Finished last night around 12:30 in the morning! To celebrate, I slept. 🙂
I don’t think I’m going to get over how long this thing is and how much that’s going to turn off potential agents.
The thing about my two novels that I’ve edited so far this year, though, is that I think they’re quality work, and if they’re too long now … well, I’ll just set them aside and wait until I can cut someone’s tooth on something more manageable to build the trust. I’m a firm believer in letting a story last until its end. I’m not going to pay attention to word counts if the story wants to go beyond it. I’ll worry about that when I’m trying to sell it. Like now.
One of the things I’ve noticed is that the number of major things going on in a novel determines its length. One thing going on tends to make a short story or novella. Two things makes a short or moderate-length novel. Three makes a long novel. More … you get the idea. The nightmare novel had about three things going on. The fairy tale remix had about five, at least. Which tends to happen when you’ve got a primary protagonist and two secondaries, and you’re setting things up for a series. Dios mio! That’s why I started taking notes with this novel – character names and features, places, dates, times, dialogue ideas, etc. – which I never had to do before and now I’m going to do it forever, because my Musings file is indispensable.
Clearly, I’ve got to come up with a simpler plot one of these days, but my experience in fandom tells me that’s not going to happen any time soon.
Regardless of the marketability of this novel, which I still think is possible (and while we’re at it, the lower word counts most agents recommend confuse me, because most of the debut novels in my bookshelves are clearly over those marks), I think I’ve done excellent work with the nightmare novel and the fairy tale remix. I can’t wait to start the FTR sequel. I’m guessing I’ll start somewhere in April. If I can, I’ll write another novel after it before November’s fun-writing, but I won’t push myself into the possession novel before I’m ready.
Writing the FTR novel and the nightmare novel and then editing them over the past two months, this last year was an exercise in discipline. I hadn’t done a lot of writing for a few years, and the excuse I kept using was that there wasn’t enough time.
I decided to do an experiment, spurred by NaNoWriMo experiences in the past in which “not enough time” clearly had no real meaning to me. I decided to make time. It meant sacrificing things I enjoy doing, like watching movies and TV and reading. I didn’t give those things up, of course, I just scheduled most of my evenings and weekends for writerly things. I made sure to take breaks with movies and TV and reading, but they didn’t form the bulk of my extracurricular activities. I treated writing as a job, but not quite as work, since I don’t handle that framing very well.
And it worked. It was difficult. Sometimes, I felt like what I was writing was crap and a waste of time. Sometimes I hit actual cold pockets of despair. Other times, the creativity writing demands transcended some of my lower moods. It definitely kept my brain from stagnating into depression, which is apparently what happens when I don’t give myself regular problem solving tasks – and what is writing a book? A giant, multi-level problem solving task.
I wrote and edited two large novels in one year. And if possible, I’m going to do it again, not even counting the fun-writing that I do on the side. Because now I know I can do it, and I know how much good it does me to put myself through all the trials and tribulations of it. Writing is something that I’m solid with. It’s my rock island, my oasis, in the midst of many whirlpools and storms and high waves, ever shifting, always dangerous and terrifying.
I love my novels, I love to write, and I’m not stopping any time soon.
Things I’m looking forward to sharing if this novel gets picked up: I have a series of blog posts in my draft file, I have a chapter title list that makes me chuckle, and I have the story soundtrack. I’m big on playlists for atmosphere while I’m writing.
Things I’m worried about if this novel gets picked up: That the cover will not represent my protagonist. This is incredibly important to me. I’m full of Ideas, and I know that I’ll likely have very little say, and that worries me. It’s a whole lot easier to market a story with a cover that whips up your enthusiasm. (And before someone says “self-publishing,” I know it’s an option, and one I’m willing to consider, but heaven help me, I’m willing to let other people make money by doing the things I’m really not interested in doing. It’s called delegating.)