Invictus Update: Argh, So Close

Nope, not quite finished with Invictus, which on the one hand is soooo annoying, but I’m soooo close.

Three basic comments about this manuscript:

A) I’m sure you’ll all be totally astonished to hear that it’s gone longer than my estimated maximum. I just passed 170,000 words this morning. My NEW estimate is SURELY not more than 175,000 words and maybe actually less. I honestly have ONE chapter to finish, ONE chapter to smooth out, and ONE chapter (a short one) to write. That’s it! I’m really sure this time!

B) I’ve gotten the “flow” back, which is great! Took about, what, seven weeks, but after gritting my teeth through a heck of a lot of words, I’m finally zipping right along and enjoying this last little bit. We are, needless to say, past the exciting climax and into the part where everyone works out their relationships and get set to move into the future. Although parts of the climax surprised me quite a bit and were therefore fun to write. Those parts may turn out not to flow smoothly out of previous bits, or may make previous bits unnecessary, so that’s going to be something to address early in the revision process. I can see that I’m going to start revising not at the beginning (I have been OVER and OVER that part), but almost smack dab in the middle.

You know, if you’d said at the beginning of this year, “I see that you have 90,000 words sitting here, but I don’t think that means you’re 2/3 of the way through this book — more like 1/2, I bet,” I … guess I would have found that plausible, actually. But I sure did not expect this draft to wind up quite this long. And of course it’s a bit annoying to think I’m probably going to wind up cutting it back pretty hard, but here we are, all part of the process.

C) The three-week break between semesters is over and boom! now that I have flow back, I’m inconveniently going to have less time to work on this manuscript. So I’m betting it will take a good week to actually finish rather than two or three days. Especially because I’m carrying puppies in and out and in and out, and feeding them, making sure to pick up Seriously Plump Boy Three so he can’t push the others out of the way and get far more than his share. And all that leads to sitting around watching the puppies. At this point they sometimes spend a bit of time scampering around in the living room, where I can pretend I’m looking at my laptop. Spoiler: when they’re out, I’m really looking at the puppies.

I just figured out that, at birth, Tiny Boy Four was 56% as big as Seriously Plump Boy Three. He is now 88% as big. So, basically, even Somewhat Smallish is starting to wear off as a nickname.

Anyway, by NEXT week, I should be typing THE END for Invictus, after which I will set it aside for a good long while and most likely turn promptly to Tasmakat. I just worked out something neat I should do toward the beginning. I mean, along with many, many neat things along the way from front to back.

I already have the cover for Tasmakat, by the way. Just the ebook so far because I have no clue what the eventual page count will be. I’m not sharing it because I feel like it’s bad luck to post the cover before I have a complete draft. But! I do plan to put Tasmakat up for preorder the very moment I have a complete draft, before I even start revisions. It will be the first book I have ever put up for preorder that far in advance, and I’ll be really keen on seeing how many preorders it accumulates. A lot, I hope.

I guess I should also think about getting a cover for Invictus. Wow. That feels like quite a step. That feels like a complete draft is nearly in my hand.

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11 thoughts on “Invictus Update: Argh, So Close”

  1. Change of topic, but are you familiar with Animalia by Graeme Base? I picked it up at a library sale last week, and I was really shocked to find swastikas in the artwork (and not in an eastern religious symbol kind of way). It’s a pretty well known 80’s picture book – I’ve seen library posters based on the lions page, for example. How is everyone ok with “n is for nazi” and “s is for swastika”? It took me completely by surprise.

  2. What, really? Wow, I would never have guessed anybody, I mean anybody, would be okay with that.

  3. Just checked, and it’s there on the shield in the border on their site, same as in the images I linked so they haven’t edited it.

  4. Sarahy yes, the image is tiny enough that I’d missed it, but it looks like the armorial shield quartering the flags of the U.S., Red Cross, Nazi Germany and — is that the USSR? Huh: some sort of WW2 reference?

    Animalia came considerably after my picture-book age, but it’s extremely popular; I’m astonished that got overlooked all this time.

  5. I just don’t get how, say, it’s so widely known that Seuss’s early work had racist imagery, but that this author is so universally beloved while he’s actively selling work with hate symbols in it.

