I just hit 30,000 words in the manuscript. My goal is 75,000 words or so, which should work out to about 300 pages. As a reader, that’s what I think is the ideal size for a novel. It’s long enough for me to get to know the characters and enjoy a complicated plot, but short enough for the storytelling to remain tight and efficient.
Those 30,000 words have filled ten and a quarter chapters so far. By this point in the book, I’ve introduced all the major characters, and now they’re really mixing it up.
In the first hundred pages, I wrote in as many different characters as I could, then decided who was interesting and which scenes advanced the plot. Not every character and not every chapter made the cut. Sometimes that meant eliminating them from the story altogether. Other times, I kept a character in the book, but because it’s crime fiction, maybe they don’t survive to the end…
Some more info on the novel and on my writing process:
- It’s a hard-boiled crime thriller. True to the genre, I’m focusing on characters, twists, and storytelling through snappy dialogue. With any luck, I’ll have a solid hard-boiled book when it’s all done.
- I write two to five pages per day. Well, except when I don’t. Life happens, but I do try to be disciplined about it, so that most of the time I hit my daily quota. If it’s a good week, that equates to about two chapters. The last few chapters have taken longer because they set up the rest of the novel. I’ve had to really think about how I want the story to proceed.
- I write the first drafts of those pages in long-hand. Then I do my first round of rewriting there on the notebook paper. After that, I type the pages into Word and read them out loud. If I get hung up anywhere while reading, I’ll make more changes and fix places where the rhythm is off. I only recently started writing with a pen and paper, but I’ve seen an improvement in my work since making the switch. I don’t know if that’s thanks to writing in long-hand, but I’m still doing it just in case. Plus, there’s something I like about using a pen.
- I’ve set for myself a deadline of August. At the current pace, I think I’ll have the manuscript finished by August 1. That’s the goal, anyway. Then come the processes of editing, cover design, and planning a launch. And, of course, I’ll be blogging about all of it.
More updates to come! In the meantime, I’ve got another 45,000 words to put down.