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Slow and Steady

In between writing fluffy stories under pen names and messing with promotion and sales etc., I actually have been working on WIP-B with some consistency. Here's a screenshot of the form I use to update that progress bar to the right:

WIPB Chapter Progress

I don't write linearly, even though it looks that way from the percentages. It's just that the last few chapters are hard so I've been avoiding them. Until recently, there were gaps in the middle instead of a solid wall of one hundred percents. Yesterday (or it might have been the day before...all of my writing projects blur together now) I went in and patched up chapters two and five. Five was a doozy because I had to find scans of The Times of London from July 1897 to see how the paper was laid out and the sort of columns and language it contained. Happily, I spent a year and a half studying library science, and my student status at my university hasn't expired yet. I was able to find a subscription database the libraries have access to with a glorious wealth of PDFs, just waiting to be analyzed and subsequently mocked. Yes, I do take my hero sitting down to read the newspaper damned seriously.

Less happily, I then had to figure out how the heck cricket is scored for a single line by the hero's brother. I still have no idea what all of those numbers mean, but at least I know that Lancashire won the county championship that year, the matches lasted about three days, and the words "runs" and "wickets" are important. How teams score runs or "lose" wickets I have no idea...but I think they might be like runs and outs in American baseball.

The end result is that chapters one through seven are more or less ready to go. Of course the percentages are slightly misleading, because "100%" only means "everything's in there that's supposed to be." It doesn't mean it's 100% finished and will never change; the progress bar really only represents the progress of the first draft. On the other hand, "0%" doesn't necessarily mean I've made zero progress, either. Chapter ten, for example, is 100% outlined in skeleton text, but I haven't written it properly yet. The same goes for the first half of chapter eight and the last half of chapter nine. And chapter twelve is actually an epilogue half the length of a chapter, but that doesn't factor into the total percentage at all.

All in all, I think it's humming along nicely. I had originally expected to be done sooner, but I had never written a historical before and had no idea how much time would be sunk into research and setting description. In chapters ten and eleven we hop over to Switzerland, which ought to be fun (said half-sarcastically, half-not). I just need to keep hacking at it until it works out.


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