November 16, 2018 at 1:38 pm #3058Philippa EastParticipant
Time to make yourself an outline?
Nice work though on the 16k!!!November 17, 2018 at 9:22 am #3063
I do have an outline, but it isn’t detailed, and maybe I should have developed it more before starting. I’ll have to stop now, anyway, and fix a couple of plot holes. If I was a true Nano’er, I suppose I would plough on regardless and fix the mess at the end of the month. But I can’t work like that. I see no point in writing that I know will be redundant. I realise for others it’s all about establishing a flow.
I read Susan Hill’s ‘Printer’s Devil Court’ recently. The book has only 95 pages with actual text. The other 20 are start-of-chapter blanks and illustrations. The typesetting is spacious, so the average page contains only 175 words. The total length of the book is therefore about 16.5k words. The price of the book: £9.99
Could any debut writer get away with this?
It’s actually a good story, and doesn’t feel overly short. It’s typical Susan Hill: concise, spare prose and limited description.November 17, 2018 at 4:28 pm #3069LibbyParticipant
I’d guess probably not, Alan! Maybe publishing novellas is something to look forward to once one’s career is established 🙂 Though as they seem mostly to be written by big names such as Hill and Ian McEwan, you probably have to be very established.November 17, 2018 at 4:48 pm #3072ElleParticipant
@AlanR — it’s not often but it can happen Meg Hunter’s debut, The End We Start From” was only 17,000 or 18,000 words if I remember correctly.November 19, 2018 at 1:25 pm #3098
Fever Dream by Samanta Scweblin is a novella too – although I don’t know the wordcount – and it got shortlisted for the Booker!! I wasn’t her debut in Spain, but I think it was her first translated book.
I think there is more scope for novellas with the smaller presses, but yeah, I think a new writer would find it nigh on impossible to get signed with an agent on the basis of a novella, let alone win a contract with a big publisher.
There are more novellas in YA, but they tend to be prologue/in betweeny bits/ different character type things from a series, which have always struck me as padding out.November 19, 2018 at 8:11 pm #3110
My novella-for-novel crisis is sorted now. I was putting a scene that’s integral to the resolution far too early. There needs to be several tension-building stages that lead up to that scene.
It’s a result of being over-hasty. And it’s a result of not being a ‘planner’.
Trust in your characters to show the way …
Now over 21k and possibilities have opened up in the plot.November 20, 2018 at 12:33 pm #3122
Yay for plots resolving themselves @alanr! Always a good feeling. 🙂
HOw’re other NaNoers doing? I’m on 36k, struggling a bit with days being taken up with RL, but am hoping to make it early next week – before a family invasion!November 20, 2018 at 12:58 pm #3123AthelstoneModerator
I’m way behind – my family invasion came early and is continuing. On a more positive note, it has made me get going on a completely new novel that I’m reasonably happy with so far. I’m trying something I’ve seen recommended elsewhere and not bothering with chapters (yet). Seems OK for now.
I’m doing a weekend away in mid-January (Dunford Novelists) where I need a (preferably opening) chapter ready. So I intend to hack a few thousand words from the start and beg my fellow-Denizens for a quick once over. Quite scary really. Last year I took the opening chapter from a WIP that is now on hold and it was very well received so I expect to get some stick this year for not finishing it.
I wish I could write at the pace Jules manages; I think she’s up to about 162,000 words on Nano at the moment. Mind you, she reads 15 books a week as well.November 20, 2018 at 1:13 pm #3124Philippa EastParticipant
Oh my gosh, well done guys! Hats off to you. Power to your elbows!!November 20, 2018 at 4:51 pm #3130
What’s RL @Raine? Relaxation? (Genuine question)
My first – Ang Gal – took 8 years, including false starts, numerous rewrites, and a mid-boggling number of edits. I want this new novel to take no more than 8 months. half that, if I can get a good run at it.November 21, 2018 at 8:34 am #3140John S AltyParticipant
RL = Real LifeNovember 21, 2018 at 12:33 pm #3156
That’s the one, John. 🙂 I exclude writing from that because, well, I’m not sure really. Because it doesn’t involve anyone’s needs but my own, and doesn’t involve money!?November 21, 2018 at 12:36 pm #3157
@alanr that seems a doable timeline. I usually take about 6 months from starting to plan to end of first draft, although this one might be quicker thanks to NaNo. The six zillion edits are kind of scattered about in between other projects, beta readers etc, so I don’t really know how much actual time I spend on that. Plus it’s bloody endless anyway init?November 21, 2018 at 4:09 pm #3163JulesParticipant
Haha just seen your comment, Ath. 76,000 words so far on NaNo this year – I’m not quite as fast as you’re making out. (Also only 5 books a week maximum, usually)
I think it depends what you write as well. I find urban fantasy is very speedy. Fantasy and historical are a bit slower. Sci-fi is slower to write again. Horror seems to be somewhere in between. I don’t write literary fiction – mostly because I sound like a pretentious arse when I do – but I imagine that must take longer to write too. I’m in awe of people like @raine who craft beautiful, literay novels in a few months! And you too, Ath. My writing just doesn’t come out of the box like you literary types 😊November 21, 2018 at 5:19 pm #3164
Yes, real life. Obvious. <eye-roll at myself>
So, anything not connected with writing, or that stops you doing it, is ‘real’. Hmmm.
