Yesterday was the self-imposed deadline I had set for myself to finish my outline and prep-work to start writing the actual first draft of “Book of M”. I thought I should report on my standing relative to that goal.
Unfortunately, I failed to reach my goal. Failed, yes, but I’m so close. As of last night, I believe I’ve reached somewhere between the three-fifths and three-quarter mark of the plot. There’s a lot going on and a lot of pieces coming together. I’m getting super-excited for writing this book, because I really like the direction the plot is going.
I think it might be amusing to also point out that as it stands the unfinished outline is nearly 9,000 words long, by itself, and is split between two separate word documents (it’s… complicated). The length, at least, I can explain: the outline includes a lot of asides, notes to myself about changes to make to the outline, and especially a few internal dialog question-and-answer sessions that I’ve used to help me figure out some difficult plotting. The upshot: this is definitely not a short story that I’ve blown up into a novel, here. There’s a lot of ground to cover.
I’m still optimistic that I can keep this a relatively short book (my target is 125,000 words, but I’m mainly hoping for anything under 185,ooo). Realistically speaking though… at an artistic level I’m fine with a book that stretches to 250,000 words. I enjoy works of that length. And I don’t discount the possibility that this book could go as much as that long. My shorter-length goal is based more on concerns for marketability – notwithstanding my prior analysis of wordcount lengths in my chosen genres, showing a distinct market preference (vis-a-vis the market of readers) for longer works, the advice of professionals in the business is still to write shorter, roughly 100K-length books. Still, I won’t sacrifice my artistic integrity to force my book into artificial constraints. I’m just trying to set a target, so I know what to work toward.
Considering how close I am to finishing my outline, I’m resetting my goal with a fairly short new deadline: to have all this prep-work done by January 31st, which will allow me to start the month of February diving straight into the actual First Draft. I’ll definitely be able to finish the outline by then, and more than likely I’ll be able to tie a bow on some more character work as well.
Anyway, something became clear to me last night (which I tweeted about) as I was adding scenes – both new scenes that occur earlier in the book to foreshadow and support the direction the plot is moving, and additional scenes that moved said plot closer toward the climax and the end of the book. At this point, I’ve got 4 POV characters. Continue reading