journalthe cherry crow children of haverny woodwhistling in the darkwriting life

why is there no fire? why aren't there the makings of one?


On Saturday I decided I had No More Time. So while the pterosaur did his diligent best to look after Squawk and ensure she didn't try to feed tooooo often, I sat myself down in front of the laptop and deathmarched the cherry crow children story.

I sat down at 10am. There were breaks (Squawk did require feeding, after all, and bathing and putting to bed, and a couple of times my brain required ten minutes to whinge/vent/whine/tantrum/daze out), but by and large it was me and the desk/couch and the laptop and my ipod and the sheer force of my will.

I wrote the ending at 1am. It hurt. I have no actual idea, even today, what is on the page. I can't bear to look. I simply emailed my publisher the attachment accompanied by the sentence: "I have literally not checked the Scrivener export to make sure it's not gibberish."

Because professional is how I roll. Clearly.1

Yesterday and today, I've been, in the words of Gorey, conscious, but very little more.

Turns out, part of the problem I was having with this story was that I was trying to cram what turned out to be 21,000 words of story into only 12,000 words. (The fact that what I considered to be the inciting incident kept happening at the 7,000 mark should perhaps have been my first clue. When I couldn't collapse that 7,000 down into anything leaner than 2,000? Another clue.)

The other part of the problem, of course, was trying to write around a baby. Who just happened to roll her 3-month and 4-month growth spurts in together, with a head-cold2 in the middle of it all for shits and giggles. Did you know the 4 month growth spurt is renowned for making parents want to walk in front of oncoming traffic? Neither did I. I swear it's like the faeries passed by one night and swapped the baby for a changeling. The effing happiest changeling in the world, who only wants to gaze adoringly at people and make them laugh, but SHE WILL NOT SLEEP. EVER. AGAIN.

If you'll excuse me, I'm afraid I need to collapse now. And then start work on the next story.

  1. In my defense, I would ordinarily hide from the manuscript for at least a week, before doing a final edit, and then maybe even hiding it for another week before handing it in. However, I'm on a tight deadline, and I have my publisher's permission to misbehave just this once. []
  2. A head cold may not sound like much of a problem. But in the shit I never knew department, turns out babies are obligate nose breathers. And if their little nose is too congested to breathe through, not only can they not breathe, they can't feed. Or sleep. They can, however, cry. []