Benny and his friend Griffin at Ocean Beach in San Francisco.

Tuesday, December 03, 2002

Victory Dance!

I have emerged victorious from Thanksgiving week with a refrigerator stuffed with turkey leftovers and ... a finished novel!

Yup, I wrote a 50,039-word novel in exactly 26 days, which adds up to 1,924.587 words a day. Actually, it didn't work like that. Sometimes I wrote 3,000-4,000 words a day in a mindless frenzy. On other days, I wrote nothing at all and spent my designated two hours staring horror-stricken out the window.

But all that is behind me now. Last week I gathered myself for the final push, with Ron poking food at me under the door. I emerged briefly to host Thanksgiving and stuff a turkey.

The moment of truth came at 2 a.m. on Saturday morning when I wrote THE END. I pulled out Ron's going-away gift from the SFBT (that wacky musical 49ers football player) and we danced insanely.

Then I did a word count -- 49,759! Aaagh! I needed another 241 words!

So what does a sleep-deprived, clearly unhinged, hack author do then? Well, it's a science fiction story, so I thought that Kepler's Laws of Planetary Motion would add some scientific credibility (and 61 words). After all, what novel coudn't benefit from such a sentence as: "The ratio of the squares of the revolutionary periods for two planets is equal to the ratio of the cubes of their semimajor axes."

But that left 81 words, even after counting a dedication, the title page and all the chapter titles. (I started each chapter with a pull quote as well, so
I got credit for the same quote twice. Ha!)

So I wrote ... a glossary. Yup. I defined some of the cheap scientific tricks I used to aid the plot. I described the planet Venus' annual Aorta Festival (featuring a beating-heart float and an Artery of Ceremonies). Shameless, I know, but it worked!

I've printed up all 172 pages of this thing, put it in a binder and now I have an interesting doorstop for our home office.



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