the brilliant Hiromi Goto, who got the Sunburst in the Young Adult category for Half World, as well as those other amazing folks on the short list: Cory, Robert, Charles de Lint, and Karl Schroeder, all, curiously enough, for books published by TOR. And, finally, the Sunburst jury itself: thank you, so much!
Moving on, I have one slot left in my next UCLA class, “Creating Universes, Building Worlds,” which focuses on short fiction in any of the fantastic genres. The syllabus is online, and previous students are, as always, welcome to join us again.
Work on The Rain Garden proceeds apace, pace being somewhere between 900-1200 words a day. I write longhand and transcribe as it’s convenient, and it hasn’t been for a couple days; when it is, I’ll catch you up. In the meantime, posting word counts in this fashion keeps me chugging along… so once again, I thank you.
And a warning: I posted a spider shot a couple days ago and there will be more. Kelly and I have taken up our autumn practice of noting all the orb weaver webs along our morning route–we don’t formally count them all that often, just admire. But we call it the Spidercount, we began really looking this morning, and they are huge, well fed and ambitious. By Halloween the 2010 spidery biomass bids fair to be immense. So, if you are in East Van and can deal with spiders at all, I recommend a stroll down the Central Valley Greenway. They are wonders of nature and the webs are amazing to behold.
But today I give you a pigeon who’s really got somewhere to be:
I think you all know I live in a beautiful city, but here’s proof in the form of False Creek on a sunny fall afternoon:
After a marathon transcribing session, I’ve gone and dug up the 4K words (ish) I’d written on THE RAIN GARDEN before starting the most recent push, and integrated the files. Total verbiage now comes to 29,555. Words for Tuesday, Monday, and Sunday, working backwards: 955, 1082, 1108.
I don’t know what it is exactly that makes for a bumper crop of spiders, but this year has been it in Vancouver. We are awash in eight-legs, and they are ambitious. One tried to set a web for Kelly in the living room the other day. We’ve had them in our hair, on our hands, everywhere but… well, if I finish that sentence several of you will spend the next six days cleaning your crannies with wire brushes, am I right?
I’m no keener than anyone else on having a creepy arachnoid beast crawling on me if I don’t know where it is, but when they’re sitting still, or spinning webs, I can appreciate the beauty. I know that’s not everyone’s cup of tea, though, so avert your eyes if you must.
Saturday’s verbiage for THE RAIN GARDEN, meanwhile, is typed and comes to 1,806, for a total of 20,964.