Monday, June 16, 2014

On Going Long

I tend to be a concise writer. Always have been.


 No, seriously, I started out writing short essays because it's a natural form for me. Same with poetry. Even my Masters Thesis was the shortest in the department and it had been a PhD project I cut bait on. (Long story there.) It took me some painful practice and effort to write novels, and they still tend to be on the compressed end. My developmental edits always, without fail, mean adding more words. Usually 6,000-10,000. I can pretty much set my spreadsheets by that expectation.

The first two books in my Twelve Kingdoms trilogy came out around 100,000 words by the time all the edits were in. But The Tears of the Rose went from 89,198 at the first draft to 101,260 with copy edits complete. And the first book, The Mark of the Tala, went from 90,822 to  102,962.

Like clockwork.

So when I started writing book three, The Talon of the Hawk, I knew I was looking at about 100,000 words. This matters to me because I plan on how long a book will take me to write. I have a steady line up of contracted deadlines right now, so I need to strategize my time.

Imagine my dismay to reach my usual first draft waterline of ~90K, only to discover that I easily had another third of the story yet to tell.

Some of this comes of it being the third book in the trilogy, with a great deal of overall arc to wrap up. A lot of it comes from writing the story of an extremely hard-headed heroine who does not change easily. Suffice to say, for the first time since I've had contracted deadlines, I've missed one. Technically my editor gave me an extension. But the book was due June 1 and I didn't make it. Today is June 16. As of this writing, I have 117,201 words written and probably will hit 125,000.

Before edits and revisions.

Fortunately my editor is good with that, too. "Fantasy can take the longer word count," he says.

We'll see what he says after he reads it. :-)

No comments: