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Progress Report 2022 Week 28

Even though I had a very clear idea of where I wanted to take the plot this week, a quiet voice in the back of my mind nagged at me. It got so bad that I had to stop and figure out what it was trying to tell me. What might that have been? It was trying to tell me that the title for the third book, Evolution’s Hand Book 2: Primary Target, was a lie. That sounded really serious! And it was. I’ll talk about it after I share the numbers (which aren’t lies — as far as I know, anyway!).

Progress Report 2022 Week 28 By the Numbers

I can’t complain about the word count this week! But — was it all for nothing?

Looking at my output, I wrote about five chapters for a total 10,579 words. That’s a little bit of misleading, because I had to rework a few passages in previous chapters. But not many, and not nearly as many as I was afraid I was going to have to! Let’s talk about that now.

Not Living Up to the Title

Flirting with Disaster

I’m into Pinch 2 for all six main arcs. In his YouTube series about plotting, Dan Wells called this part of the plot “the jaws of defeat.” At this point in the story, I need my heroes to be in a very, very bad way. Specifically, I needed TCP and their machinations to crush Melchizedek “Dek” Conrad, Matsushita Sachi, Atticus Porter, and Ira Malhotra. Matsushita’s arc is in good shape. She’s pushed farther than at any point in any previous material. Malhotra’s back is up against the wall (almost literally); Porter’s not in great shape, either. But Conrad?

The dude was seriously inconvenienced. And that was all! The title of the book is Primary Target. Not Inconvenienced Target. That’s not nearly as dramatic, is it?

In a panic, I dove into the plot braiding worksheet to see where I’d gone wrong. It looked fine; the slings and arrows were all there. Did I screw up the individual chapters?

Had I missed something basic? If so, that’d be a huge time-wasting mistake!

I went to the first two chapters for the primary antagonist, Jadwiga Janczak. Even in that prose, all the precursors were in place. She and her fellow TCP VPs came up with a plan that their CEO, Helmine Stein, blessed. It would put TransStell, and therefore Conrad, into dire straights (so many cliches…). So where I had gone wrong? Was I going to have to undergo a massive rewrite even before I’d finished the first draft?

I’m an Incomplete Idiot

Fortunately — and it’s rare this works in my favor — I’m an idiot. In Janczak’s chapter, I had cataloged TCP’s plans. But I had not carried them forward. Fortunately, I found in almost every case, the chapters for Conrad, Matsushita, or Porter had what were almost place-holders for these events. It’s like my subconscious noticed my consciousness had completely lost its way, shook its head in pity, and managed to put the hooks in anyway.

I feel like I should buy my subconscious a drink or something.

So I spent the latter part of the week bringing the fruits of TCP’s labors forward. When I’m done, I think the plot’s going to live up to the title. And I think I completely ruined Conrad’s day.

Well, he’s a characters in one of my books. He knew what he was in for when he signed up.

Progress Last Week

Here’s the abbreviated scorecard for the tasks from the previous week:

  1. Finish Atticus Porter’s midpoint (this time for sure!): Done!
  2. Finish Jack Booth’s midpoint: Done!
  3. Start Ira Malhotra’s midpoint: Done! — actually, I finished it!

I even threw in a bonus completion:

  1. Matsushita Sachi’s Pinch 2: Done!
  2. Atticus Porter’s Pinch 2: Done!
  3. Melchizedek Conrad’s Pinch 2: Done!

Maybe the terror I felt when I thought I’d completely dropped the ball on the plot motivated me to get more done. If that’s the case, I think I’ll be content with a little less productivity — I do not like that level of uncertainty. That’s especially true when I’m 116,000+ words into the draft!

I’m going to file this week in the “all’s well that ends well” folder.

Goals for the Week in Progress Report 2022 Week 28

  1. Finish reaping what TCP sowed
  2. Finish Ira Malhotra’s Pinch 2
  3. Finish Jadwiga Janczak’s Pinch 2
  4. Start Jack Booth’s Pinch 2 (stretch objective)

What Do You Think?

Have you ever gotten 1/2 to 2/3 of the way into a book and feared you were on the wrong track? How did you recover? I’d love to hear about your experience in the comments!