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An author of no particular popularity

Jay Lake
Date: 2011-08-15 05:39
Subject: [writing] A Sunspin milestone, a bullet dodged
Security: Public
Tags:awards, books, cancer, conventions, health, reviews, sunspin, writing

Yesterday I finished out section vi of Sunspin with a long, strong writing day of 3,600 words. Sunspin is divided into three volumes (currently), each volume is broken into three acts, and each act is broken into three sections. Each of those sections is approximately 20,000 words long.

This makes a nice, digestible arrangement wherein I can have subordinate writing goals. If I’m keeping to my production targets, 20,000 words is a week’s worth of writing, plus or minus a day or two. In this case, seven writing days over eight elapsed days. Each section has its own narrative and dramatic arc, advances the characters and the story, etc. It is also my hope that this scheme will provide a reading structure in the finished book.

Of course, this may be much subject to revision before Sunspin ever sees print. La agente is concerned that the individual volumes are too long, at 180,000-200,000 words each in first draft. There will either be a fair amount of editorial trimming, or possibly a resplit of the planned three volumes into four somewhat more manageable volumes. Or maybe they’ll just be big. I don’t know yet.

What I do know is that I’m on pace with the book. I may not make my month-end deadline to have the finished volume in to la agente, thanks to the interruptions of Worldcon and chemo session five, but if so I’ll only miss by a few days. A far cry from my original production plan for the year, but cancer will do that to you.

As for cancer and me, I woke up yesterday with joint aches and a pain in my throat, as well as slight congestion. Fearing the onset of a cold or worse, I cancelled my plans for the day, and once I’d written on Sunspin a while spent the rest of the day horizontal in my easy chair. I did something I haven’t done in ages, which is read an entire book in one day — Lev Grossman’s The Magicians. I enjoyed the book a lot, but in an odd way, the fantasy angle was almost incidental to what I see Grossman as doing with the characters. If Quentin had been in law school then joined the Peace Corps before getting caught up in a coup in some African backwater, it would have been almost exactly the same story.

I also finally decided that what was troubling me was general body aches from fatigue, and the congestion is down to very mild seasonal allergies. Being sick going into Worldcon and the Hugos would have been awful.

Originally published at jlake.com. You can comment here or there.

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User: cuddlycthulhu
Date: 2011-08-15 13:52 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I liked The Magicians too but I found the bitterness, as well as the jaded nature of the characters, to be off-putting and something I had to struggle to get through until the end.
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scarlettina: Have A Cookie
User: scarlettina
Date: 2011-08-15 14:09 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:Have A Cookie
Glad you're taking care of yourself. Please continue to do so. ::virtual chicken soup::hugs::

Having read Grossman's first novel, Codex, I have been wary of reading The Magicians because I found Codex to be such a disappointment--an irritating disappointment. All the critics raved about it, but every single review on Amazon reflected my thoughts about the book exactly, in short: That a couple of smart characters make really stupid decisions every step of the way through the book. The plot relies on them making stupid choices. That pissed me off. So I've been reluctant to spend my time on The Magicians because I was afraid of the same, frustrating experience. Everything I've read about the book suggests that the magic is incidental to the story, the sort of thing a literary writer might do if he doesn't understand genre conventions. But that's me being a snob. So many people seem to like the book that perhaps I'll pick it up after all.

Edited at 2011-08-15 02:18 pm (UTC)
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2011-08-15 14:26 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Everything I've read about the book suggests that the magic is incidental to the story

Yep. It's kind of like Harry Potter magic, it just *is*. And unlike HP magic, nothing about the magic really drives the plot.
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Kari Sperring
User: la_marquise_de_
Date: 2011-08-15 14:21 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I'm very glad to hear it's not a cold. Take care.
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User: rekre8
Date: 2011-08-15 14:54 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Magicians is on my to-read list ...but I went to Powells last night and while they had the new hardcover of the next book all over the place in preparation of the upcoming signing, they had no copies of book 1 that I could find.

(I did bring home books 2 & 3 of a Kevin Hearne trilogy though)
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2011-08-15 15:00 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
You can always borrow my copy. :)
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User: joycemocha
Date: 2011-08-15 14:59 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Good to see that the body aches are just fatigue and the sniffles are just allergies. That's probably a lingering effect of both surgery and chemo--learning how that feels on your part and discerning the difference can be a challenge (note my speculations about whether a scratchiness is cold or allergy during the school year...).
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User: supersniffles
Date: 2011-08-16 09:47 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I'm looking forward to seeing you in Reno, since the last time I saw you in person was the Westercon at the Marriot Escher, when I shouted you over to the Reg desk to sign a book for my sweetie. (Which you totally did, thanks!!)
This time I have a paper doll for you to sign :) (Everybody except you and Chase have signed them! I just have had massive fail in hunting you down the last few years! Why do you hide from me? I'm nice!!! lol)
Take care!!!

(Also, there has been beer this evening, so I may be thinking I'm funny and failing. Sorry!)
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2011-08-16 20:17 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Happy to make with the signing (again)!
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