18000 / 20000 words. 90% done!
I could knock out the last 2000 words tonight, but I don't think I have the discipline or the energy. It occurs to me that I haven't talked much about this story here, except to say that it's an adaptation of The Breakfast Club that I started two years ago for reel_startrek. It was 5000 words long when I got tired of writing it, but I liked those 5000 words too much to throw them out, and I kept coming back to my WIP folder to contemplate them. This summer, when I signed up for Big Bang, I figured I might as well finish the story at last. After all, 5000 words is a lot to throw away!
Anyway, what attracted me to the Breakfast Club in the first place was that Jim Kirk seemed so perfect to play Bender, the self-destructive juvenile delinquent. Spock became Andrew, who was a jock under pressure from competitive parents in the film, but I made him a star member of the debate team in my story. Uhura is the "princess," though I'm trying to write her sympathetically, and Gaila is Allison, the weird loner. That leaves Chekov as Anthony Michael Hall's character, the tiny little whiz kid. I think that choice makes sense, but I hate writing Chekov, so his scenes are a bit of a slog. My favorite character so far has been Pike, who I cast as the principal. I set the story at George Kirk Memorial Preparatory School, which is a fancy prep school that focuses specifically on preparing students for Starfleet Academy. I imagine that Starfleet forced Pike to spend his earth-side recruiting tour there, even though he didn't really want to. In the movie, the principal character is just an enormous asshole, but I imagine Pike's situation is a little more complex. He doesn't have much exposure to teenagers, and he's used to Starfleet, where all the rules are important and people basically want to obey them. In a high school, he's required to enforce a lot of petty rules, and he's baffled by his students' seeming lack of discipline. Since he doesn't know how to engage with them, he's just a hardass. Basically, he's me on my most disgruntled days of teaching, and writing that is kind of cathartic.
In some ways, I feel like I'm cheating by adapting a movie for my big bang. The plot was handed to me, and I have the broad outlines of all the dialogue. A high school AU is so far outside my normal range of writing that I don't totally respect it. That said, it has been a good lesson in managing a very long work. I've learned a lot about writing through hard spots and about getting your story done rather than getting stuck on silly details that you can't quite get right the first time around. In fact, I learned enough that I already started a potential big bang for next year, the epic tale of Sulu and his mom.