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Novel Progress: 100,000 Words

A few minutes ago, I broke the 100,000-word mark on the novel in progress.

I'm of mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, the fact that I have managed to reach so many words on a work of fiction is something of an achievement. I've never written anything this long before, and that makes this a more substantial work than anything else I've written.

But the fact that it's not done yet bothers me on a few levels. First of all, when I had originally plotted out this book, the plot structure I had planned for it felt like it would only require 100,000 words to tell the whole story. Clearly that's not the case. The initial setup (Part One) took about 45,000 words, and the development of the main part of the plot (Part Two) has taken 55,000 words already. It'll probably end up being 60,000 words. Now, this is not necessarily a bad thing, but it does mean that the book will take longer to write than I had originally anticipated. I'm rather eager to have the manuscript finished.

The second concern I have is the question of how much of what I'm writing is necessary to tell the story, and not just padding that makes the book feel long. Now, believe me when I say that while I've been writing the novel, every scene has felt necessary, and not like padding at all. Furthermore, I've got gnomi reading my new pages each day, and she tends to agree that what I've been writing is necessary to tell the story -- although she acknowledges that I may end up doing some cutting when I revise later on.

And the third question is marketability. My understanding is that publishers tend to prefer novels between 80,000 and 120,000 words. Given that Part Three has yet to be written, there is the distinct possibility that the book might break that 120,000-word mark. If so, it may end up being harder to sell.

But all these are just the thoughts that play out in the back of my mind, when I let myself go there. For right now, I'm just going to sit back and enjoy the feeling of having completed 100,000 words of the novel.


Congratulations. I remember the feeling I had when I passed that point in writing my novel. It was a mixture of amazement and horror. On so many levels.
First off, congrats on reaching this watermark. Go have a cuppa, and relax, you deserve it.

Second, I'd be happy to beta-read when you're done with the draft, if you want another opinion, and I imagine Martha would as well. But if I beta-read, I'm pretty brutal. (I think you know this. Heh.) Be aware.

That which doesn't kill the book makes it stronger...
I may take you up on it, but I do have a few people lined up already...

And the timing will be an issue. I'll be asking people to read over a 100,000+ word novel in the space of a week or two.

Of course, first I have to do the rewrites I already know that the book needs...


Congratulations! As for your "but..."

I had the same mix of excitement and horror with my own The Course of Heaven for the same reason. As it was, it wound up being around 150K.

Revisions worked magic, though--especially the whole "set it aside for awhile and look at it later" that I fearfully wrote about yesterday in regard to my current project. In the long run that helped me chop out nearly a third of the book, to the much more normal and manageable 100K.

Re: Congratulations! As for your "but..."

I'd definitely rather have it run long in first draft, and then have to cut it in second draft. But above that, it would be nice if it didn't run long at all, as that always feels like I've done extra work that I shouldn't have needed to do in the first place.

As it is, I'm sort of rewriting as I go. I've thought of changes in Part One that will necessitate differences in Part Three...meaning that I'll be writing a Part Three that won't quite fit with what I've already written for Part One.
Mazel tov!
Yay! Look, you probably will end up cutting some, just in terms of tightening prose and the like. It'll be fine. But I totally understand your desire to have it be done.

And what with this being your first novel (right?) I wouldn't worry about length or anything like that until revisions. I think what's important right now is just to get the story down and write the words "THE END."
This is exactly what I was just about to say, so I'm just going to do that annoying thing and instead write:

"ditto what jenwrites said."

Oh and congrats on the milestone aspect. :)
It's not quite my first novel. Back in 2001, I finished a novel which was roughly 80,000 words. The problem is that no one bought it. It needed a lot of revision and expansion which I just wasn't up to doing at the time.

When I left my job in 2004, I decided that I would write a brand new novel and then revise it and get it done. Once this new one is finished, I plan to go back to the old one and see if I can make it work.
Ah, you're writing full-time? I loved that when I had it (i.e. when severance was in effect).
I'm writing full-time, because for the moment gnomi is supporting us. More information on this life development can be found at http://www.livejournal.com/users/mabfan/59930.html (from October 16, 2004).
Very cool. At some point, I hope to be able to do the same, but neither my career nor the $ situation is in the right spot just yet.
Yay on 100,000!!!

I always run long on my first drafts (I know you don't, but still). The way I think about it is this: Write the story the way it needs to be written, first.

Then, rewrite the story the way it needs to be told.

I was reading 13 things that do not make sense, on NewScientist.com, and I came across a mention of particle accelerators. And I thought: What if you used a pair of teleport gates, working on the subatomic level, to create an accelerator? You would no longer need miles and miles of accelerator, it could be the size of a pen. We'd have USBPocketAccelerators available! And programs like Mathematica and ChemOffice would be quickly modified to interface with them. Of course, the major OSs would work with them.

December 2016

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