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September 07, 2006


Just finished a chapter that's been giving me fits for a week. And it's been driving me nuts because the next chapter after it is the really excellent chapter where Jane Sagan finally gets to kick some ass, full on Agincourt style, if you know what I mean, and you don't, at least, not until you read the book. That chapter will be pure creamy sweetness to write, but before I could get to it, I had to finish Mr. Difficult Chapter, the one which had to set up the pure buttery ass-kicking chapter. And it just. Did. Not. Want. To get finished. Well, now it's finished. And I say: Ha! Yes, HA! I'm the writer, and sooner or later that chapter was going to see it my way.

Barring The Last Colony suddenly sprouting another chapter, I'm three chapters and ~13k words from the end (I thought I was only ~10k words from the end earlier this week, but -- surprise! -- I needed some more words. Hey, I said this chapter was a pain in my ass). The good news here is that this is the downslope: All the plot threads are coming back into each other, and it's just a matter of tying them off.

I'm really looking forward to this next chapter. I've been promising myself a chapter chock full of explody violence (while still, of course, being integral to the plot), and now here we are. My toes are just all a-wiggle in anticipation.

Posted by john at September 7, 2006 10:56 PM

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Wan Zafran | September 7, 2006 11:36 PM

Interesting to know that you're very passionate about the completion of said chapter, Mr Scalzi. I wonder how you'll react once the entire book is finished.

John Scalzi | September 7, 2006 11:54 PM

I'll sleep for three days straight, most likely.

Matt | September 8, 2006 12:01 AM

Does this chapter involve longbows? And lots of French Cavlary? Cause that would just be wierd.

John Scalzi | September 8, 2006 12:08 AM

Just you wait.

Steve Brady | September 8, 2006 12:24 AM

All the plot threads are coming back into each other, and it's just a matter of tying them off.

Let's have none of them cliffhangers now.

"That's too much for the audience to have to think about. They have to know that the guy's name is Cliff, they have to know that he's on a cliff, and that Cliff and the cliff is the same. It's too cerebral!"

Don't mind me, I've been cleaning out my fridge full of beer.

TB84 | September 8, 2006 01:17 AM

Man I get excited when I finish a letter at work. I could only imagine my glee finishing a book.

Which reminds me of a time in elementary school when we learned that sometimes, especially in writing, that it is more difficult to succinctly write less than more....

Andrew Pontious | September 8, 2006 01:22 AM

<SPECULATION>Matt, it doesn't involve longbows, but I would bet good money it involves, one one side, a military force confident and cocky in its own track record, tactics, technology, and numbers, and on the other side, a smaller force depending on paradigm-changing new weapons to save the day.</SPECULATION>

abi | September 8, 2006 01:41 AM

I suspect it involves a very moving rendition of "Non Nobis" at the end.

elizabeth bear | September 8, 2006 02:20 AM

There should be a mastiff. There was a famous mastiff at Agincourt.

Three days? I usually sleep for a week.

Revolvyerom | September 8, 2006 04:05 AM

Just out of curiosity. I'm an organizationaly freak, and I'm trying to picture it. How do you keep track of your plot threads? I realize you might not have a large number to deal with, but how each character ties into them and joins/leaves them, would drive me absolutely batty trying to plot out.

Is it all in your head, or is there a whiteboard covered in Scalzi scribblings and diagrams?

John Scalzi | September 8, 2006 07:06 AM


"I suspect it involves a very moving rendition of 'Non Nobis' at the end."

Don't forget the tracking shot!

Steve Buchheit | September 8, 2006 07:45 AM

We few, we happy few, we band of clones.

Hmm, doesn't quite ring.

John Scalzi | September 8, 2006 08:21 AM


"We few, we happy few, we band of me."

Steve Buchheit | September 8, 2006 08:26 AM

Okay, then we're into a Beatles song.
"I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together."

Although the walrus, as a symbol of death, probably works well for Sagan.

