Tag Archives: big books

Purple Bangs

So I dyed my bangs purple. It’s another one of things I’ve been doing lately just because. It’s a little unsettling, because I’ve been a huge self-analyzer since…well…probably as long as I can remember. And now I’m doing things just because I can. No internal struggle over the why. No big identity crisis.

Though, I’m probably directly contradicting myself here, because obviously I’m worried enough about it to talk about it. My nervousness about dying my hair in Portland of all places is pretty silly; and of all things to do when having a just-do-it moment, dying your hair is minor. It’s not permanent. It’ll wash out or grow out or whatever.

Or maybe it’s more along the lines of I didn’t have an identity crisis before deciding to dye my hair, but I’m wondering about it now. It goes along with the whole concern about identity that’s happening post-graduation: my sense of self and esteem has been tied to school for so long I’m feeling in limbo. Change in the moment isn’t necessarily scary because everything seems to be changing, but afterwards it’s like, did I just make everything worse?

Anyway, let’s move on from the whining session.

My word count for the novel I’m working on has a current total of just under 120k words. That’s definitely the largest I’ve ever written. Everything I’d researched before always said that novels really shouldn’t be over 100k, soooo, I kinda freaked myself out about having to cut scenes and gave myself writer’s block for a few days. (However, I have been doing more research about book lengths and I might be more alright than I think). Editing will probably take that down a bit. But anyway, I pulled myself out of it last night and wrote the ending scene. That helped. I’ve just got one more scene to write before I can bring the story full circle. . .

(We’re just going to skitter away from the whole idea I might have this novel done soon before I start spazzing out)

Speaking of finishing a novel! A few days left before NaNoWriMo starts. It’s been really fun to read all of the comments on it; some of you are really excited, some of you are done with all the updates about it already, and some of you are just like whatever. I can’t decide if I’m going to participate or not. I never have before, mostly because writing at least 50k words while attending college is a bit difficult, and this year I don’t have that in the way. On the other hand, I’m not quite sure I’m going to have the energy to write that much after wrangling my current project.

(I know, waaaa. Boo-hoo to me.)

But, there is also something very clarifying about moving from one project to working on another, at least for me. Maybe it’s because after working on something for so long it’s harder to step back and see the big picture. Moving to another project provides the break to allow clarity. Also, I think that focusing on a different story with different characters and places and tone allows for the subtleties of the first story to be more apparent when returning to it. There’s always the danger of screwing up the tone of the first one, but I think if the author is aware of it, it can be beneficial.

What do you think? Does working on a couple or few projects aid in your process, or does it hinder your ability to see the individual stories clearly?

(and is 120k words too long?)


What Is It With Those Pesky Emotions

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Writing was a bit off last week…

Yes, again. I’ve been in a wee bit of a funk with that whole done-with-college-now-need-a-job-also-didn’t-write-for-two-months-because-I-was-in-DC thing. Coupled with personal relationship stuff that rather exploded, that was a no on the whole writing subject.

What is it about emotions that really screws everything up? And how interesting is it that they meld with different people’s creativity in such a variety of ways? I can’t write when I’m depressed. Angry, happy, excited, amorous – definitely. But sad or depressed? Forget it. Yet I know a few people who churn out pages the best when they’re depressed.

(Hey that rhymed)

Moving on, Monday was FINALLY a break through. I sat down (actually, laid down in bed) and wrote for about four hours. I fixed two holes. Did some editing. I think, between Monday night and some spotty writing the day before, I added about 1,500 words. Coupled with yesterday, another great writing day…I think I added another 1,000.

This brings my total to a little over 103k words. Yeesh! I think this book might be long. Is it too long, do you think? I’m not sure why this particular one got so much longer – and why it keeps getting longer. I know how long the ending scene will be since I’ve basically written it already…and that adds quite a bit of length. I’m starting to realize I’m going to have a problem on my hands when I get this thing finished – I’m going to have to start cutting. Maybe a lot.

But! I make myself focus every time I go down that rabbit hole. I’ve got to finish the thing before I can figure out what can be cut and/or rearranged.

The length has a lot to do with how many different seeds I’m planting in setting up for later books. There’s so much more with this one I’m actually trying to say, and coupled with the tendency of my characters to take off running, it’s turning into a giant epic. Hopefully not a giant epic mess. Sometimes I worry I’ve got way too much complexity and mystery going on here.

In an attempt to counteract this, I’ve started enacting a Rule of Three when making sure the reader gets something. If I’m trying to relay a point, portray something about the world they’re placed in, or set up for further mystery or revelation, I’ll mention it three times. Maybe it’s a very discreet three times. Maybe it’s more obvious. But I put it in there three times.

. . . Hopefully that works.

Needless to say, the end is in sight for this one. What are your thoughts on length of novels? What about complexity and sewing seeds for future books – should an author stick to a simple and elegant plot for the book, or can they drops things here and there that only come to fruition in later books?