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11 April 2008 @ 06:19 pm
novelist’s event horizon  

I’ve just figured out why I feel like I’m slogging so very, very badly on this book. Realistically, I’m not: I’ve broken 500 pages, and a week ago I…ok, it was two weeks, that kind of sucks, oh well, but anyway, I was at 400 pages two weeks ago, and that’s not a bad rate of work. It’s not as awesome as I’d like it to be, but then, I was brainless-sick for four days, too, and lost another couple struggling with how to fix a scene. But anyway, that’s not the point.

The real problem is that I’ve been in the Novelist’s Event Horizon (the point at which you have been writing the book forever, and yet there is no end in sight, and never will be) for forty thousand words already. This book, in an ideal world, would be around 140K in length, so at 90K, well, in theory, I had 50,000 words to go.

I am now at 130K, and in the worst case scenario, I’ve *still* got 50K to go.

This is the *longest* damned NEH I’ve ever been stuck on, and it’s *killing* me.

I mean, on the bonus side, if it turns out that I can actually manage to bring the book in around 165K, which is the number I’ve been eyeing as maybe the more realistic wordcount (I knew it was never going to be 140K, not really, but that’s what TQB came in at, so it’s the number my editor would probably have been okay with), then I’ve got 35K left, which isn’t particularly intimidating.

But it’s too far out. I really can’t tell right now if I can bring it in at 165. So I have to keep eyeing the worst-case scenario (I’m pretty sure it won’t go over 180K, because I’ll have to kill myself if it does) as the “I’ve got to be prepared to write this much by, oh, say, April 23rd at the latest, so I’ll have time to edit it and will still be able to get it turned in this month” number. This is event horizon *hell*, and I want *out* of it, *please*.

When I’m done writing tomorrow I will, quantum willing and the river don’t rise, *know* that I have less than 50K to write. *Please*, God, *please*, let me be looking at 45K or less tomorrow. I’m desperate.

ytd wordcount: 147,600
miles to Minas Tirith: 261.2

(x-posted from the essential kit)
Current Mood: distresseddistressed
suzanne mcleodsuzannemcleod on April 11th, 2008 06:45 pm (UTC)
*hugs* You can do it, you've already proved that ... fantastically well with all the others ;)
Kerry aka Trouble: Massagecontrouble on April 11th, 2008 06:54 pm (UTC)
I see you changed the icon since you first posted.
It sounds like you need a hug - and maybe some ice cream.

Brian: Bunny: readinglogrusboy on April 11th, 2008 07:09 pm (UTC)
Are you sure you're not accidentally trying to stuff two books into one?
kitmizkit on April 11th, 2008 08:38 pm (UTC)
*eyes you balefully*
Brianlogrusboy on April 12th, 2008 05:57 am (UTC)
Okay, I'm just going to back away slowly now....
irishkate: bodhránirishkate on April 11th, 2008 07:51 pm (UTC)
you can do this.

You KNOW you can do this.

And you are nearly there. It's not much longer. Just hang in there a little longer and you will have the second of a truely amazing series completed and off to he editors.

It's just one word after another, like walking middle earth
ruford42 on April 11th, 2008 08:52 pm (UTC)
How do you even come up with the word count predictions? Do you just estimate you'll need X number of pages to flush out any given piece of an outline and work from there or what?
kitmizkit on April 11th, 2008 09:12 pm (UTC)
Uhm. Well, mostly the books have contracted lengths, and I write to that length, which has thus far has worked just fine. But I always knew the Inheritors' Cycle books were going to be long (I said 175K for the first one, my editor said "how about 125K?", I said, "How about we compromise at 150K?" and she siad, "I'll put 125 to keep you honest," and I said, "Okay, it's still going to be longer than that," and she said, "I'll sharpen my red pencil," and it came out at 140K and she didn't cut anything. If it'd gone to the end of the original synopsis it'd've ended up about 225K.), so it's sort of...I don't know. It's a feeling, but not exactly an accurate one.

In this particular case, I think/hope I've got about six chapters left, and the chapters are averaging 6400 words, so 6400x6 is around 40K, but it's possible it'll come out longer. The end of a book is usually like this for me: I have between 3-5 chapters left. And I continue to be uncertain how many it is until I'm pretty much at the penultimate, or sometimes the antepenultimate, chapter, at which point I start being pretty sure I've only got another one or two left. But they almost always end up at the wordcount I expected them at. So hopefully this will come in at 165K.
sammywolsammywol on April 11th, 2008 09:50 pm (UTC)
*cradles you* *pets typing fingers* Would you like a chocolate care package delivered?
hegemony hedgehog: thirstyagrimony on April 11th, 2008 10:25 pm (UTC)

You've seen this picture before. it is the hedgehog at novel event horizon picture now!
kitmizkit on April 12th, 2008 01:19 pm (UTC)
*HOWLS* I must icon that, then. *LAUGHS*

*hugs* Thank you. :)
Michellemsagara on April 12th, 2008 12:21 am (UTC)
I feel -- believe that I feel -- your pain.

If it makes you feel better in any way, the last 2 pages of TQB are so perfect they are worth the whole book (which has, among other things, many other fabulous moments).

Otoh, maybe I shouldn't have said that at this point in the process. Ummm.
kitmizkit on April 12th, 2008 08:21 am (UTC)
As I have been on this Event Horizon it has more than once occurred to me to wonder how in holy living hell those of you who *regularly* write hugely long books can survive the creation process. I think I'd go utterly mental. :)

...um, no, actually, this was maybe the perfect time to tell me that. That's, um. Wow. Thank you. Wow.

Wow. Okay. I'm just going to reel off beaming now, because I know who some of your favorite authors are, and if those last couple pages are good, then...then I've done what I hoped I'd done. Wow. Thank you. I'm going to be over here sniffling now, okay? But it's a good sniffle. O.O

Wow. *beams*