This story is winning the struggle

Hopelessly talky.
Hopelessly clumsy.
Hopelessly long.
Hopelessly cliched.
Hopelessly unbalanced: the intro is long and slow-paced and meditative, but I can't sustain it. It devolves into boatloads of dialog.

Second half is only half-written. I am now estimating 24K words to write the outline fully. Am at 17K now. This is... aigh! Insane. What was I thinking when I originally thought 10K words? The opening sequence is 5000 words. My estimation skills are clearly way off. It needs to reach a complete draft and then rest for a week or two while I think it over. Only I don't have the time. Nor do I think I could pound out "Partners" part 2 for Saturday, given the plottiness of the next part (Xander and Kennedy, attempting to create a working relationship, while figuring out WTF is going on with the rift in Cardiff).

At least... I'm continuing to do some decent writing on it, time pressure aside. Bah. Nothing to do but keep writing and hope I can pull it off.

Writing soundtrack of the moment:

Eluvium / "Amreik" / Copia : 03:18
M83 / "Gone" / Dead Cities, Red Seas & Lost Ghosts : 06:07
Robyn Hitchcock & The Egyptians / "She Doesn't Exist" / Perspex Island : 04:25
Jon Hopkins / "Cold Out There" / Opalescent : 03:54
U2 / "With or Without You" / The Joshua Tree : 04:56
Robyn Hitchcock / "Autumn Is Your Last Chance" / I Often Dream Of Trains : 03:33
Jon Hopkins / "Opalescent" / Opalescent : 02:11
Explosions In The Sky / "Memorial" / The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place : 08:50
Eluvium / "Requiem On Frankfort Ave." / Copia : 02:41
U2 / "Bad" / Wide Awake in America : 08:02
Taylor Deupree / "Haze It May Be" / Northern : 09:18
Jon Hopkins / "Sleepwalker" / Contact Note : 04:34
The Album Leaf / "Seal Beach" / Seal Beach (EP Plus Bonus Tracks) : 04:09
My Majestic Star / "The Letter F" / Fining - EP : 04:58
Robyn Hitchcock & The Egyptians / "Airscape" / Element Of Light : 05:11
José González / "Heartbeats" / Veneer : 02:40
Jon Hopkins / "Fading Glow" / Opalescent : 06:58
Galaxie 500 / "Ceremony" / On Fire : 05:56
Jon Hopkins / "Lost In Thought" / Opalescent : 06:16
Ride / "Vapour Trail" / Nowhere : 04:18
Jon Hopkins / "Fairytale" / Ep 1 : 04:52
Above & Beyond featuring Zoë Johnston / "Good For Me (Original Mix)" / Good for Me : 05:42
Imogen Heap / "Hide & Seek (Randy Boyer & Eric Tadla mix)" / Speak for Yourself : 08:58
INXS / "Afterglow (Randy Boyer & Eric Tadla Remix)" / A State of Trance 294 : 06:15
Snow Patrol / "Chasing Cars (Topher Jones & Blake Jarrell Bootleg)" / Eyes Open : 08:15
Explosions In The Sky / "Your Hand In Mine" / The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place : 08:17
Anthony Stewart Head / "Staring At The Sun" / Music For Elevators : 03:31
Jon Hopkins / "Inner Peace" / Opalescent : 04:53
Ride / "Polar Bear" / Nowhere : 04:46
Brian Eno & Daniel Lanois / "Always Returning" / Apollo: Atmospheres & Soundtracks : 04:04
The Album Leaf / "The Light" / Into The Blue Again : 04:31

Running time: 02:46:19
31 tracks

The last third is unbalanced and needs work. I need to yank a few comfy favorites and find a way to build to the climax of "Polar Bear", then tail off more slowly to end with "The Light". Or maybe stick more Eno in there; "Spider and I" would make a decent closer.

Perhaps I will procrastinate by ripping my LJ layout apart. It's been the same for a long time. Need a new one. Constraints are, as usual: Giles, and body text must be dark against a light color. Hmm.
  • Current Music: The Light : The Album Leaf : Into The Blue Again
May we all find victories in our struggles to steal fiction from the gods. No, wait, wrong metaphor. Bring fiction up from the bottom of the ocean? Forge it in the fires of hell? That feels more like what this feels like...

Happy Sunday! I have a dog asleep on my feet, and I hope the SBD is providing similar anchoring services.
(blinks and gapes)

You actually work out in advance how long you expect a story to be?

