Let me begin by saying that I originally began this post last night. However, I elected to hold off until today. While it’s no longer Wednesday, phase two of the WIP is now complete.
It’s been a wild ride so far, and I’m pleased to say it’s been full of surprises. While I know much remains to be done, I still feel very happy with what I have so far, and I’m gratified to have made it to this point. To have wanted to write this story for so long and finally make it this far feels even better than it did to complete Wide Horizon. It is an incredible sensation. But I am tired.
At this point, I’ve been writing this story almost nonstop for a few months, and while the process has been deeply fulfilling, it has been exhausting as well. Earnest Hemingway once said, “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” I never really felt that was accurate before, but I do now. The story thus far has left me physically and mentally drained, and barring some yet to be developed manner of creative energy transfusion, I think it’s time for a well-deserved break. Of course, with my approach to writing, “break” tends not to mean the same thing it means to most people. But at the very least I can say a period of reduced activity lies ahead.
Then again, given how things have gone so far, for all I know I’ll be back at it by the middle of next week.
Regardless, I pulled up this draft to do a thing, so I should probably go ahead and do the thing:
A few weeks ago, I remember telling a friend that, based on how things had progressed to that point, I expected the final word count of this novel to end up somewhere between 80,000-100,000 words, about 50,000 short of Wide Horizon. At this point, I find it hard to believe I’ll be able to keep it under 150,000, nor do I care. A story should be either as long or as short as it needs to be, and this one has a lot to say.
I think my perceived value of this story, however justified, has played a major role in my changing attitude toward word count. By the time I began the penultimate Part 3 of Wide Horizon, I was extremely self-conscious regarding the weighty and ballooning word count of my debut novel. But this story is different: this one feels far more worthwhile, far more important, and as such I’ve long since stopped caring about how long it ends up being. As it is, the word count I have to this point could change dramatically over the coming week of planned revision, one way or the other. So as I see it, for now I’m just going to write what needs to be written, and worry about the length after.
The revisions should certainly be interesting. I already have a pretty good idea of where and how things are going to expand, and I believe that why I have is, at the very least, the solid foundation upon which I can build something truly special. It’s truly amazing to see how this story has developed; only a few months ago I started with little more than a premise and a protagonist. Since then, those humble beginnings have expanded into a world, with its own realities, its own trials and triumphs, populated by an increasingly rich cast of unique characters.
For now, though, I am tired. Having poured so much of myself into this story, I plan to take a week away to regroup, recover, and reevaluate. Then, with new ideas in hand and the Pitch Wars submission deadline safely behind me, I will get back to work.
Though at the moment I’m looking forward to stepping back for a while, deep down I know I won’t be able to stay away for long. – MK