To say I didn’t write yesterday would be misleading, because there were lots of things going on in my head–I simply didn’t put any of that stuff down into the computer. Nothing to edit, nothing to write. First time that’s happened in some time.
And the good news is I didn’t freak out.
Like I said I worked on scenes in my head, mostly for the upcoming Act Two, but I branched out into Act Three a little. Safe to say I know the ending of this novel–and pretty much every one that happens after this. I’m nothing if not ready–though some would say, insane. But there’s nothing wrong with a little crazy, right?
I might also have a few people who’ll beta read part of Act One. I always fear that, because the last time I sent something out for beta reading the person told me they couldn’t get past the third page, and that I needed to cut the first two parts–without reading any of it, of course. But I’m thinking about sending out the first part, then if that goes well the second, and then the third part, which is pretty much half of Act One. Then sit back and wait for the comments to come in.
There is something that concerns me, and that’s word count. This first book is long . . . real long. Act One is 140,290 words, which, if I use the Harry Potter word count metric, is just short of both a Philosopher’s Stone and Chamber of Secrets. Once Acts Two and Tree are in place, this one story will pretty much end up about the length of those aforementioned novels, plus The Goblet of Fire tacked on for good measure.
Which is the main reason why I decided to publish the individual acts alone: throwing the whole story out there would be a little insane, and I don’t need War and Peace comparisons. (For the record War and Peace clocks in at 561,304 words, and I have read it. You get a definite feel for war in Russia in the winter, trust me.)
But then there’s these guys . . .
We all know George R. R. Martin, he of the “Don’t Get Too Attached to That Character” school of writing. When you get into The Song of Ice and Fire series, the first book, A Game of Thrones, is 298,000 words. And that’s the shortest book. Second is A Feast of Crows, which is three hundred thousand, and they go from there. Total count for five novels is one million, seven hundred seventy thousand words, and the remaining two novels will crank this up to about two and a quarter million words.
Stephen King’s Dark Tower series started out small, with The Gunslinger ending up fifty-five thousand words–King was probably having a bad day. The remaining novels in series ran between 170,000 and 250,000, those the last book, The Dark Tower, ended up 288,000 words, bringing the series total to one million, two hundred and ninety-five thousand words.
But if we want to talk about massive word counts, let us head over to the Wheel of Time.
Robert Jordan’s fantasy series is huge: eleven novels, with the shortest of them being about a quarter of a million words, the saga has a total word count of three million, three hundred and four thousand words. Now, that brings it in just short of the ten novel series, Malazan Book of the Fallen, by Steven Erikson, which has a total word count of three million, three hundred twenty-five thousand words, but after Jordan died it was decided to bring in another author to finish Jordan’s final novel, A Memory of Light. Brandon Sanderson finished that novel, and when it was published it was cut into three novels because–have you been following this thread?
A Memory of Light was huge. How huge, she says? The book was turned into The Gathering Storm–297,502 words–Towers of Midnight–327,052 words–and A Memory of Light, the original title, and that ended up with a count of 353,906 words. Let me do some quick adding here, and . . . the final novel in the series was 978,460 words.
A million word novel. Yeah, I can see that.
You throw that into the mix, along with a prequel that’s just over a hundred thousand words, and the entire Wheel of Time series is 4,410,036 words, or 684 chapters, or 11,916 pages of good, fantasy fun.
I should also point out that David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest ran five hundred and seventy-five thousand words, and I seem to remember a lot of people trying to read that–”trying” being the operative word here. But that sucker sold, and is probably still selling today.
So, is this where I’m heading? Writing about these kids for the rest of my life?
Well . . . there are worst things that could happen.