I think I’ll take a short break from this writing thing to give everyone an update on my Camp NaNo progress. I’m sure you’ve all been waiting, holding your breath even, wanting to see how I’ve been doing with it. As always, there’s a short version and a long version. For the impatient, the short version is the book is coming along very well.
For everyone else, the long version is… well, it’s still going well, but there’s details! I know you want details. 😉
From Heights We Fall is now 106,795 words. Yes, I cracked the 100k barrier. In 15 days. No, not done yet, though I’m really hoping I won’t get past 150k. *starts praying*
Those who have been here through a couple of books already know this, but for anyone new to this blog, I’m REALLY bad at guesstimating the length of my books. They used to turn out way shorter than I expected. These days, they’re getting longer. I wish it was just excess verbiage, I really do. It isn’t. They’re just getting more complex as I become more practiced at this whole storytelling thing. That obviously takes more space to tell. The trend is becoming alarming.
You see, the first draft of Bound was 75k words. By the end of that trilogy, I’d worked up to about 90k for first drafts.
Enter Devan and Necromantic. The first draft of Where The Ether Flows, his first book, was short, I’ll admit. Just 77k (that changed to 112k by the time I finished first revisions). That trilogy got up to 107k by the end. No, I haven’t done the first round of revisions on that one yet.
Since then, I haven’t written a novel shorter than 120k. Um…
Right, this is getting crazy. I’m not sure if I have to work on simplifying the stories or what. I know Saul won’t like that idea, because his story is busy pretzeling itself with complexities. I’m trying not to think of how long those novels might be. If I do, I might start to hyperventilate.
There are a number of reasons why length worries me, and most of them are practical.
Especially in the first draft, my general philosophy is that the story takes as long as it takes to tell. I mean, be reasonable obviously (please, muse, be reasonable), but you have to take the time and space to explore what it needs to be.
No one point out the irony of someone who drafts this fast saying you need to take time. Seriously, no matter how funny that might be (it is), don’t. 😉
But when it comes time to revise, really long books are a pain. If I write 150k word book, I have to go through ALL of those words for revisions. Multiple times. It takes longer. And I have a piss-poor memory. I forget things, both while I’m writing and while I’m editing. I can’t tell you how often I try to remember, for continuity, who had what color hair and eyes and keep questioning what I think I remember. If it wasn’t me, it would be comical.
I’m not planning to change my ways, and I do think more complex stories are good. I just have to find a way to deal with this trend. There has to be a way.
Viz and Reah have been making my life interesting in plenty of other ways too, not just on the length front. They’re messing with the outline, helped along gleefully by Conray. These guys are killing me. If I didn’t love them so much…
My outline always lays out the events of the novel in the order they’re supposed to come. Key word there, supposed to. Sometimes one or two get moved a bit. These guys are moving stuff like it’s going out of style. I keep getting to portions of my outline and realizing, wait, that already happened and then I have to figure out what the fallout is. This, you might imagine, creates a domino effect. The fallout gets moved up, so when I get to that part of the outline, we end up deeper into that whole thread than I planned to go. It’s enough to drive this author to drink. (mmm, hot chocolate with Kahlua in it.)
And then there’s Conray. He continues to believe he knows better than I do and picks his own path. And damn if he isn’t right. That subplot? So much better now. Apparently I shouldn’t be in charge, at least not of him. My prince knows better. At least he doesn’t even pretend to let me get in his way. What’s most interesting about this is the way this too is having a domino effect. In this case though, it’s about the effect on other characters, particularly Reah. Without wanting to give too much away, essentially, the way he’s actually turning out and behaving is forcing her to think more about what she feels and for who. Also, it’s complicating the question of what she wants. I love it, and it’s kind of pushing her to do what I needed in the first place. Like I said, Conray knows what he’s doing. It’s his author I’m not so sure about. 😉
Finally, all these changes and developments are having a salutory effect on my plans for book 3. ALL the ideas are starting to flow in for that, including an actual role for Conray (I swear, this is why he’s doing this to me, it has to be, so he can get page time in that book, greedy sucker). Things are going to get very unpleasant for everyone in book 3. I mean like EVIL AUTHOR kind of unpleasant.
Oh wait, that’s how I always write book 3. 😀