Monday, April 16, 2007

Milestone 50,000

Well, folks, sorry I've been posting so little. Word number 50,000 of my new novel, ALMA, just wrote itself! I'm still having fun, keep waiting for the other shoe to drop (ie get stuck running in the wrong direction...). SO superstitious, I'm knocking wood all over the place.

I'm working with an outline, which I said I wouldn't do, but given my diagnosis of plot as my weakness, I really have no choice. No outline would mean a meandering, 200,000 word novel, that still might not be salvageable at the end of the day. This one looks like it will be around 70-80K. Maybe I'm turning into a short novel person.

Now it's time to do some more research.



Blogger clem said...

Hey doll!

Number-of-pages and number-of-words are both confusing to me for novel writing. I'd like to propose a new metric.

As The Great Gatsby is 48,747 words and pretty much everyone has read it, I'd like to propose a 'Gatsby Unit' for length.

So you're aiming for one-and-a-half GU's and have just passed one GU. Does it give a sense of narrative-under-the-bridge or it it too geeky?

Looking forward to it in any case.

11:26 AM  
Blogger Anne said...

Hey back!

Side question: do people agree with Jane Smiley's assertion in 13 Ways of Looking at the Novel that Gatsby was 100 pages too short?

& if so, would that mean that it was 0.5 Gatsbys too short?

11:32 AM  
Blogger clem said...

Perhaps FSF was working on a sequel deal for the other .5?

A little attempted humor there.

Been a long time since I've read it but wasn't it meant to be somewhat impressionistic -- of the imagination -- something far outside what we would now consider realism? More of a sketch which implies more than it actually states?

I'm more than a little out of my usual schnorkle-shoal depth here, having 'read around' in the Smiley but unable to go cover to cover with her.

12:02 PM  
Anonymous virginia said...

Congrats Anne! I don't want to flaunt it to your other readers, but as a member of her writers' group, I happen to know that the 50K pages are really good! Girlfriend's on fire.

And I'm NOT just sucking up because I'd like to borrow the Smiley book.

Book contracts do have lengths-in-words, plus it's easily measurable on your computer, so GUs is funnier, but I don't think it'll usurp word count.

I had no idea Gatsby was that short! I know it's not original to say so, but it's pretty perfect as it is. A quite full plot, a lot happens, the principals all have an arc and emerge from the events changed (I'm the fuddy-duddy who likes that stuff), so I wouldn't call it a sketch at all.

What did Jane Smiley want more of?

4:08 PM  
Blogger Anne said...

Damn, Virginia, thanks!

I wish I could remember what Smiley wanted more of. I checked it out from NY Public Library because I didn't want to buy hardcover.

I've heard a lot of complaints about Gatsby, the main one being that the narrator is a passive observer, and that his own romantic relationship with what's-her-name is not developed.

I, for one, would like to hear the story from Daisy's messed-up POV. The feminist Gatsby.
(No, not volunteering to write it.)

The other major complaint I hear is more of a backhanded compliment, that he blew his wad on the first one and let alcohol ruin him for anything further.

Mitch Albom's book is also under 50K words...haven't read it.

Personally, the novella is one of my favorite forms. But Alma is looking like it ain't a novella any more. Yay! I think.

6:55 PM  
Blogger Anne said...

Clem, by the way, I heard through the grapevine that you finished your opus of suburban confusion. Wow! So now you have three novels? Excellent!

(Are you querying agents? You should! If you haven't found one already.)

6:59 PM  

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