I'm closing in on the end of Misfits. I'm guessing it'll top out at 75,000 words, which is a bit on the long side for a YA novel but not ridiculously long. I'm 68k words in right now.
Writing it has been strange. I became obsessed with it a week before Mom had her stroke, and it was only natural for me to continue working on it at the hospital. But one part of the book concerns the main character's trouble with his mother; he's sixteen and doesn't always get along with her. It felt really weird to be writing arguments between the two when my own mother was lying in a hospital bed next to me and I was doing everything I could to make her comfortable.
I did a lot of thinking about my own teenage years. I was a pretty good kid, but Mom and I fought a lot--about stupid stuff, in retrospect. I'd scream at her and make her miserable, and those memories made me damn miserable in the late evenings while Mom was sleeping and I was trying to write. I wish I had known as a teenager just how tolerant and kind my mom really was.
But it's those memories of screaming at my mom that she was unfair that allow me to dig into the mind of a fictional teenager and really understand how he feels. So I guess that's just one more thing my mom did for me.
I have, of course, apologized to her repeatedly for my teenage self. That she finds it all amusing now says a lot about her.