I'm confident I'll meet the August 43rd deadline.
That's Aug. 43, 2011 for all you doubters out there.
There's been no end to the obstacles in my path. The Evil Murdoch Clan forced me to spend an entire day watching CNN International (Parliament committee meeting rooms remind me a lot of the local school board meeting rooms from the days when I used to watch local school board meetings on TV, albeit not on CNN International). My mother has entered the Misplacing Years, so I've had to make the occasional trip over to her apartment to locate her hearing aid and the suchlike. Even though my apartment has central air conditioning, I still had to take time off to ponder the sweltering heat outside. And I've had to nurse my modest one game winning streak on Free Cell solitaire.
Saturday evening, when I was pondering the inevitability of folding my laundry, I had one of those ZOWIE! realizations that force freelance children's book writers to rethink everything (or worse still, to fold their laundry). To use the term Shakespeare popularized in his memoirs (My Days And Nights With Queen Elizabeth The 1st, available only at Borders Bookstores), I've been plowing my way through this ding dong manuscript, occasionally leaving massive gaps when there's a scene to be written that might actually take energy and brain cells (both better spent on Free Cell Solitaire). There were (well, technically are, since I haven't written any of them yet) three of those scenes yet to be begun, except in my mind, where they're just about all written, and not for the first time I regret that no one's invented a way to get words directly from brain to book while skipping all the intermediary steps.
My ZOWIE! realization was that after those three big energy scenes are completed, there are no more big energy scenes left in the entire book as currently plotted, which means a handful of more discerning readers might find the final fifty or so pages a complete anti-climax.
Okay. More than a handful. More like everybody.
Now personally I have nothing against an anti-climax if I'm the one doing the writing, but I am sensitive to the wishes and needs of all humanity (except the Evil Murdoch Clan and maybe some members of a political party that shall remain nameless because the very thought of them gives me hives and I don't want them to have the satisfaction of seeing my skin all blotchy, although now that I think about it blotchy skin is probably an excellent reason not to get any work done), and all humanity writing reviews of my masterwork casually mentioning that the final fifty pages or so are completely, totally, and irrevocably anti-climactic might not be beneficial to my future royalty checks.
Fortunately for me, folding my laundry provided quite a wonderful distraction, and I didn't bother thinking about those final fifty pages for a happy day or so.
But last night I thought I really should solve this problem, because I only have so much laundry to do at any one time, and the Evil Murdoch Clan is laying low (and lying high). So I did what any sensible writer would do. I called in the reinforcements.
I happen to have a very close friend who I consult on occasion when a plot is giving me woe. Since I have enormous respect for her as a person, but not so much respect for her right to privacy, I'm going to call her by her actual name, Princess Summerfallwinterspring.
I called Princess Summerfallwinterspring and told her the basic idea of The Shade Of The Moon, leaving out only the witty repartee on Pages 12-13, so she'll have something to look forward to when she reads it. I explained the three big scenes and the ZOWIE! concerns. I told her of my inchoate whatevers (inchoate is such a fabulous word, but I have no idea how to use it in a sentence), and how I was willing (more than willing, maybe even salivating with willingness) to dump one of the three big scenes, in exchange for a super big scene at the very end of the book.
Princess Summerfallwinterspring (or Princess Summerfallwinter as she's known to her closest of closest friends) listened, pondered, and solved. She led me, kindly, patiently, and on her phone bill, to a final scene that has a lot of stuff happening in it, plus that emotional resonance I'm such a sucker for.
It's still not 100% formulated in my mind, but then again I probably won't write it until August 35th at the earliest.
And when I woke up this morning, I completely changed one of the remaining two big energy and brain cell draining scenes, so it's a good thing I never wrote a single word in either of them since I'd have to rewrite it anyway. I guess the Evil Murdoch Clan was good for something.
For those of you who are still interested in what I have to say (Hi Mom!), there's a new interview with me at The Gatekeepers Post, which is a very interesting place with or without interviews with me.
I'm off to play another round of Free Cell Solitaire, to see if I can keep my winning streak from falling into negative numbers. I promise to blog again before July 39th!