Sunday, October 30, 2011

Fear and Honesty

So my subject today, the big deal on my mind is book length.  To start, I just want to refer to my new word count for Aeris: 112,000.  I've been writing like crazy and I expect to do even better today, since the hubby took my older son to the Reptile Show and the younger is strapped to my chest via my Moby Wrap. :)
I hope to pass 115,000 this week.  We'll see.  It's been pretty tiring, trying to write, get up 3 times a night, and keep up with a 3 year old, but I'm really motivated to try and get this book out by December.  It will be my birthday present to me.
For those of you keeping track, the book is about 350 pages now.  This is about 100 pages longer than Compis.  Oh, and by the way, IT'S NOT EVEN CLOSE TO BEING FINISHED YET.  I know I've aired my fears about having a super long book this time around, but now that my fears are being realized, I can't help but wonder at the quality of the book I'm producing.
Quality is something I tend to obsess over as a writer.  I know I'm no Steinbeck or George R. R. Martin, but still, I try to be the best I can be, providing clean text, original story line, non-cliche characters, and a readable final product.  I'm sure I'm not the only one out there who feels this way.
But when I sit at my computer, writing word after word after word, and my book gets longer and longer and longer, I have this secret fear.  What if I'm just filling up this book with mush?  What if it's a whole lot of words and not a whole lot of substance?  What if it's a bunch of boring, boring plot points that make no sense to the story and only serve to piss off all the people who said they liked the first book so much?  I was pretty happy with the first part of this second in a series, but part 2 is so much longer than I planned and I just can't see what in the world I would cut out.  Is it possible, my book could end up being *gasp* BORING???
It doesn't help me to think of Paolini, author of Eregon, either.  By the time I got to the third book and the infamous dwarf wedding, I was ready to throw in the towel, send the editor a giant and symbolic red pen, and curse all writers of series.
Usually this blog is addressed to the reader side of me, but today, I must admit to feeling insecure.  I put the question to all of you... how do you feel about your work as you're writing it?  Is it hard to get a great product with a large word count?
I've got to go.  So much to write and so little time.
Happy writing (and reading)!


Anonymous said...

I have 4 unpublished novels (still in draft form). At the end of next month I'll have 5 unpublished novels. Some days I know my current WIP is destined to be a groundbreaking literary achievement, other days I don't think my WIP is cohesive or sensical enough to be published, let alone appeal to a single reader.

That book length thing- the only advice I have is cut until you just can't cut anymore. Then trim. :)

Anonymous said...

We're talking about a first draft here. The worst case scenario is that you're right about all your concerns. But guess what? It's still only a first draft. It doesn't have to gold. It doesn't have to exciting. It doesn't have to be anything but what it is. That's why we edit. That's why we revise. That's why we have beta readers and alpha readers. But you have to finish it first. Then you can sculpt it into what it needs to be. Don't let your inner-critic get you yet ;)

Michelle Stockard Miller said...

I know all about fear because I'm feeling it big time today. I'm doing NaNoWriMo this year and I'm committed to finishing, but I'm scared and having major self-doubt so although it's for different reasons, I understand the fear aspect. I literally have butterflies...I feel like test anxiety or something!

Not that I'm an expert at all, but I agree with what Ryan said. It's a first draft and you can work with it, right? I'm intrigued and I think it's awesome that you've been able to write that many words. =O)

Claudia Lefeve said...

First off, you always inspire me. I don't know how you do it all!!!

Second, I don't think your writing could ever be boring.

Third, I feel the same way, but the opposite :) I find that I obsess over writing too little.

Nadja Notariani said...

I have to go with Ryan here. It's a first draft. Your betas will let you know if it's too wordy via their wielding of the infamous red-pen! Ha! Get it down and sort it out after you get some feedback.

But I also understand. I'm a worrier, too. I don't want to publish drivel - thinking it's something more than it is.

If you are going to get it out in December, you should jump on board with my 12 Days of Christmas Reading Gift List! (you can email me for details if interested...I'd love to have you!) It's going to be easy. (Gulp...I think. lol)

I've joined if I"m scarce, please excuse :)