Saturday, December 21, 2013
Week 51 of the 52s...The Serial
I've had a really convoluted week, what with one thing and another. My original idea for the 52s fell through and my second option bit the dust on Thursday. I also didn't finish the serial on Tuesday, the 18th as planned (the one year mark when I started it), but that part was entirely my fault.
Tuesday, I sat down to write the final chapter. I wrote one paragraph and the phone rang. Finished that conversation, wrote two sentences, my neighbor popped in unexpectedly for a cup of tea and a chat. Again, I sat down to write. The UPS guy shows up. Huh. Didn't think I was expecting anything. OMG. It's two books that I pre-ordered months ago. Two of my most favorite authors ever. I've waited over a year for these books. Now I have them in my hand.
Okay. It's lunch time. I put the books down, resolved to finish the serial before I touch either one. I will maintain control, resist the siren call, ignore the yearning. I feed the boys, make my smoothie, eye the books. Well, it can't hurt to just peek inside, surely. I'll just read the first page or so while I'm having lunch. No harm in that.
If books were a drug, I would be laying on a seedy mattress in some abandoned warehouse with no family, friends, money or a hope in Hell of surviving my consuming addiction.
I read the first paragraph, then told myself I could take a few more minutes and read the first chapter, then okay, just one more then I have to get back to the serial.
~~ sigh ~~
I finished the book at 1:00 in the morning.
Was it worth it? Oh yeah. There's nothing better in the world to me than a book that is so well-written, so exciting, so totally absorbing, that I lose track of everything except the story.
So Wednesday I try to get back on track, but I can't find my rhythm, I've lost the plot (in more ways than one). I find out my first plan for the 52s is a wash and I can't for the life of me think of something else. What am I going to do? It's the penultimate week! Shit!
Thursday comes. I make myself sit at the computer. I flail. I fidget. I pull my hair. I wish I still smoked. I used to get great ideas when I'd stand outside and smoke. Then the phone rings. It's the BFF. She can't talk on Sunday for our usual call, so we spend an hour talking about not talking on Sunday. We get off the phone, I make a cup of tea, I wander around the house. My second idea for the 52s doesn't pan out. I get so frustrated, I pick up the second book and start reading.
Yesterday, desperation is gnawing at me from all sides. My mother calls. Oddly, almost the first words out of her mouth are what I did for Week 51, then--salt meet wound--she goes on and on about how amazing it is that I have almost finished the whole year and never missed a week. And, as if that wasn't bad enough, next she asks me if I finished the serial on the December 18th deadline!!
Holy crap. Who knew she paid this much attention to my writing?? I'm embarrassed to tell her I am failing on all counts.
After I confess, she says, as if it's no big deal: "Finish the serial and call it Week 51. Won't that work?"
"It would, but that means I'd have to actually write the damn thing."
"Well, get off the phone right this minute and go do it!"
So I did.
The last chapter is long. Very, very long, but once I got rolling, it just...came together. After some editing, I posted it this afternoon, and will finish this whole experiment with the epilogue tomorrow.
This has been a really interesting exercise. I've learned more, writing this serial, than I ever imagined. It has been hard, rewarding, grueling and sometimes even fun. There were a few times I painted myself into a corner and couldn't get out because once the chapter was posted, I couldn't make changes--it took me three weeks last Summer to find my way out of one paint job. I had to work with my mistakes, somehow make the story cohesive when it was really just a big damn mess. Had I been writing a draft, I could have gone back, corrected the errors, rewritten parts, but with the serial, I couldn't do that because there was no going back, the chapter had been posted and my words were now cast in stone...so to speak.
Would I do it again? I don't think so. Initially, I thought it would be easy. Just crank out a story about demons and mutant Hounds, love and stolen books, but honestly? It was bloody hard to recall what I'd written months prior, plus every chapter had to more or less end in a cliffhanger--old school serial writing hook.
Still. One year and 4 days. 61,069 words. 149 pages. 43 chapters and 1 epilogue.
I did it.
And yeah. I'm smiling...