Steve Buchheit | September 8, 2006 08:32 AM

Forgot to add the smilie :)

John Scalzi | September 8, 2006 08:35 AM

That's silly. Everyone knows Sagan is the egg man.

John H | September 8, 2006 08:47 AM



Steve Buchheit | September 8, 2006 08:49 AM

I thought "they" were the egg men. I am the walrus, goo goo g'joob.

Think I'll go climb the Eiffle Tower with Egar Allen Poe, you know, just for kicks.

Thank the gods for iPods. Had to play that song twice to get it out of my head.

BTW, good job on the chapter.

Jeff Hentosz | September 8, 2006 08:54 AM

I just did it! I iTuned "Non Nobis" to confirm the melody in my head even though the Henry V soundtrack is on a shelf right on the other side of this wall. Yaaay, me!

[ponder; fingers under jawline] hmmm, better check if there's still a stationary bike in the house...

Steve Buchheit | September 8, 2006 08:56 AM

Jeff, you should set up a webcam to keep track of the bike, and other possesions. Just a thought. :)

Jeff Hentosz | September 8, 2006 09:07 AM


Good idea! One iSight on its way from the Apple Store. That'll give me time to set up this MindStorm robot to retrieve the mail. hmmm...better check if there's still a wife in the house...

JonathanMoeller | September 8, 2006 09:21 AM

So Jane Sagan, while suffering from ferocious dysentery, will use longbows and thick mud to wipe out a large percentage of the French nobility?

I *thought* I saw that foreshadowed during a few places in Ghost Brigades.

Steve Buchheit | September 8, 2006 09:24 AM

Jeff, checking of the spouse is a good job for those personal radios, might want to order a pair of those as well. If they don't respond then either you need new batteries, might want to order those to start, or that they've gone out of range. That may spell trouble.

BTW, John, you've been a naughty boy and let your face grow long.

Just couldn't resist that line anymore.

Chang | September 8, 2006 09:53 AM

Wow. Sounds ass-kicking good.

And there was a rocket attack a few weeks ago!

This looks to be bang up explosivetacularistical... ism... ish.

Okay, gotta go pay bills now.

Bryan Price | September 8, 2006 09:58 AM

I've been anticipating this novel. :-D

Chang | September 8, 2006 10:30 AM

I've been anticipating this novel. :-D

Ditto that. I gotta go steal TGB back from my mom to tide me over.

Must read very slowly... Long way to February.

Tripp | September 8, 2006 10:47 AM

Please remember, when filming the fight scene in the movie, to have pro and an tagonists wearing strongly contrasting colors so that the viewer can easily tell them apart, because I hate it when I can't tell who is winning - "good guy" or "bad guy." Even if they are lobbing missiles instead of personally grappling I need to know instantly 'good guy' or 'bad guy.'

Which takes me off topic but isn't "Ultimate fighting" about the most homo-erotic thing you've ever seen? When they take the action to the mat, well, I'm thinking they should just get a room at that point.

Hugh | September 8, 2006 01:20 PM

"ultimate fighting" = "homo-erotic"; hadn't sprung to mind before, but I am now afraid it might :-)

Chuk | September 8, 2006 01:42 PM

Why not just write the fun chapter first? Or is it like eating dessert before dinner? Maybe you could just write a little of the fun chapter, then go back and do part of the hard one.

(And I just finished OMW two days ago...very nice!)

Mark DF | September 8, 2006 02:03 PM

So, do you do what I do when you are *this close* to the end of a book: For no reason but excitement, keep writing until 3:30 a.m. to finish, only to crawl in bed and whisper "I finished" and get the response "Nice. Get off my pillow."

John Scalzi | September 8, 2006 02:09 PM


"Why not just write the fun chapter first?"

Because I need to know how the other chapter works before I can write the next one. I don't write from an outline, so there are things I don't know about the story until I write them. Sounds haphazard, but it's true.

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