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Novel Numbers

April 20, 2010

I’m having a hard time believing I can finish this novel in just 50,000 words.  I just finished my first chapter and it was over 3k.  I could probably make two chapters out of it if I must, but the story is still just getting going.  My character will be on the spaceship by the end of the next chapter (probably 2k words or so) and the ship will begin its 50 year voyage at the beginning of the third.  The novel will end before that, leaving lots of sequel room.

Anyway, I took the time to do some more writing tonight.  I had to do it, studying be damned.  I’ll make up for it tomorrow.

3000 words per chapter puts it around 16-17 chapters.  Maybe that’ll work.  I just need to keep the words coming to figure out how long this thing will be.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. April 21, 2010 3:50 pm

    In terms of commercial success, the sequel is the way to go. I wouldn’t worry about trying to confine the work to the word count because you could split it later into a series.

  2. April 21, 2010 11:49 pm

    At least you’re getting somewhere with it, that’s the important thing. I haven’t written anything fiction-wise in about two weeks; school’s been crazy, and I haven’t had the right frame of mind to actually construct prose. The guilt really gets to you–I guess that sort of stress is good, knowing you should be writing instead of staring at the wall, bemoaning your existence.

    I’ve got a great outline full of great ideas for my next Writers of the Future entry, so the biggest treat of the impending summer break from school will be finally putting it to words and going through the even-more-fun process of revision (it’s the first draft that I dread…ugh!). With outlining, though, I think the story will flow a lot quicker than my first WotF entry did. That thing too like a month and a half to write… Still turned out pretty good, though.

    I can’t wait until I get a few confidence-granting pro sales and a college degree so I can think about finally chucking out a couple quality novels. I tried writing one in high school, but it turned out to be (based on the outline) much too epic for my skills at the time. And it had zero originality. It’s all about the ideas…

    • April 23, 2010 1:57 am

      Alex- why wait? Just get started on a novel 🙂 I’m sure you have ideas for them. There is no time like the present to get going on practicing writing 🙂

      • April 23, 2010 10:30 am

        I like the way you think… In fact, I probably will start one very soon. If my first WotF entry, which is set in a universe I’ve been imagining for years (mostly the characters, plot, planet names, etc.), manages to reach a decent level of merit–semi- or finalist, probably–then I’ll probably expand it into the novel that I’ve always envisioned it as. It’s got a great protagonist, and great villains, ideas, etc., but there are a couple issues that I’m curious as to how they will be received, particularly by the WotF judges.

        My next entry, even, could be novel-length, with some expanding… It all depends on how they fare in the contest, I think. In the meantime, I’m going to focus on generating and “ripening” my existing ideas.

      • osomuerte permalink
        April 23, 2010 11:25 am

        @Alex- I am a big fan of the WotF (especially now that I’m a winner), but don’t put all your stock in the contest’s results. Most stories are only read by one judge, only finalists get spread around. Plus, there seem to be anywhere from 1000-2000 stories per quarter with only 8 finalists (normally) and 9 semis. What’s that, 1-2%? An HM finish is quite respectable, but good stories can still fall short of that.

        My advice, write the novel that you HAVE to write, the one that scratches at your insides trying to get out. Don’t let outside influences steer you beyond that.


      • April 23, 2010 2:09 pm

        Alex, I’m with Oso on this one. WotF is just a market, with a judge who has the same biases all people have. KD reads to her taste and the market’s taste first, so while placing there can be a huge step on the path to becoming a pro writer, don’t let one person decide what you put your energy into 🙂

        It sounds like you’ve built this world for a long time, why not start milking that worldbuilding and get writing in it?

  3. April 23, 2010 1:56 am

    Yeah, that is a pretty long chapter, but you can always chop them up. I’m aiming for no more than 8-10 page chapters in my MG novel and about 20 chapters. I went to the local library and skimmed about 100 MG and YA novels looking at how the chapters and paragraphing worked and seeing the rough page counts so I could get an idea of how my novel should break down. Most have really short chapters (5-8 pages) and a lot of chapters (20-40). The lengths varied a lot, but the series books always seemed to get longer as they went 🙂

    I’m glad you are pushing through your busy schedule and getting something on the page. I’m cheering for you 🙂

  4. April 23, 2010 3:18 pm

    Well, now you’ve got me considering it. If nothing else, writing a novel–crap, or not–would certainly help my writing process develop and tame some of the nasty voices in my head that tell me, Your ideas are crap, et cetera…

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