Word Up # 2
Well, summer’s over. Long, hot idyllic days of blue skies and warm breezes, or a scorching unnaturally prolonged heatwave and drought heralding the things that lie ahead. Depends on your point of view and outlook, I suppose.
I’ve spent large portions of the summer on the beach and cooling off in the sea, in between cursing the lack of rain whenever I water the garden and feeling guilty every time I don’t and the plants start going all wilty and needy looking.
Still, it hasn’t been all play and no work. I’m still hammering out the words, though maybe not as many as I’d have hoped. I’m still writing The Sorrowsmith (that short little book I started back in the spring). The ending, however, is now in my sights. I’m stalking it through the undergrowth, stealthily creeping up on it as it plays in the long grass (endings are critters that love the long grass), until I’m close enough to pounce and wrestle it into submission.
Endings, of course, are tricksy little buggers at the best of times, forever eager to bound away whenever it gets a whiff of danger and scampering off into the trees for a few more thousands of words. Sometimes more than a few.
Still, I’m confident its head is going to be on my wall sooner rather than later…
It currently stands a bit north of 140,000, which, frankly, is far too long for what I wanted. I reckon 160,000 should do it… but keep that under your hat. If the rascal catches that on the wind it might get startled and disappear into the really long grass again for a bit. And then who knows what I’ll end up with.
To put it in context, the longest book I’ve published to date, Hollow Places, was 164,000. That’s about 680 odd pages. For an indie writer, that’s too long. Short, sharp and frequent is what I should be doing. So I’ve been told, anyway.
I’m toying with the idea of splitting The Sorrowsmith into two books, or even releasing it in serial format, maybe four 40,000 novellas published over fortnightly intervals. Dunno. I’ll have to wait till I can read the final finished beastie. If there aren’t natural pauses that lend themselves to logical breaks, then that’s probably a bad idea.
And I have lots of bad ideas.
Of course, I could edit down into something smaller, but… erm… well, we’ll see!
Looking beyond that, once the first draft is done, I’ll stick to my usual format of putting it aside for 6-8 weeks while I work on the next book and then go back and start editing it with fresh eyes. The next book after The Sorrowsmith will still be Empire of Dirt, the third Night’s Road book. I’d hoped to have that published by December, but, as yet, Empire is no more than a few ideas and notes, I’m not going to get it done by then.
More likely, The Sorrowsmith, in whatever form, will be out in December, with Empire following some time in the new year.
New Year? Gulp!