The Young City at 31050


I’m pleased to report that The Young City has rocketed past the 30,000 word barrier, and now sits at 31,050 words. The first seven chapters are basically complete, and the story has reached a major turning point that should (I hope) lead me down to the exciting climax.

Rosemary and Time and Fathom Five both clocked in at around 40,000 words, so it looks like The Young City is three-quarters complete, but there is still a lot of work left to go. Peter and Rosemary have to start investigating Aldous in earnest. Peter will get captured by Aldous, and Rosemary and Faith will have to take refuge in the sewers (which I hope will make for a few tense scenes that keep readers reading), and then somehow I have to tie up all of the elements, with the additional portals, and the river, etc, etc, etc, in a satisfying conclusion. That might happen within 10,000 words, but I doubt it. If I go well beyond 40,000 words, however, I won’t be too concerned, as subsequent revisions will always bring down the word count.

I’ve been thinking about what to do for my next story, once The Young City is complete. I think it would be wise if I stepped away from Rosemary and Peter for a while, creating another character in another setting. Branching out is always good and, besides, that way I could send around two novels to prospective publishers instead of just one and a bunch of sequels.

Erin’s given me an idea about a story set in Toronto’s underground city (the large downtown shopping mall that extends between the stations of the city’s subway network). Something to do with goblins and trolls, perhaps. Maybe the TTC dug its subway too deep and woke up a nest, so the goblins take some office space underground and rent out their trolls to clubs as bouncers. And maybe some young woman and her friends stumble upon the conspiracy. I know it doesn’t sound like much, but it’s early days, and Fathom Five started out with Erin saying “why don’t you write a story about Peter being an orphan; maybe some faeries try to convince him he’s a changeling?” So you can see that from small ideas, big novels grow.

My total Rosemary and Peter output has topped 110,000 words, actually, all in the span of two years. Not bad, even if I do say so myself…

Young City Scorecard:
Seven Chapters
124 pages
31050 words

Here’s the scene I finished today, taking us to the end of chapter seven, and the big turning point. In it, Rosemary and Peter have made up after their argument, and Rosemary is starting to come to terms with the fact that she can’t make it home. And then I throw her a big curve ball…

Rosemary dotted her letters and set the quill pen to rest in its holder. She reached for a cloth, then hesitated, noticing that her hands were clean of ink splotches, for once. Come to that, so was the paper. She gave an impressed, self-congratulatory grunt.

Outside, men and women strode past on Yonge Street, their boots muffled by the falling snow.

She looked up as the door chimed, and set the receipts aside. “May I help you?”

A tall, well-dressed gentleman doffed his hat. “Good afternoon, madam; is Mr. Watson available?”

“He’s stepped out on business,” said Rosemary. “Can I help?”

“Perhaps.” The gentleman unfolded a slip of paper. “My associates took delivery of a consignment of wrist watches, one gross. This is the paperwork.”

Rosemary looked at the slip. “This must be the merchandise Edmund picked up at that bankruptcy.”

“No doubt,” said the gentleman. “For the most part, we are happy with the product, but we did discover a handful of watches that did not work. Mr. Watson said I could return these defective items for credit.” He set a paper bag containing a half-dozen narrow boxes on the counter.

“I’ll have to ask Edmund,” said Rosemary.

“I understand. I’ll leave the watches with you and return. You may contact me at this address.” He handed her a card advertising a jewellery store on King Street. He turned for the door, tipping his hat to her as he left.

Rosemary watched him go, then took one of the boxes. “Let’s see what’s wrong with you.” She sat at the desk and rifled through the drawers until she found the jeweller’s glass she’d modified with a loop of wire so it could rest on her head and hang over the right lens of her glasses. She held the watch by its leather band and peered at the back, opening the cover with a jeweller’s screwdriver.

She stared at the insides for a long moment, frozen as a statue.

She grabbed the back cover and peered at it through the lens. Then she snatched off the jeweller’s glass and stared at the cover with the naked eye.

She swallowed. “Peter!” she shrieked.

But she was the only one in the store.

An hour later, she paced the kitchen like a caged animal. She stopped as the back door opened.

Peter entered, blowing on his hands and stomping the snow from his feet. He beamed when he saw her. “Hey, Rosemary, what are you do—” He squawked as Rosemary grabbed him by the wrist and hauled him upstairs to their apartment. “Rosemary, what— I thought you said we weren’t—”

Rosemary slammed the door. “Look at this!” She couldn’t keep still as Peter stared at the watch in bewilderment. “One of Edmund’s customers returned this as defective merchandise. I looked at it and found out why it was defective. Look! Look at the writing on the back! Look, Peter!”

Peter peered at the back of the watch. He froze. Slowly, he raised his gaze to her. “Made… in Taiwan?”

Rosemary nodded. “The battery ran down.”

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