Friday, November 23, 2012

Warrior, Wizard Status Update #1

Things are not going as planned.

I thought "Warrior, Wizard" would be fun!  Because writing is fun!  I love writing because of how fun it is!

Naturally, I've spent so much time not writing that I've forgotten that writers only pretend writing is fun so that they don't go Coo Coo for Cocoa Puffs.

I think the thing that's getting to me is the length.  WW is getting daunting because it's a short story that's apparently pretty long.  I'm not breaking it up into chapters because, at this point, I can't.  I wouldn't even know how to since I'm writing it chronologically, a word that in this case means, ironically, out of the proper order.  Even when I finish it, I don't think it's going to feel like a "chapter" story.

This is different from pretty much everything I've written before.  Most of what I've written have been chapters for novel-length projects or updates for blogs (which are like chapters, only shorter and there's more of them).  Chapters are usually about 5-10 pages long in my usual style (12 pt Times New Roman, single-spaced--I'm an idiot who hasn't quite figured out how to measure length by word count).  The few short stories I've written have also been around that length. 

But WW?  I'm twelve pages into it.  I've just passed the 7000-word mark.  And here's the thing: I'm not even half done with it yet.  It is easily twice as long as I expected it to be.

That's not to say that I haven't made good progress in it.  I don't have time to write at NaNoWriMo speeds (and it's clear that even "finish WW" is going to be an unrealistic goal for the month), but at least half of that has been written this month.  And while I'm not to the halfway point, I'm close to it.  I only have a few more scenes to write.  And then a few more that I had skipped over.  But then I'm to the turning point, where Alera and Jaren are at approximately the same strength.

Which means that I'm finally almost to the beginning.  Non-linear order is weird like that.

I've also been brainstorming on the world some.  After some long, hard, consideration and weighing all my possibilities, I've come to the enlightening conclusion that it's all just a bunch of shit that doesn't matter in the first draft.  Sure, I can toss it ahead of me and slog through it, but all I've accomplished is that I've made a mess and everything stinks of poo.  No, what I should be doing is focusing on planting the story, and then taking that same crap and sprinkling it behind me afterwards to fertilize it.

But back to the length.  Let's say that, at my "not-quite-halfway" approximately 7000 words, I'm actually at half because I look back and say "there's a lot I can cut out."  Double that so that I've got 14,000-16,000 words for the finished product.  That's an awkward length.  For comparison, NaNoWriMo's goal for "completed novel" is 50,000 words.  The first Harry Potter book (i.e., the shortest) is about 77,000 words.  Meanwhile, flash fiction is about 500 words or less, short stories run from about 1500 words (pretty darn short) to 5000 words (pretty long).  Get up near 10,000 and it's hard to call it a short story anymore. 

So if I can't cut a whole lot off of WW (since I certainly can't/won't pad it to four or five times the length), what exactly is it going to be?  Apparently, that puts it somewhere between "novelette" and "novella."  And since I hope I can actually publish this story, who exactly do I go to?  Sure, you've read short stories in magazines or anthologies.  And I'm certain you've read novels.  But novellas and novelettes?  They're not exactly common.  As much as I'd like to try getting it published somewhere that actually has some repute, I may have to try to find a market for it on an e-reader.  Who knows?  Maybe it'll catch on.

Of course, if this whole story turns out to be a steaming pile of salvageable junk, I'll be upset.  Maybe a synonym for upset.  Livid, maybe.  Yeah, I like that.  Let's go with livid.

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