“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single felony.” – Anon.
On November 30, 2010, “Goodbye Grammarian” had 50,022 words. By late 2011, the pencil and paper structural edits were done, and a roadmap for full revisions was laid out. After preliminary editorial backing and filling, it was better (MUCH better). I’d intended to use November 2011 to turn it into a complete novel, but no such luck. On January 8, 2012, it was 65,435 words.
In beginning this year’s Write Anything crusade, I refocused efforts on it and am doing more rewriting, trimming, expanding and generally magic-wand-waving. As of today, it stands at 78,417 words. My goal for this is 90,000. I’m working on chapter 16 (of 20) at the moment. I’m anticipating a longer ending, and there are places in the middle which need a renovation of subplots. Hitting 90,000 isn’t going to be a problem. In fact, I’m now expecting to overshoot it and have to edit back to 90,000.
This is probably not a bad thing.
Dumb subplots are pruned away to make room for better ones. Dull characters (and a couple of good ones) are excised to give the primary characters more to do. Motivations are getting clearer, the stakes are getting higher, the characters getting more compelling. All of this is a good thing.
I’ve got a complicated relationship with this book. In some ways, I feel like my writing isn’t doing justice to the concept. In other ways, I feel like the concept wouldn’t benefit from an indulgence in the kind of lyrical prose I like to wallow in. How in the world did I ever decide to write a superhero book?
“How’s the novel coming along?” It’s a simple question with a long and complicated answer. Suffice to say, it’s coming. Page by page, it’s coming. What’s been a motivator in this is that, every time I talk to someone about “Goodbye Grammarian”, they say how great it sounds and offer to beta read it for me.
Granted, these may be more about me than they are about the book. Maybe I’m just more compelling in person than my prose reads to my jaundiced eye. Maybe I have such an air of sweet, innocent neediness about me in person that these offers are made in the same spirit as one would compliment an ugly child in front of his parents. Maybe, maybe, maybe…
Uncertainty and doubt reigns supreme now as it has always reigned supreme, but the words keep coming, and I keep writing them down.
78,417 words. And counting.