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On Paper, My Odds Look Good

According to the metadata on the file, I began working on the first installment for Project X, my short story collection, on January 20, 2010.

Since then, I have worked quite feverishly at times on it, juggling Stress Puppy and Sound Waves and articles for Video Game Trader.  I wanted a good selection of short stories to choose from.  Not only that, but I wanted to make sure I had enough.  I have always had problems with spatial relations and relative measures.  My mind just doesn't grasp them.  This is the reason so much of my comic art seems confined to a 2D plane.

The problem was, how long is a novel?  I wanted a decent book length, not something that makes people think I threw something together for cash and carry.  Like the Clash, I wanted to give value for the money.  So I kept working on the stories.  I got the initial five done, thought things were going well, and worked on another seven.  Twelve stories so far.  (That doesn't count the fragments I'm currently working on.)

Today, curiosity got the better of me.  I decided to check out what exactly constitutes novel length so I can see how far I have to go before I can start seriously considering my next move.  The unwritten rule seems to be 40K words and lower is a novella, 40K or higher is a novel.  National Novel Writing Month uses 50K as its qualifier (among books that clock in at 50K?  The Hitch-hiker's Guide To The Galaxy.  Of course, there's a difference.  Douglas Adams was a genius.  I'm technically a genius, but not the kind he was).  One site said that a 300 page novel is approximately 75,000 words.  Another put the generally accepted figure at 85-120K.  Another suggests 90K.

Okay.

I create a blank document and put all the stories so far in it to get the word count.

12 stories, a little over half a year of effort?

168,349 words.

I just blinked when I saw that.  I really wrote that much prose?!?

Even by the most optimistic figure, I have more than enough.  By safe figures, I have enough for two.  I guess I really have been working hard.  Never would have guessed.

Now, I'm not doing anything else yet.  I want to finish seven more stories before I make my next move.  Too many of the stories are set towards the end of things, I want a better cross section.

But holy shit!  I might actually be capable of this!

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Comments

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
clionona
Jul. 31st, 2010 12:03 am (UTC)
Woohoo! Go you! Quite the accomplishment. You should be very proud. :)
pinkmossrose
Jul. 31st, 2010 01:24 am (UTC)
That's a lot of words. You should be very proud! ^_^
ying_ko_4
Jul. 31st, 2010 03:14 am (UTC)
Of course you can do this. You're a talented guy.
ozma914
Jul. 31st, 2010 07:56 am (UTC)
You might want to consider dividing that up into two! Publishers and agents alike generally agree that shorter books are easier for newer writers to sell. "Storm Chaser" clocks in at about 65,000 words, and my other two completed novels are in the same area.
mongrelheart
Jul. 31st, 2010 06:41 pm (UTC)
Doh, LJ ate my comment! Wanted to say w0000t on the wordage! That's awesome :):):)

Agree that the definition of what length constitutes a novel is quite fluid. (I tend to think of it as a rough span of somewhere between 70-120K). A lot of publishers will specify the length they are willing to accept. I agree with ozma914 about breaking up this particular piece into two parts. 168K is an enormous chunk o' change.

Congrats and best wishes!
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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