  6. H. Nieuwenhuijzen

    All the elements in the border at S are things that start with S, even the four symbols on the shield – stars & stripes, sickle & star, swastika, and the flag of Switzerland (I think, they were neutral in WW2; I’ve seen others on Reddit calling it the flag of St.George = England, though I think that has longer arms; the one that Craig called the Red Cross). In that combination it does look like a reference to WW2.
    It does not look to me like he is in any way promoting fascism, nazism, or anything like that, merely by referring to the existence of Nazi Germany and surrounding it by 3 of the flags that opposed it (or in the case of Switzerland were a refugee route out of it).

    Drowning a tattered sun-symbol or Nazi-symbol in the sea, as shown on the Reddit-thread as the other instance of him drawing a swastika also does not look to me like it is promoting fascism.

    From all the different war- and violence symbolisms represented in the book, it does look as if the artist has some strong ideas about that, but not exactly to promote it. He does give parents or teachers options to talk about such things, if they want to – the images are ornate and detailed enough, and silly enough, that it doesn’t need to be taken that seriously if you don’t want to, and won’t be taken that seriously by any kids on their own.

    Honestly, I don’t get the Internet/USA mindset that merely acknowledging that something exists or existed must mean you are promoting it. We have a few more legal restrictions on free speech in a lot of Europe than in the US, in that public speech promoting hate and violence can be restricted, and IIRC e.g. in Germany selling Hitler’s book for other than university studies isn’t legal. But being able to talk about the past, acknowledging the wrongs that happened in the past and making sure everyone knows about them, is seen as crucial to not repeating those wrongs.
    Whereas in the USA, from what I’ve read, teaching kids honest sex education for their own safety is seen as encouraging them to have sex, acknowledging that gay and trans people exist and have the same human rights as everybody else is supposedly making kids “choose to” grow up gay, teaching kids about the USA’s problematic history with slavery and institutional racism like red-lining would make them feel bad about themselves so can’t be allowed and must be legislated against…

    How can you learn from history if even showing in such a small and non-promotional symbol that it happened means you get an Internet outrage wave called out on you?
    Calling it “actively selling work with hate symbols in it” clearly indicates that some people think the artist should not be able to sell his work, make a living at his art, for this?!

    I do find the older Seuss’ racist imagery, as in the older Tintin comic books, a lot more troubling, as there he is clearly going for the stereotypes about dark-skinned people (widespread at the time, incredibly offensive now). Using and promoting those stereotypes is a whole lot worse than this reference to WW2, nazism and fascism having happened.

  7. The Red Cross was deliberately created as a color inversion of the Swiss flag’s white cross on red, as I understand it. Given the other S’s (there’s not even a hammer with that sickle, is there? the image is so tiny I can’t tell for sure), I wonder if the artist didn’t mean it for to reference Switzerland, or for it to be St. George’s cross, and mess the image up slightly.

    Hanneke, some Americans do get rather too excited about sex ed materials, but the occasional piece that really does have problems keeps that fire stoked. Similarly with things like the 1632 Project trying to *define* American history by slavery getting pushback, and the proponents then retreating to of-course-that’s-not-what-we-meant.

    I can’t completely rule out the possibility of genuine Nazi propaganda showing up in contemporary popular art, but I don’t know of any examples. (The fringe, of course, has everything. To this day I’m not sure if the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement is a joke or not.)

  8. I certainly think that talking about history with kids is a good idea, but that’s a big conversation, and better suited to the myriad kids’ books that are actually about those topics. Just throwing hate symbols into something where you aren’t intended to have long discussions about any particular item is a different thing. It’s not presented in a way that will promote conversation, and it makes light of something horrific. At the very least, I wish there were something somewhere where the author addressed it and talked about intent.

    And, I feel a bit the opposite about Seuss – yes, that early work was hateful, but he learned to do and be better, and was really very progressive in later work. Graeme Base, on the other hand, still has art prints with hate symbols in them for sale on his site. In a time when there are active Nazis (enough that we had a Trump presidency), that’s nothing to shrug off. Someone who spreads symbols of hate without context doesn’t get my benefit of the doubt.

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