Monthly Archives: July 2011

Dam the flood?

No, it’s not raining.  Really?  Rain in the desert?  And because there is no rain, the rivers are dry, the lakes are static and the climate is stable.  Hot and dry, but stable.

What I refer to is a creative flood.  Let me ‘splain.  No, there is too much.  Let me sum up.

Project Q, my anthology short story, has just exceeded my target goal of 10,000 words.  While this is good news and I’ve enjoyed the ride on the whitewater rapids of 1000 plus words per day, the story is only 2/3 completed based on what has to happen.

What does this mean?

It means that the story dictates the story.  No, that is not a philosophical paradox.  In my experience, goals and targets are merely mile markers on the journey to “The End.”  The end of the story is not a destination, it is the end of a journey.

Okay, I’ve lost you.  Here’s an analogy.  With a car and a GPS, you pick a distant city and drive a specific, direct route to get there and arrive in a relatively precise amount of time after having traveled a relatively precise distance.  With travel, this is what we want in most cases.  Predictable planning.

No so with writing.  The goal with writing is to create a journey, not reach a specific destination.  The story idea may suggest a general size, short story versus novel.  But can you really predict that a particular short story will be exactly 10,000 words or a novel will be exactly 200,000 words?  Does it make any sense to expand or contract a story to fit into arbitrary size parameters.

Yes and no.  If you’re writing for periodicals, there is typically a finite space allotted to fiction and that will have a word count limit.  See the guidelines for the specifics.  If you’re writing for category fiction, your novel may need to be within a certain narrow range, e.g. 50,000 – 55,000 words based on the format for that category.  See publishers guidelines for specifics.

Outside those types of markets, it makes less sense to confine the story.

In my case, the anthology for which I am writing has a “suggested” and “agreed upon” target word count of 10,000 words, but no real upper limit.  Sure, those parameters are somewhat arbitrary, but the story will ultimately determine the length.

My deadline is this Sunday.  My story has reached my initial minimum target, but it is not finished.  So, for me, for this story, I will not dam the flood and will let the river rage on.

What are your thoughts on story length?

–Mark


Major announcement update!

I recently posted a teaser about a new side project that I began recently.  It is time for more details.

I have been invited to submit a short story to an anthology co-created by members of my writing group.  There should be six stories each at 10,000+ words in length.  So, not really short stories, more like long stories/novellas.  The genre for the anthology is fantasy (including urban, paranormal, historical, epic, etc).  I will post more information about the title and contents as they become finalized.

We are all working furiously on this new project which we will publish as an e-book via Kindle, Nook, and other avenues sometime this fall.  You can track my own draft progress on the sidebar under the Project Q: First Draft progress bar.  Q stands for Quindecim, the name of our writer’s group.  For those of your not conversant in Latin, Quindecim means “Fifteen”.  Again, more details to follow as the plan unfolds and deadlines are hit.

I am very excited about this project as it will allow me an introduction to both project collaboration and self-publishing online.  My story is a legend set in the world of my epic fantasy series and is complementary to the two novels I am in the process of writing, The Lost Tower and The Codex of Shrines.

Check back soon for more updates.  Our first deadline in July 31 and I will have a post about the story writing process around that time.

 

–Mark

 


Scott's Grimoire

MY SPOT OF INK: my ramblings on the ups and downs of writing a fantasy novel (or anything else that grabs my interest - books, food, movies, life)

The Undiscovered Author

A Day in the Life of aspiring Fantasy Author Stephen A. Watkins

Geoff's Ruminations

The thoughts and passions of a hopeful future author.