Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Great December Writer's Challenge Day 2

So... That is why I am avoiding the use of daily goals.

The moment I logged off, I got sucked into the black hole known as chores. By the time I got back, I dropped onto the bed and fell asleep. The town I live in has summer winds - which means that at night, all the windows rattle and wake me up.


Anyway, my writing is a bit behind what I wanted to do. So today I want to get a lot of writing down. Will I be able to write enough? No idea, but I'll take a whack at it.

Then of course, I was reminded yesterday of the fact that the industry standard word count has been lowered. So... 80k words.

Not a chance.

There is really no way I can write this story in half the word-count I planned on when I started. This leaves me in a bit of a dilemma. I might finish and fail to sell the book.

On the other hand, as far as I know, the word count cut has to do with the number of pages the get printed on. In short: the Recession.

Good news? The recovery should come some time, bringing back my word count.

Bad news? I have no idea when that will happen.

I hate not knowing when something will happen.

On the up-side, my story doesn't exactly follow current trends found in the Fantasy genre. So I can pretty much take my time... The only thing that keeps me in a hurry is me. I really want to finish Doorways.

When I do, I'll leave it simmering for a month before starting the rewrite. In the mean time, I'll finish my other WiP (which is almost halfway) before getting stuck in with Guardian. Both of these is sure to fit nicely into the 80k word count, since the story lines aren't remotely as complex as those found in Doorways. 

If the rewrite on Doorways is done, I'll check the market and check the book. If it is still necessary by then, I'll see about splitting it in two. Still, I hardly find this option attractive, since Doorways is intended as part of a series of four books. I don't enjoy the idea of forcing a fifth book into the start. 

But then I think, I am getting waaaay ahead of myself.  After all. I need to get Doorways done first...

Any of you in the same boat? How do you deal with it?


  1. To be honest, I think the industry standard has changed because there has been a shift in what's popular for point of view in the last century. A lot of fantasy books used omniscient and that takes a LOT more words than any other point of view choice (think Lord of the Rings). Now, the popular point of views require less words to tell the story.

    Don't get hung up on word count yet :) If your story IS complex enough to hold a higher word count, an agent will probably see that. You also have the potential of going for two books instead of trying to fit it all in one.

    Just write it and THEN decide :) After a few critique partners look at it, there may be room to cut or trim. Stay positive!

    I think I can get my book done in 80k, but I made choices along the way to make sure that happened. Or at least gave me a good chance! I'll cross that bridge when it happens haha

  2. Good point!

    Doorways is written from the view of two groups. Their stories intertwine and lead to the end, but the one can't succeed without the other.

    Which means that I'm writing two books twisted into one.

    Crit Partners and refining will come up, but right now, I think few people would be willing to put up with my handwriting. :-P

  3. I agree with Jessica. First, write the story that you have inside you, after that worry about the word count. There are small presses too and e-publish houses that are more open than traditional publishers. When all else fails, you can pay your own editor and cover artist and e-pub it yourself.

    I have an award for you on my blog.
    N. R. Williams, fantasy author

  4. I love huge books - there is certainly a market for it out there. So I wouldn't worry so much about wordcount. Worry about making it the best book that you can and you will find readers for it!

    And the market is always changing. It could be that by the time you are ready to publish they will want huge books again :)

  5. In my humble opinion, for what it’s worth, I think you should finish the story. If it’s as good as I’m sure it is, there will be a market for it.
    The enigmatic, masked blogger

  6. I wouldn't worry about it. Can't change the "standard" or how/when things get back up so just write, girl! Don't focus on the word count. Tell your story. Then get it edited. Then worry about it's length when and agent/editor says "too long" or "too short" till then no worries!

  7. Thanks so much for commenting guys! I completely agree with you on this. :-)

  8. I don't think the perceived "market" should dictate the size of a book, but the story should dictate the size of a book. Go with your original instincts of what you wanted to do and then rethink it all when you finish if you have to. I don't think you'll have to adjust much if what you end up with is good enough and if it's not good enough it won'd matter whether you split the story up.

    Tossing It Out

  9. Good point Lee. The only thing that bothers me about splitting the book in two would be the fact that it will stretch the series over too long a period. In fact, I'm contemplating the completion of the entire series before I even start querying...

  10. I think it's good to set goals, but 4k is quite lofty! I think 1,500-2,000 would make you feel better. Also, write your book the way you intended it to be. Then give it to Beta readers. You'd be surprised how much can be cut. For example, my latest when completed was nearing 110k. I gave it to my beta readers, and they pointed out places where I should cut to pick up the pacing.

  11. I've heard anything over 100k is unpublishable and I'm at 104 after two rounds of serious cutting. But it's not so bad as half of my original story!

  12. Hi Misha,
    Yep, I have to agree with everyone here - write the story first. However, industry standard is 80-100/110K, depending on the publisher, for a full-length novel, so you'll want to be within that range when you're finished. It's not easy, that's for sure! Good luck!


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