Update: unexpected digressions

Okay, so:

A) Yes, there’s been a dramatic slowdown for Tasmakat. However, I did get a lot of work done on it over the weekend. We are pretty close to (FINALLY) leaving Avaras. WorldCon is coming up, obviously, so I don’t know whether I’ll even look at it from this Wednesday to the following Tuesday. Maybe? Depends on how early I wake up each morning in Chicago. I’ll be taking my laptop for sure, so we’ll see.

B) So, I woke up really early Sunday morning and you know what was in my head? Silver Circle. That sort of thing often happens when I’m working on one book, but I’m not into it. Thoughts about another book suddenly appear. This has never happened before with any book in the Tuyo world. I guess it happened this time because in Tasmakat, I’m in a transitional scene that doesn’t interest me a lot; and also because (obviously) Tasmakat practically came to a standstill last week. The back of my brain apparently thought it was time to move on to a different project. The good news is that I now have several pages of notes about Silver Circle. There are a million loose threads that I need to collect, so notes are going to be important for that story.

C) The first draft of Tasmakat is going to be even longer than I thought. If it gets too insane, I may quit moving ahead long enough to go back and start cutting it down, just so I can stop looking in appalled fascination at the wordcount. Cutting may also be something I can do if my focus has been pulled away by this Gen Bio class, or whatever else may be going on for that matter.

D) Wow, I did a crappy job explaining the scientific method. This is plain because of Quiz One, which presented a scenario and asked students to come up with an experiment. It’s good to find out where I dropped that important ball now. I’ll pick that ball up tomorrow before I open the new topic (Chapter 2: Chemistry). Then I’ll present a very different scenario as an essay question on Test One and see how they do. After going over this quiz and discussing points of confusion, I hope they will all do extremely well on that question. I’m going to tell them a question like that will be an option, so they ought to. (I’ll hand them five or six essay questions and tell them to pick three.)

E) Leda is in season. I could possibly breed her. However, WorldCon is in the way, so I guess I won’t attempt it. Definitely no puppies till next year.

F) Naamah is just fine. This is day six post-surgery and she’s already about back to normal. Her recovery was indeed very fast, much faster than my previous dogs with pyo. She does believe she should be getting treats for all meals now, as her appetite was very poor for several days and she was therefore on a special Whatever She Will Eat diet. (Liver brownies, chicken, extra palatable canned food.) Now that she’s feeling so much better, she will probably decide dog food is edible pretty soon, and if not, I’ll give her Entyce, an extremely useful appetite stimulant that I have on hand.

G) I’m going to go ahead and place the kittens in a new home, with a person who will also be at WorldCon, so the transfer can happen there.

I’m very sorry to let them go. They are lovely and adorable and funny, and they’re fine with the dogs. The dogs are fine with them too. And it’s not like I’ll be having puppies any time soon. BUT, I can’t have the pet doors open. I’m almost positive the yard is not kitten-proof. The girl kitten in particular is exceedingly acrobatic and bold about climbing and leaping. Naamah is in an x-pen while she recovers from surgery, and this kitten instantly climbed up the x-pen and now thinks of that as her special route to get onto the kitchen island. I think she would get out of the yard. I’m almost sure she would. It would kill me if she got out and got eaten by a fox. We’ve had so many dumped cats and kittens disappear this year, mostly within a day or three of getting dumped, that I really don’t think her chances would be good at all. But I hate to just never again open the pet doors. That’s really not fair to the dogs. So … this other home is excellent. Their yard is cat-proof as well as dog-proof.

It has been a tremendous pleasure to have them for the past five weeks or whatever it’s been. I’m going to ask the new owners to send me occasional pictures.

I’m sure she’ll have a great life elsewhere, sob.

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7 thoughts on “Update: unexpected digressions”

  1. Glad everyone seems to be doing well! Letting go of fosters is so hard but it sounds like you’re making the right choice

  2. I am sad to hear you’re thinking about doing major cuts on Tasmakat. As far as I’m concerned, the longer the better – I want to know everything that’s happening in the Tuyo world! But I do realize you have other factors to consider, like what other readers want, pacing etc…

    Would you ever consider posting deleted scenes here on your website after the book is published? If there were major cuts that were still consistent with the finished book?

    Also glad to hear of progress on Silver Circle. The witch problem seems so big, so tangled in all the inherent problems of human nature, that I am quite despairing of it being getting solved. Look forward to seeing what you do with it. I also want to catch up with all the people of Dimilioc: see how Miguel recovers, and see Ezekial and Natividad finally get a chance to be happy together (I hope). This series seems like it might lend it itself very well to something like the Gratuitous Epilogue Andrea K Host wrote for the Touchstone series. I am just as invested in the individual characters and the community, and I’d love to see how all the relationships evolve after the major plot points are resolved. (Not to tell you how to do your work though! I find everything you write very satisfying, just the way you come up with it.)

  3. Melanie, you’d be amazed at how invisible some of the cutting will be. One exercise I use these days is to go through and try hard to cut one sentence per page, an exercise my agent once recommended. It’s a great way of cutting unnecessary words while also reviewing the whole story to date, which can be good when I’ve written a lot really fast.

    Having said that, a couple scenes will probably go. And I’m thinking of cutting a couple minor characters I introduced but that I think now aren’t going to be important enough to justify keeping. But I don’t think I’ll be cutting whole chapters, at least not yet, until I see how the back part of the story shapes up.

    Also, thank you! I’m glad you want a long novel. It’s definitely going to be long.

    I think there is a very good chance I’ll write a Gratuitous Epilogue for the Black Dog series. I have clear ideas about that, plus I love the Touchstone Gratuitous Epilogue, which makes me inclined to write one.

  4. I like the idea of a Black dog Gratuitous epilogue!

    And if Tasmakat gets too much too long, maybe instead of deleting a third, you could cut it in two halves? Something like Tasmakat – the journey and Tasmakat – the resolution?
    If you finish the whole story first, and clearly mark it as one story split into two books because of length, and people can buy both at once, then ending the first on the point where they are ready to leave the middle kingdom for the summer lands, or at the border of the summer lands, should not get people irritated with an unresolved and unexpectedly abrupt ending.

  5. I’ll split the book if necessary, Hanneke, but it feels like just one book to me. In the 6×9 binding, it shouldn’t be too unwieldy. I think.

    Pretty sure there will be a Black Dog Gratuitous Epilogue. I think I know when it would take place. I’d like to show all the younger characters after they’ve moved into their adult lives.

  6. Yes to the Gratituous Epilogue! (I mean, we should probably let her write Silver Circle first, but, hey—sounds like she’s already got everyone’s futures in mind, so yay!)

  7. Kim, the REAL challenge is that, rationally and objectively speaking, I ought to kill someone important. There are several artistically obvious choices for the role of self-sacrificing heroic death. But I don’t actually want to kill anyone. I want everyone to have a happily ever after. So … we’ll see.

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