(is one of those annoying writers who just plonks it out and sometimes has no clue what the hell it's about until much, much later)

OTOH, I know what you mean about fics suddenly going all talky on you. I'm working on a fic that's supposed to be the filthiest thing I've written since my half of Have Yourself a Scooby Little Orgy...but halfway through, Cordelia and Wesley are insisting on having angsty plot. The crust of them! Less talking! More sex! Get nekkid right now, you two!

(returns to ficcing, whip in hand)

Don't make me use this thing, guys, because it squicks the hell out of me.
I generally have some kind of clue about what I'm shooting for when I start, though I usually go for rough categories instead of specific word counts. About like this:

Really Short: < 1000 words
Pretty Short: < 5000 words
Regular: < 10K
Chewy: around 15K
Novella: 17.5K - 40K (according to SFWA)
Novel: > 40K

I thought at first I'd go for Story Regulah (as we Bostonians say) with this one then it turned into Chewy Story. Only now it's longer than that.

My stories almost always start out as a "wow! image! scene! situation! type type type, okay now what?" thing. I never know going in what the whole story is. I write enough to (to steal kivrin's phrase) have a conversation with it. Then I figure out what my story really is. Then I can guess about how big it is.

In this case, I discovered the plotty parts after I had a slow-paced emotional opening section. Um, now what? Eep!

I've been trying to write outlines for anything that gets over Regular length, because I've been trying to improve my "action rising to climax boom!" chops, which frankly sucked when I started doing this. (They might still suck.) Also, I feel more comfy when I have a plan. If I know where something is going, I can always jump around and write a different spot when I get stuck. And the plan itself is always up for revision if I figure out my original idea wasn't right.

I entirely approve of Wesley and Cordy getting back at it right now. Snap to it, you guys!
//My stories almost always start out as a "wow! image! scene! situation! type type type, okay now what?" thing. I never know going in what the whole story is. I write enough to (to steal kivrin's phrase) have a conversation with it. Then I figure out what my story really is. Then I can guess about how big it is.//

See, once I start writing, I never stop to decide how long it's likely to be or how it's going to be organized. I just...keep writing. There are times when that approach is more successful, and others when it's less, but I don't seem to be very good at the concept of figuring out how long it's going to go or where it's going to end. I stop writing when the characters flat-out refuse to go any further. It took me ages to recognize that I really did stop Full of Love in just the right spot. I kept waiting for that moment to resolve itself, but Buffy refused to say another word to me and there it ended.

About six months later, I re-read it and realized she was right.

right now, though, Cordy and Wesley need to get their asses in gear and take their clothes off and STOP ANGSTING! The Mad Tapper's been waiting for this fic literally for over two years now and I don't think she wanted an angstfest in the middle of all the smut. I know I don't want it there. And if they don't watch it, I'll excise the angst and plop it down in the middle of a fic where they don't get any sex at all! So there. Or maybe I'll just have Buffy and Giles go off to the party without the poopers. That'd show them. Hah!

Ve haff vays of making zem be schmutty.
So I went and re-read "Full of Love", of course. (And then more, and that led to today's fic rec for stories about Giles and Buffy placing personal ads.) It does end at the right moment, with potential for the future between them, and the next phase of their lives about to begin.
Like I said, I'm dense and it took me a while to figure out how smart Buffy and Giles were to end it right there. It's a good thing I have characters to tell me when stories are over or I'd never figure it out! LOL!

Thanks for the rec! It's been a while since I've read the other two, so I'm going to sit down with them today. That was a cool idea for reccing.
I'm of the "just start writing" and see what happens. But if I hit what feels like the halfway mark and still don't know where it's going, I generally feel the need to take a good long look (have a more in-depth conversation, let's say). One story where I feel this failed was "Supervised Slacking," which I feel like could have used a plot-plot (except it was about Giles learning how NOT to work, so I don't know how that might have worked). The vampier gang in Camden *wanted* to be plot-plot, but I didn't have the patience by then and the story was already pretty "chewy," so they got used as sort of a deux ex machina, which . . . meh. I like the story otherwise though.

And, um, I was actually going to ask you if you'd be interested in beta reading the Giles/Xander fic I just finished (from the "Xander shows up at Heathrow" plot bunny), but it sounds like you're kinda busy . . . there's no deadline for mine though and if you feel like you might like a distraction . . .

It's exactly 10,500 words. Feel totally free to say no, I just thought I'd ask.
I'd be happy to beta-read it. Email it to me @gmail in any format you got. It would also help to tell me what you're looking for in a beta-read: big stuff, little stuff, sentence stuff, or if I should just react. Squee! I like that you're writing this pairing :)