All right, so, no, I didn’t quite manage to write the ending of Tasmakat this weekend. Not entirely to my surprise! The rule that everything will take longer and need more words held true, as always.
I did get through the action climax. It took longer to work my way to it and then all the way through it, and then it took some time to revise the next scene, which was already written, in order to flow smoothly into it from the action climax.
Having gotten through the action climax, I now have some useless advice! This is useless because I always check the chapter breaks last thing, AFTER revision, because chapters shorten, lengthen, get removed entirely, whatever. I prefer to keep chapters at about twenty pages or thereabouts until close to the end, when it’s quite normal for chapters to shorten for various reasons. Rechaptinating (is that a word?) is literally the last thing I do before sending a book to first readers and the last thing I do again before sending the final draft to proofreaders.
My point is, I’m not sure where the chapter breaks will wind up or even how many chapters there will be.
But at the moment, my suggestion is: Do NOT start chapter 42 at bedtime, thinking that you’ll finish this one chapter and then turn off the lights. No. You will not be able to stop until you are about six pages into chapter 45. I’m just telling you now. Chapter 42 ends on a cliffhanger. Chapter 43 ends on a cliffhanger. Chapter 44 does not resolve the situation. About six pages into chapter 45, you’ll be able to breathe a sigh of relief.
I’m not sure whether to say that chapter 45 begins the denouement. (That, by the way, is a word I can’t EVER spell correctly, no matter how many times I type it. I have to keep letting spellcheck fix it for me. I’m looking at it hard now to see if I can remember how to spell it for at least the rest of this post.)
I’ve been calling this part where I am now the second part of the relationship climax, and that’s true, that’s what it is. But you recall how everything worked in Tarashana. We had the action climax and then a rather brutal break in the relationship between Ryo and Aras and then a long recovery period. Then after that we had a different kind of denouement (hah, spelled it right the first time!) involving Tano and all that part, and working out various other relationship threads. I’m not sure whether to call all of that the denouement or what else to call it. It’s the period of falling action after the action climax, but it’s really important and a lot happens in it, including a secondary action climax, so maybe not. I’m not sure what other term might apply.
Regardless of the terminology, this is a lot like that. We’re through the action climax, which I hope you will all find exciting. There’s a fight, yes, that’s why it’s an action climax in the first place, right? Because there’s action. But I’ve tried hard not to allow the essential problem or this fight be too reminiscent of anything that happened in prior books. I think it works quite well, and I’m looking forward to comments from first readers.
But now that we’re past that, there’s going to be a long recovery period — quite different, but still, a long recovery period — which will be followed by working out various other relationship threads.
I have, by the way, now indicated that some of the Ro-Antalet are able to step from one place to another via magic. There’s a minor reason that was useful in the current chapter, but, of course, the MAIN reason is that I can now use that ability to step from the country of sand all the way back to, well, to the location where the last chapter(s) will take place, without passing through the distance between.
I’m not entirely sure how many last chapters there will be. This is where I will tie up all the loose threads. I’ve been thinking of that as one chapter, but it may be a series of short chapters instead, depending on how the scene shifts work out.
I’m not sure how long it will take to write this last little bit. I’m going back over this important part right here, I’ve been over it several times so far, tweaking this and that, and I’m sure I’ll go over it multiple times still. But I should move forward today or tomorrow, get out of this chapter and into the next, which may be the last chapter and is certainly, unquestionably, part of the denouement. (Took two tries, but I didn’t have to rely on spellcheck.)
How long is this novel now? Over 300,000 words?
Ha ha ha yes wow I really did not think it would go quite this long. If I stopped right this minute and cut a hundred pages from the back half, it would STILL be over 300,000 words. Obviously this is the single longest story I’ve ever written. Also, you know what, the complete arc of Tuyo/Tarashana/Tasmakat — which is truly all one story, though in three self-contained sections — is actually going to be about 680,000 thousand words total. That is about 2200 pages, for those of you who prefer pages.
Wow. That’s kind of stunning to think about even for me.
I wrote 22,000 words last week, by the way. It really helped that it is now too dark to take the dogs for a walk before I leave in the morning. I hate that, but it sure does give me more time in the morning. They are getting longer walks in the afternoon, and by the way I do have an 8000-square-foot yard, so it’s not like they are super deprived if I don’t take them all out for walks in the morning. It’s just they really like to go for walks.
I do think next week’s Monday update may be the last. If not, the full first draft will be really close to finished by then. Wish me a calm, non-stressful week, please! I want to be able to be totally obsessive this whole week and get this done! (OMG, I just realized I will also have a Gen Bio test to grade. NOOOOO. Well, at least it’s a short test.)