>Which Way Next?

>I had originally planned to write the first drafts of five manuscripts this year, each one approximately 50 to 60,000 words–similar to a typical category romance length, which usually range anywhere from 50,000 to 75,000 words. I wanted to set that goal to get myself back into the writing…I learn a lot by just starting, working on, and finishing manuscripts. That was the goal. Didn’t really expect to try to sell any of them…the goal was about the writing. I did submit Hawkes around (mostly because my critique partner talked me into it), but that wasn’t the real goal. As a matter of fact, the submission process yanked me off the goal for a while. That part of it is a whole ‘nother ballgame, I must say. But I digress…

So, I was moving along fine on that goal during the first four months of the year and had begun the third book on time, but something has changed, and I need to adapt.

The first two manuscripts I wrote this year, while finished in the first draft, are not going to fit anywhere in the traditional publishing realms at the lengths they are now…neither of them are long enough to be mainstream books, nor do they have the right subject matter to qualify as category romances. I started out trying to write them as category books, but as sometimes happens, the books took on a life of their own and I lost interest in trying to fit them into the confines of category for whatever reason. It’s possible that I simply am unable to do it; it’s just as possible that I really just don’t want to. I’m not certain which it is actually…

The book I’m working on now, Take It All, Leave My Heart, is probably going to be 100,000 words by the time it is done. That is more along the lines of the mainstream books I have been reading lately. And the story is definitely a mainstream type of book–no two ways about it.

I remember years ago being at a writer’s conference and thinking there was no reason someone couldn’t write 5 books in a year, if each one was only 50k or so…and it’s true. There is no reason a writer couldn’t do that–at just 3 pages a day (which takes maybe 30 minutes to do for a *slow* typist), a writer would have produced the first draft of more than five 50k manuscripts. Granted, a first draft is a long way from a final draft, but that was my thinking…5 first drafts is something, and it’s completely doable.

Since then, the question of whether or not they should do that is really the one I’m asking myself.

I just finished reading Angels and Demons by Dan Brown. Amazing piece of fiction. And I read another novel (some 100k words or more) and found myself deeply involved in the story. That one was by a lady named J.R. Ward, called Lover Eternal, a story of this vampire brotherhood. Not one of my typical reading choices, but loved it! Didn’t want it to end. I kept thinking, “There is no way to do a book of this kind of magnitude in 50k words.” And THAT’S the kind of stuff I want to be writing. I don’t mean vampire books or books about the Vatican and its history and conspiracies…but LONGER books of my own interests that dig into things. Leave some room for exploration, have some multiple things going on at once.

That’s when I decided that yeah, the 50k thing wasn’t going to work. Now *could* a writer write five 100k books in a year??? Well, my guess is that some do. I don’t think I could, but who knows. Frankly, it’s the wrong question. I should be asking myself this: can I write a 100K book that is GOOD? And does how long it takes even matter?

Gotta love goals…if I hadn’t started down a path with a goal in mind, I would have never known that it wasn’t what I wanted. I would have simply been going along wondering where I was going and would I know it when I got there? The process of actively going to a specific place has told me a lot. For one thing, it’s told me to stop where I’m at, make a turn, and go a different direction.

And so I’m off in that direction…until another turn shows up and makes me stop and wonder…which way next?

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