Hovering at just over 3000 words. Have let several people read the rough draft and gotten feedback, which I’ve incorporated. Turns out that when you’re writing for this age level, if you don’t clearly say “and then he dies,” your reader won’t realize that the character has died. When I heard, “Wait, Laertes dies?!” discussed between my daughters I had to go back and look at what I’d written was this:
Laertes, now near death himself, tells Hamlet everything: how the wine was poisoned, how the sword was poisoned, how Hamlet himself is as good as dead and just hasn’t fallen down yet. He tells Hamlet that it was all Claudius, and begs Hamlet’s forgiveness.
I guess they’re right, it’s not exactly clear :).
I’ve also got some rudimentary structure in my head that hopefully I can flesh out enough to give to non-family members and have it not look half finished. I’ve started and restarted Hamlet guides many times over the years, and I’ve always found the hardest part is in having a lot to say and not knowing the best way to organize it. This hard deadline and fixed audience is at least putting me on the right track to complete something, even if it doesn’t give Harold Bloom a run for his money.