Too Few Words

I like Seattle in November. It gets a lot colder in the winter, but November is the last of the beautiful fall. You have those yellow-gold and sun-orange leaves soggy and mushy like cerel once you get the milk on it. The way the clouds uniformly cover the sky, especially when its not raining…it just feels like I’m tucked into my cozy city. The green of the grass is still vibrant, what else do you need?

Obviously it’s not too inspiring though, otherwise I wouldn’t be nearly 10,000 words behind on NaNoWriMo! I’m starting to have doubts about the quality of the fiction I am producing (non-WriMos are rolling their eyes now huh, the novel you’re trying to crank out in the space of a month isn’t coming out as quality prose? Go figure!) I’m starting to think I didn’t think the story through very well. I don’t feel like I’m really inside of any of the characters’ heads. Even though they’re more relate-able and “normal” than a lot of the individuals I write, I just can’t viscerally feel their psychology the way I like to.

For once, I tried to write a novel that would take about 50K-60K to tell, not just try to use NaNoWriMo to launch into something that will run closer to 90K-100K. Surprisingly, this just isn’t working for me. I’m not used to building everything in such a short timespan. It’s the same problem I run into when I write short stories. My basic rule is it’s going to be 80,000 words or more, or I’m not going to bother writing it. Dr. Derosa’s Resurrection is an outlier in that respect, as it is in many respects (including the fact that I actually got it published)

The bottom line is that, for once, I didn’t bite off more than I can chew, and I seemed to think that gave me permission to swallow it whole. Pardon me as I gag my way through the last week of the month in an attempt to tie this book together and hit my 50,000 words for National Novel Writing Month.

I’m curious about my other writers out there, NaNoWriMo participants or otherwise. How long do your works usually run? Have you witten a large enough body of work to be able to tell what’s “average” for you? I always feel weird writing novels that are twice as long as what they need to be (according to the SFWA award guidelines and NaNoWriMo, anyway.) I doubt I’m the only one though. Heck, has anyone seen those crazy champs who attempt to do a double-NaNo 100K or shoot for a million words or something INSANE? I’ve always wanted to read what they write. They can’t possibly be producing readable prose, and yet I’m compelled to wonder.

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