Linda Nagata: the blog at Hahví.net

Work-In-Progress Report:
Draft Done!

July 2nd, 2016

I am finally DONE with the first really solid draft of the new novel. Fixes start next week, but I’m so happy to have reached this point. This has been a tough one.

I reported in my prior post that I was about to begin writing “the last five to ten-thousand words.” Not too surprisingly, that turned out to be over 11,000 words. Right now, the total word count is about 130,500, which is not long by the standards of epic fantasy, but it’s long for me. By comparison, my longest novel, Memory, was 132,000 words, and I won’t be at all surprised if the new one surpasses that in its final form.

The goal of course is to have just enough words and not too many. The real reason I get hung up on word count is that I find shorter novels so much more pleasant to work with in the revision stage. (Meaning EASIER.)

Oh, and I just checked the date of my last post and realized I’ve written 11K words in slightly over a week, which is a feat for a slow writer like me. This involved mostly twelve hour work days, with no exercise.

But the rush is over. I’m taking two days off, and then on Tuesday it’s back to a reasonable schedule with regular work outs.



Posted on: Saturday, July 2nd, 2016 at 10:08 pm
Categories: Work-In-Progress Reports.

2 Responses to “Work-In-Progress Report:
Draft Done!”

  1. allynh Says:

    Look at this conversation:

    George RR Martin and Stephen King

    What’s interesting is that Martin looks at writing three chapters in six months as a “good” six months. King writes six pages a day, taking 3 to 4 hours, and is considered prolific.

    You basically wrote six pages a day to write those 11k in a week, but took 12 hours each day to do it.

    If “long” novels slow you down, shoot for the classic novel lengths. Track down _Breakfast in the Ruins_ by Malzberg. He talks about writing 55k novels as being the norm when he started. As Dean has pointed out many times, it was pressure from Trad publishers that pushed the length.

    I have a ton of classic SF novels that fit in that 55k range. Tubb wrote the _Dumarest of Terra_ series at 55k. He was able to tell a long, complex, story over 33 books by writing a 55k novel at a time.

    If you write a trilogy, 55k each book, you can bundle the trilogy into one volume and sell it as a omnibus edition, thus giving people “long books” even though you wrote them as “short books.” HA!

  2. Linda Says:

    Hi Allyn,

    Yes, I know that the typical length of a novel has greatly increased over the decades. I understand the discussion, and I’ve been cheering along the recent rise in popularity of novellas because I love that length. That said, not every story is conducive to a 55K length, or to being divided into episodic presentation. The current novel is one such. It’s the length it is, because that’s what the story required, given the style in which I’m writing. “It is what it is.” The important thing now is to do the next draft!