WIP Wednesday #14: Ossuary Nights

One of the reasons I got back into the habit of these weekly work-in-progress posts was to lower my stress levels a bit. I have a tendency to focus on what I should (or could) be doing, rather than what I’ve done. One project doesn’t feel like enough. Which is how you wind up working eighteen hour days and missing Christmas. But posting these little updates forces me to actually stop and think about what I’ve accomplished. Speaking of which…

The Novel-With-No-Name is hovering at the 36K mark. So, roughly seven days of work remaining, at my average writing speed. In reality, it’ll be a few more or less, depending on how the plot pans out. I know what needs to happen, but I’m fuzzy on how many words it’ll take. Big, climactic fight scenes take time to describe, especially when they happen on the icy surface of a frozen sea, and involve millions of animated corpses trying to force their way to the surface. And that’s just for starters.

These sorts of books always pose interesting problems–how do you make something fundamentally inhuman feel, well, human? Relatable. Or if not relatable, then understandable. Myself, I tend to think that when most readers say they want the unknowable, what they actually mean is ‘the knowable, but in different colors’. Perhaps that’s an uncharitable sentiment, but I can only speak to my experience.  Feel free to argue otherwise in the comments.

As mentioned on Monday, I’ve also started a new short story, titled “Cemetery Gun”. Set in the necropolisarcology known as Ossuary (AKA ‘the empire of the necromancers’), it finds the eponymous ‘cemetery gun’ (a sort of pistol carrying knight errant), Beckford, fulfilling a contract to protect the corpse of a dead aristocrat from ghouls and grave-robbers for the appointed three days. But he soon discovers that carrion-eaters and criminals aren’t the only threat to his client’s mortal remains…

I’m about 1K in at the moment. As with many of my stories of late, I’m aiming for the 3K-5K range. Lean and mean, and hopefully leaving the reader wanting more. Ossuary is proving to be an interesting sort of place, and one I’d like to revisit in future stories.

And that’s what I’ve been working on. How about you?