Warning: Word Count. Process post.

This is one of my lovely process posts that I like so much and which must bore the hell out of everyone else.

I got to 66K words yesterday, with the ending still quite a ways away. I'd originally thought the first draft would be about 60K words, or if I was lucky, 65 or 70K. Now it's pretty clear I'm easily going to pass 75K.  Just goes to show that I shouldn't worry about length.

It will happen. Second drafts are usually between 10 and 15% longer, as I add needed development, description, continuity transitions, and telling details. When the whole apoc-eclipse is over, I'm driving over to the Fossil Beds to get some first-hand description in place, do a bit more research to see what I can fit into the story for verisimilitude.

I managed to get a chapter written yesterday, despite a family get-together later in the evening. I wrote a chapter out of sequence, because I wasn't quite ready to write the very important next chapter.

I suspect that I'm going to lose Sunday and Monday completely, as family is coming to our house in Redmond to see the eclipse. Meanwhile, I'm going to try to write Friday and Saturday as usual.

I was getting a little worried at the mild tone in the last few chapters. Many of the radical characters have been removed from the scene, and the newer even more radical characters aren't point of view characters.

Talking it over with Linda I said, "Wouldn't it be great if I could have XXX come in and be all crazy and stuff." And then immediately figured out how I could do that. That's the chapter I wrote on my walk and it was very satisfying.

Meanwhile, I changed the emotional tone of one of the "mild" chapters, so it seemed to carry a bit more punch.

Here's the problem. I've got a cast of characters, each of whom I've given multiple chapters. As I come up on the resolution of their individual story arcs, the temptation is to give each of them their due, but I can't afford to give them each a full chapters. So either I leave their endings implied or unresolved or I give them a partial chapter.

Which means head hopping in each chapter, probably among two or three characters. (Most often, a character gets an entire scene to him or herself.)

Since most of what's left are action scenes, head hopping is a bit more acceptable, I think. If I've done my job, I've established their characters, so now I can just show them in action. Action sequences are more staccato anyway, to be effective, even down to shorter sentences and paragraphs. So head hopping will probably work if I don' overdo it.

I'm still really happy with this book. I think it hangs together believably. The motivations all make sense. The plot is exciting.

At least, I think it's exciting. Had a reader tell me it needed more "edge" which made me feel insecure about the first half of the book. There is no real "action" per se for much of the book, though I hope there is enough tension and suspense. I see no way to write a "realistic" novel, which was my main goal, if I'm having gunfights from the beginning (or anything else radical.) To make this book work, there has to be a build. I do have several murders along the way, about halfway through. But...

Well, if it turns out it doesn't work because I don't have that kind of action, so be it.

My third attempt at a thriller will be a flat out effort to do a Lee Child, John Sandford kind of story. I think. Unless it bores me too much.