Word count for the WIP is now forty thousand (40,000).
One of the main threads in the story is currently dealing with a lot of “normal life” stuff, exactly the sort of thing the author usually doesn’t write about. It’s important for the story, though, and not as “normal” as it looks on the surface.
This is what’s happening: Brygida had an extremely unpleasant experience a week ago, and her friends want to cheer her up, help take her mind of what happened, etc. So they want to take her out to dinner somewhere. Brygida thinks this is a good idea… and also thinks they ought to invite her friend Jason, whose social life is almost nonexistent these days. (Brygida knows why, even if the others don’t, and she wants to do something to help.) So they’re gonna trick Jason into going with them — he thinks it’ll just be Brigida, Geoffrey, and him, because he doesn’t know that Geoffrey’s new girlfriend Jen and her friend Elena will also be there.
Yes, that Elena: she appears briefly in The Madness Engine, one of Paul’s already-published novels. I’m delighted to finally have more story with her in it, but I’m also aware of all the difficulties the rest of the in-story year will bring. And then there will be the first several hours of the new year… So I guess it’s not all bad, right?
Meanwhile, Jon has gone back to the place where he grew up and run into problems of exactly the sort he’d been trying to avoid by staying away for so long. It is my understanding that in a few more chapters (of his story thread), he’s going to run into someone who mistakes him for someone else. (Minor spoiler, if you haven’t read Paul’s other novels: Lyra and Em are on Rhyddid, Jon’s home planet, and Lyra at first mistakes Jon for her colleague Brennen.) Then he’s going to get tangled up in whatever they’re doing… and thus set the stage for something that happens in the as-yet unpublished (but written, minus a few small revisions) fifth book of The Awakening, the series for which the current WIP is a prequel. Jon says something in that book about having met Em before, even though the author had no idea at the time how that happened. So now the author is writing about how that happened. (I could draw a parallel to someone else’s writing process, but I think Jon would object to the comparison, for multiple reasons.)