Passed 26k now. Feels really real to me.
This whole novel is based on a falsehood, and I’m having fun seeing how long I can keep it up.November 21, 2018 at 9:11 pm #3166
Or to put it another, slightly less discouraging way, if you’re writing fiction that’s coming from inside your head, right? So anything outside that is Real Life.November 21, 2018 at 9:27 pm #3167November 22, 2018 at 10:15 am #3173
Aw fanks @jillybean! But then I couldn’t write horror if you held a gun to my head. Although actually, that might be somewhat inspiring! :-O Histfic either – I don’t think I have the memory capacity anymore *sighs*
Yeah @richardb I guess that’s it! It’s not a part of actual life-that-involves-real-people! That’s aside from the fact that it’s pretty much the only thing that’s purely and exclusively for me, so it feels less valid – but that’s an entirely different issue, me thinks.November 22, 2018 at 10:31 am #3175
Absolutely @raine. Where does the guilt come from? Because come it does. Every time someone asks me what I’m up to and I have to admit to spending most of my spare time writing but, no, it’s not published. And, yes, I have spent the last seven years doing this. I try to rationalise it by thinking of lots of perfectly acceptable but equally unprofitable things I could be doing – like playing golf with no possibility of ever winning the Masters, or painting pictures that I’d never sell, or dusting (which everybody knows is a time-wasting and pointless activity that brings no rewards).November 22, 2018 at 10:53 am #3176
Yes, if you tell someone that you play, say, the guitar, they don’t normally up and ask you if you’ve got a recording contract, do they? Though I don’t think I’ve told anybody outside my immediate circle of close friends and family that I write.
Apart from you lot, obviously.November 22, 2018 at 1:08 pm #3180
@janeshuff I don’t feel guilt at all. Maybe I’m the odd one out?
What does baffle me are writers who admit to not enjoying the actual writing, and that includes all aspects of it, particularly editing. They procrastinate and actually seem proud of it. Or is it all a bluff? If not, Wtf?November 22, 2018 at 1:55 pm #3184
I think it’s just human nature. Before we moved MrsB was a Beaver Scout Leader for twenty years, and over that time I lost count of the number of Beaver/ Cub/ Scout leaders I heard carrying on about what horrors their charges were, what a hard time it all was, and generally giving the impression that they were being put upon and they would rather be doing almost anything else. There was usually an element of humour in it, but all the same Scouting is a voluntary activity…November 23, 2018 at 7:36 am #3187
Good point @Richardb about the guitar playing.
And @alainrain, I think we all struggle and procrastinate from time to time because writing can be tough.November 23, 2018 at 10:00 am #3189
Yes, but struggle and procrastination aren’t the same, are they? All committed writers struggle, but (the way I see it) only the uncommitted procrastinate.November 23, 2018 at 10:05 am #3190DaedalusParticipant
That’s a very sweeping statement.November 23, 2018 at 10:09 am #3191
Sometimes what feels like procrastination is valuable thinking time…November 23, 2018 at 11:02 am #3192
Not when you’re playing Freecell…November 23, 2018 at 11:12 am #3193
Actually playing something like Freecell occupies the surface part of your brain and liberates the sub-conscious to do a lot of sorting out. Or something like that. My terminology is all wrong.November 23, 2018 at 11:13 am #3194
Yes, there is that. An idea that added a whole new dimension to one of my novels once came to me while I was laying the table for dinner.
November 23, 2018 at 12:24 pm #3196SquidgeParticipant
- This reply was modified 2 years, 8 months ago by RichardB.
Procrastination is nothing to do with commitment! It is everything to do with recognising that you need something completely different sometimes to get the authorly juices flowing again. I do it – it doesn’t mean I’m not committed at all.
I prefer to call it what it is and look at WHY I’m doing it. If it’s simply time-wasting, then I give myself a good telling off and try not to get sucked in.
But if I’m doing it to give myself a break from something that I’m stuck on, or because life isn’t giving me the space and time or creative energy to write, that’s OK too. There are other ways of keeping up creativity which isn’t writing, and I have to respect that in myself. I don’t think I’ve written anything since the summer other than a few NIBS pieces; doesn’t mean I’m not committed to getting on with my sequel, or Room with a View – but life is just too big, so at the moment I have to do what I can, when I can.
If everything stopping me writing was seen as procrastination, I’d be rocking in a corner, eaten up with guilt.
Knitting is often my procrastinatory thinking time…
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