Tuesday, October 1, 2013
"Staten Island is *in* New York!": The Status on The Rochesters
Uncle Arnold patted Alice on the back. “Yes, yes, I’m well aware of the fact. The bit about being splendid, I mean. And I’ll put in a call to your suitor while you get our bags ready. If you do it, we’ll be late for our train. Sylvia, it is best for you to learn early in life that when the time comes for you to have a Young Man of your own, you may pose quite an inconvenience to your Nearest and Dearest by monopolizing the telephone line at all hours of the day or night.”
Sylvia giggled. “I don’t really like talking on the telephone, Uncle Arnold.”
Uncle Arnold nodded solemnly, with only the tiniest hint of a twinkle. “An aversion which time will cure all too soon. Hang onto your innocence, Sylvia, and do not let my daughters lead you astray.”
September is over, in case you hadn't noticed.
And the little word counter for The Rochesters on the right-hand sidebar of my blog isn't at 100%, in case you hadn't noticed that either.
Yep, I didn't finish. And I am okay with that.
This post is sounding oddly reminiscent of this one from last November when I didn't quite finish Half NaNo. I think it's just that I've gotten so used to not meeting deadlines that it hardly bothers me anymore. This is not a good thing. I must learn to weep and wail when I don't meet a deadline. I should enlist Anne-girl to whap me over the head or something when I fall short... pain association and all that. Or perhaps she could give me chocolate nuts when I DO meet my deadlines. (That's the way they train animals.) This would be agreeable. Take notes, Anne-girl.
At any rate, I've currently clocked in at 56,367 words, which is just a tiny bit over 80% of the goal. I don't know if the manuscript actually WILL get to 70,000, of course. I intend to write until the story is finished, whatever the final word count may be, and as yet I'm not there. (Obviously.) I have twenty-two chapters outlined but only seventeen chapters' worth of material written (not seventeen complete chapters, you understand) so it could quite possibly end up going over 70,000.
And as I said, the fact that I didn't finish in September doesn't bother me. I'm deep enough in the story now that there's no danger of my setting it down and saying "I'll finish it later" and then never getting to it. (Well... okay, there's a lot LESS danger.) The Rochesters have taken me by the collar and pulled me into their world, and it's really kind of delightful to see the family that I dreamed up one summer day living and breathing and chattering and having splash fights in my mind.
Celia and Francie have really endeared themselves to me over this last week-and-a-half of crazy writing-- they were more or less my two favorite characters to begin with, but now they're definitely my favorites. Well, but Mark is too. And Alice. And Sylvia. And Uncle Arnold. And Patsy and Timmy and George and even Pumblechook (though in real life I tend to be repulsed by big slobbery dogs). Cheesy though it may sound, this crazy family has been writing me in the process of my writing them, and I'm eternally grateful to them. They've taught me not to shy away from being embarrassed by little things, to embrace spontaneous silliness (um... only to a certain extent... as my siblings will, I am sure, concur), to laugh at those I love and at myself, that you can be furious with someone and still like them tremendously deep down underneath, to stop and smell the burning toast along with the roses (because face it, some days have more burnt toast than roses to offer), that anything hilarious your siblings might say is fair game for novel material if your sister doesn't grab it first, and that any family that agrees perfectly on how song lyrics go is not the kind of family that sings together frequently.
Sylvia, sandwiched between Francie and George in the front seat, bravely struck up a tune of her own. “This land is your land, this land is my land...”
Celia and Alice joined in. “From California to Staten Island...”
“It’s the New York Island, not Staten Island,” sang Mark.
Celia rolled her eyes. “Staten Island is in New York.”
It really was the New York Island, but Sylvia was willing to let it slide. “Come on, don’t mess up the meter. From the redwood forest, to the something wa-aters...”
Timmy chimed in with Sylvia, but Patsy was squirming in her seat. “I have to go the bathroom,” she announced, cutting the warblers short.
I'm not ashamed to admit that I've poured a lot of myself into this novel, and when it's done I think I'm going to be pretty doggone proud. (Yes, this is a sappy feel-good post. Deal with it.) It's become a part of me, and though I'm a little scared at the idea of showing it in its entirety to Other People, I feel like the Rochesters have the potential to go out in the world and make something of themselves.
Which means, y'know, cover letters and agents and all that classical stuff (it's like jazz, but better). I shall keep you peeps updated.
In the meantime, I'm off to write some more on my beloveds and hope to get their story finished... soon. You'll know when I'm done, I promise. There will be much huzzah-ing and throwing of hats and handing imaginary chocolate all around. (And then I'll be looking for beta readers. So stay tuned.)
“Don’t feel bad,” Francie added hastily. “You did better today than I used to when I first started sewing. The first doll dress I made was constructed along the general figure lines of a potato. And I didn’t have any potato-shaped dolls. Well, there was one I named Antoinette who kind of looked like a rutabaga, but that’s another story for another time.”