It's the usual time to panic: my next spring_with_xan day is next Saturday, which gives me 9 days to finish the story, revise, edit, rewrite, doubt, have a crisis, find renewed hope, rewrite, proofread, and post. And preferably get somebody else to read it (my intrepid beta reader, bless her) and tell me what needs to be cut. And bonk me over the head. And reassure me that other things are working by failing to complain about them. 12K words at the moment, and that would all be very well if the outline wasn't obviously calling for another 6K or so. Which means that draft 2 should be about making it shorter, only I fear I will be in the position of the writer who apologized for writing a long letter because he didn't have time to write a short one. (Variously attributed to Samuel Clemens, E. B. White, and Churchill; dunno who really said it; feel free to attribute to your favorite writer.)
I was dreaming over a few scenes last night, Ethan talking to Giles and Xander, and it lurched a few steps toward plotty from h/c emo wallow. Though it's got tons of that and will regardless of the plottiness of the midsection. Two days ago I wrote the last two scenes and they've got teh wallow. Also, teh Wesley and teh Angel. Thus I have non-stop brood action.
The story is somewhat important to me personally, for reasons I might or might not ever explain, and influenced by a dream I had recently. This makes me extra-suspicious of the emotions my characters are experiencing, and inclined to work extra-hard to make sure it's all justified and in-character.
If you see another installment of Blackmail, know that I'm doing it as procrastination. I have one section of it ready to go, but unfortunately it's not the next section. There's a Buffy POV thing that needs to happen next.