After a fairly pathetic weekend in terms of wordcount (1,200 words), I've still hit the 22k mark, which equates to a third of a novel. Right now, it looks like it might be around 60-90k. First feedback from long-standing betas is enthusiastic, one even said that it's the best I've done so far. This is one of the weird things about this particular project. Not only is it pretty consuming - all good projects are, and even more when they are written solo - but I keep having that feeling it's a new "voice", or a new way to use my voice.
The main character's way of seeing things is pretty understated, which lends a lot more impact to what's going on. Proof that you don't have to toss out FIVE BIG DRAMATIC WORDS IN A SHATTERED GRAMMATICAL STRUCTURE SPICED UP WITH SOME EXTRA DRAMA AND SENTIMENTALISM to get an effect.
This begins to feel a bit less like m/m fantasy and a lot more like mainstream military fantasy with some explicit sex. (Okay, a fair amount of explicit sex). But in any case, I think I'm headed the right way and it's going to be a good book, overall. Timeline has changed, too. Despite the fact it's fantasy and I'm currently making things up as I go along, I might have to do some planning and world-building, so the idea is to finish this by year-end, sooner, if that works, but I'm definitely not rushing this.
I'm also, again, changing genres. I've always loved fantasy, and in a way I'm now heading back that way. I have a few more fantasy ideas (also with explicit sex), which want to be written. One of them might be the final - finally - incarnation of that age-old story I started at 19ish and that never got off the ground for several reasons. I'll finally concede defeat and accept that it's a sci-fi story, not a contemporary. It started as a cyberpunk story in the near-future, but I'd have to do a lot of extrapolation to make it work. Some themes of that - reverse racism - don't work, others, - treatment of "state-less people" work and are important, but not quite like I would have wanted. Sometimes, you gotta bend the story to reality, rather than the other way round.
Now that I've found my feet again, I start digging around in the boxes with "beloved and abandoned" written over them. All the novel attempts that I couldn't get to work, all the oh-so-ambitious and oh-so-literary things that I never managed to pull together because, frankly, I wasn't good enough for it, and there was no genre for them, either, can now come out and play and get finished. Unfinished business is a constant stressor in my brain, so that will help. Also, ideas I still love after 13-15 years probably have something going for them.
Lots of stuff in the pipeline.