And I’m probably not going to make my reading goal either!

Officially, I’ve thrown in the towel on this year’s NaNoWriMo. The last word count was 28,673. A few thousand of those word might end up in some manuscript written in the near future. I’ll get back to this version of the Alterverse in January. For the remainder of November and in December, I plan on doing a “final” polish on Model Species, writing a new query letter, and sending it out to a half dozen agents. I need to follow up on Pas de Chat queries as well.

I’m not overly disappointed about not “winning” NaNoWriMo. The Alterverse is at the awkward stage that occurred about six months (?) after we started the Weordan project. I couldn’t continue on in writing-abandon knowing that so much of it is way of- base from where it needs to be. That’s not a bad thing. Unlike NaNo of 2004, when we started Weordan, I can see the flaws. Not just the superficial detail flaws, but the deep cracks in the world-building. But, these 28K words are a stake in the ground, and that’s worth a tiny bit.

—###—

Book #20 – The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien
(I have a month to read ten more books. Not likely to happen.)

The re-read at Tor has been moving at syrup-in-January-in-a-cold-climate pace, so I decided to go ahead and finish The Two Towers. Honestly, without looking at the table of contents, I couldn’t remember what all was included in this book. First off, meeting the Riders of Rohan and Treebeard were a long time ago (June and July, according to the blog). Second, “Shelob’s Lair” alone puts the rest of the book to shame. Maybe it was tainted for me, knowing who Shelob is before reading, but the tension that Tolkien built in that chapter really got to me.

I’ve started taking craft notes again and the lesson I’d like to take away from “Shelob’s Lair” is this simple thing: (Possible Spoiler Ahead)

When writing something tense, something scary, remember what makes me tense and what scares me.

I’m not necessarily talking about Shelob being a spider-creature. Long before she makes an appearance, I was holding my breath. Yes, that might be because I knew what was coming, but Tolkien does something else as well. Sam and Frodo find themselves sightless, hardly able to move. Every step is an effort; every word spoken, if managed to be spoken, is inaudible. They are helpless in this world. Paralyzed in the dark and watched by malevolence. If you’ve never experienced sleep paralysis, that is pretty much what it is in a nutshell. The adage is: Write what you know. I know that kind of fear and I need to remember to use that sort of method acting when I need those strong emotions.

Next up: Finishing Slippage by Harlan Ellison and then maybe it’s time for some techno-thrillers/military sci-fi to get me primed for Alterverse.

—###—

If I can manage to stay awake. I’ve been sleeping long hours lately. I guess it’s due to stress, but usually, I have the opposite problem. My body has been a little goofy in general. I’ll leave it at that without moving into TMI-land.

The holiday has been nice. Eric’s mom and dad are in town and we’ve gone up to see them the last four days. I was going to skip out today, but Mark smoked brisket and pork butt, and does and damn good job of it. The BBQ sauce was particularly good today. Otherwise, there’s been way too much pie. I’m going to have to start running more again.

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