Progress Report: What I Did Over Christmas Break

Ah, here we are, now solidly back in the real world after the Christmas Break.

I know, I know, undoubtedly most of you said that way before January 18th. However, as I schedule myself off at the end of the Fall semester and don’t reappear at work until the beginning of the Spring semester, I generally get that whole month off. I cherish this month because as a rule it’s a fantastic writing time for me. That turned out to be true this year as well, despite everything, as one of my coping mechanisms is, yes, to write.

My goal at the beginning of Christmas Break:

a) Get all the Black Dog novellas revised before Christmas Day (except the one that went out for comments really late).

b) Finish something else, some shorter work or maybe that SF novel, Invictus, that’s 80,000 words right now.

I’m glad to say that I made those goals. Those of you who particularly like the Death’s Lady trilogy will be pleased to know that (b) turned out to be the Death’s Lady novella. I’m sure none of you will be surprised to learn that it’s longer than I expected.

I wrote almost 50 pages of this novella really fast after finishing the, um, the first final draft, let us say, of the Death’s Lady trilogy. That was, hmm, let’s just say ten years ago because I don’t remember exactly and ten is a nice round number. Anyway, the obsession with this world wore itself out about then and I quit with that story unfinished. Obviously reworking the Death’s Lady trilogy one more time last year brought this novella back to my attention. The nice comments some of you made about the trilogy also made me want to go on with this story and finish it. So did the awareness that it should be short (shortish) and that I could therefore probably get it finished during Christmas Break.

The hardest part was deciding where to stop: BEFORE revealing who Kuomat is or AFTER making that revelation? Which would require a lot more length plus require me to deal with the aftermath of that revelation in a way that works for this story and also sets up a potential next book. I eventually chose the latter.

So, KUOMAT (not the real title) is from Kuomat’s point of view. Both Jenna and Daniel make appearances, among a lot of other continuing characters, but their on-stage presence is limited and nothing is from their point of view.

The story picks up only a few weeks or a month after the end of the trilogy. As I said, the part I had already sitting here was about 50 pages long. The draft I have now is 238 pages long, so I am a little surprised I got it finished before the end of break, especially as I consider this a finished draft, ready for critique, and then we’ll see whether I cut or expand various scenes.

At this point, nobody but me knows who Kuomat used to be. I’ll be very interested in whether first readers figure this out during the story and if so, when.

Should I later go on with another novel, it will not be from Kuomat’s pov. It will be from Jenna’s and Daniel’s points of view. Kuomat will be important and may well be the central protagonist, but, as with Tenai previously, we won’t ever look inside his head directly.

I do know something about the plot and more about the character arcs of this potential novel, but there is zero chance I will work on any other Death’s Lady story this year. That may never happen and certainly won’t be more than a gleam in my eye for a good while.

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7 thoughts on “Progress Report: What I Did Over Christmas Break”

  1. If you need something fun, Ilona Andrews is posting a new innkeeper serial on their blog right now. And, Abbot Elementary is a cute new comedy about teachers that I’ve really been enjoying.

  2. If you need more recs, I’ve been compiling a list of things that are enjoyable for someone who is very emotionally drained, by dint of being that person.

  3. Sarah, I’m scheduling a post where I mention a couple of books like this and ask for recommendations, so I hope you’ll drop some suggestions in the comments there! I’m sure I’m not the only one who is still more interested in stories like that compared to high-stakes edge-of-the-seat novels!

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