First off, I finished my latest scene last night after returning from the local Pride event held on the banks of our river, and which I worked for a few hours because why not? Someone’s gotta go represent the T, you know? I actually wrote the scene in three shifts: one in the morning after my blog post, in a five hundred word sprint when I returned home, and then the last few hundred words after I returned about seven PM. Total wordage for the day was eighteen hundred and sixty-nine words, which is a pretty good count anyway you look at things.
One more scene finishes Chapter Eighteen and Part Six, and then it’s on to the last two parts and–well, a butt-load of chapters. I’ll probably pass the seventy thousand word mark for Act Two today, which is leaving me with the feeling that Act Two may just end up with a word count nearly equal to Act One, which would drive this story to three hundred thousand words–
With Act Three to follow.
Doing my time count today, I find I’ve been working on this novel for nine months. And yes, this is my baby, and sometimes squeezing out the words needed to take it forward are nearly as difficult as squeezing a watermelon out of your lady parts, though no where nearly as painful. Writing a novel takes time, and writing a big novel like this, with only a few hours every night or afternoon where I can work, is going to take a lot of time. Particularly since this work has went from being Order of the Phoenix sized and appears to be heading into Infinite Jest territory.
Last night, however, I found myself a bit incensed by a comment that a friend decided to lay on me. I’m sure she thought she was being humorous and whatnot, but still, there are some things you should be aware of when speaking to writers, and what she said last night one of those of things she should have checked before she wrecked.
And the comment was . . .
“Are you ever going to finish this thing?”
The first thing that came to mind was the now-famous blog post written by Neil Gaiman in response to a fan’s query about whether it was true that George R. R. Martin, the author of a certain large series of books about people, politics, dragons, and boobies, owes it to his fans to get off his ass and spend more time doing the writing thing so he can finish A Song of Ice and Fire Series before he goes the way of a majority of the characters in his books. Neil’s response was pretty straightforward when it came to what writers really own their fans, but the whole thing can be summed up by the most famous line from the post: “George R. R. Martin is not your bitch.”
Which is why after I was asked about when I was going to finish my story, the first thing that came to mind was–
I’m a nice person, but there is an emotional investment that goes into writing. If you’ve never written a story of your own, it’s sometimes difficult to understand just how crazy the writing process can make one. It’s always on your mind, and if you’re like me with this story, it’s been on your mind for years. And I’m nowhere near as into this story as some writers were or are with their own series. I’ve already imagined that if I were to continue writing about these characters after this book, in ten years I could have fans asking me if I’m planing to end the series before I kick this mortal coil.
It’s the implication that you’re not spending enough time writing, or that your story’s too long, or both, that really kinda twists the knife in hard. The implication that maybe you might not know what you’re doing, and you’re just telling everyone you’re “writing” when the reality is you’re off doing something else. Or, worse, you’re only writing a few hundred words a day, and a real writer gets down and does like a few thousand, so why aren’t you doing the same?
This is what makes writers drop houses on people. And not because you’re the most evil movie villain ever–as pointed out by Cracked.com nearly four years ago–but because when you’ve spent nine months gestating a piece of work, and you figure you’re maybe two-thirds finished–or would that be more like five-eights in my case, I’m really afraid to look–having someone who doesn’t write, who isn’t creative, who doesn’t understand what goes into this process . . . when they ask, “You ever gonna finish this masterpiece of yours?”, that’s when the house dropping commences. That’s when you get out your crown and your wand and you look ever-so-pretty while you commence to letting people know you ain’t their bitch.
You . . . get the house . . . right on the freakin’ noggin.
A story takes as long to finish as it takes to tell. Sometimes that’s fifty thousand words; sometimes that’s five hundred thousand. Most stories fall somewhere in between, but were I to really push the envolope o these characters, I could run their story to a coll million words easy. Since that’s the case, maybe I should sell this first novel and make enough money to write full-time.
Yeah, that’d be great.
It’d give me a lot more time to drop houses.