Review Excerpts

Monday, February 5, 2018

Racing and Pacing

I've finally arrived at the final chapter of my novella-in-progress (okay, there's going to be a little epilogue, too), and as always, I'm sprinting toward the finish line. I don't know what it is about endings that gets me to write faster. Maybe it's because since I write in order, I've been thinking about the ending for so long, it's planned out spectacularly well in my head. Maybe I just want the accomplishment of getting the damn thing done.

Either way, as I ponder this, I sometimes worry that this phenomenon affects my pacing. I ran into this issue a bit with Seductive Suspect - so much happened at the end of the book, I had to go back and balance out the beginning a bit. (And then that all got chopped up in editing anyway, but I digress.) Same thing here - word count-wise, these last two chapters are taking up, like, a third of the book. I'm going to have to go back and expand on those earlier chapters, I think, but for now, I just want to get to the end before I start working on the smaller details.

Then again, as I ponder this even more, I wonder if this issue crops up often due to the structure of romance stories. It depends on the structure of the story, of course, but there is a certain...format? template? that focuses on the journey of the characters getting together, and then explicitly stating what happens when they finally accomplish that. Or, as I sometimes joke around about, there's the climax, and then there's the climax. ;)

I've done it both ways, either saving the big bedroom scene for the end, or peppering them in throughout. For me, it seems like shorter stories are more likely to have just one explicit scene in them. Obviously, those scenes require words, but since it's expected in my genre, does that *really* count toward the overall balance of a work?

I think I've been navel-gazing for too long, instead of just writing the damn story and figuring out the more minor things later on. Also, I should turn off the word count display to avoid more crazymaking, but that's a different story for a different day.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Happy New Year! (Also, Let's Talk About Word Count, Part the Next)

Happy January! I hope your new year has gotten off to a great start! I was so determined to kick off the new year with good writing It's been all right. I've gotten a chapter done in this first half of the first month, but it's not like it's the longest chapter ever.

So recently, I posted about how I was worried about going over the suggested word count for an anthology submission. Because life would be boring without variety, now I'm worried about not hitting the minimum word count for this novella. ARGH. I'm dutifully following the outline I crafted, hitting all the points I want to hit, but that number in the bottom left-hand corner doesn't seem to be growing at the same pace.

As I was looking over my outline around November (according to Google Drive's "last edited" line), I thought something was missing. I added in another scene to balance things out, yet I wasn't 100% convinced I should write it. Now it's looking like I'll *have* to, so I've been brainstorming on ways to make it not seem like an afterthought.

I'm sure at a certain point I'll do what I did for the short story and just turn the stupid display off so it's not making me (as) crazy. For now, I'm just going to keep plugging away and see where I land at the end. It'll work out one way or another, and if I have to go back and elaborate on certain scenes, so be it. But really, you'd think I'd be better at estimating by now! Maybe that should be a goal for next year....