Tuesday, November 23, 2010

40,000 words and counting, but not rambling yet

The question comes up on writing forums a lot. Are you a plotster or a pantster? Well, I've always been somewhere in the middle. My first two novels were plotted out thoroughly in my head. I mulled over the plots, sub-plots and parallel stories in my head long before I started writing. Then, when I finally sat down to type, I followed my plots but still wrote in pantster mode. I frequently found my plot changing, surprised at what some of my characters did that I had not foreseen.

Somewhere in the middle of the second book, I started using a tool called yWriter, which allows me to plot out my chapters and my scenes ahead of time. It was perfect for me, since I already wrote my first two books in chapters and scenes, only I didn't know it.

Now why do I bring this up? Because, I've been to some group writings and have found that others are have far more trouble reaching 50,000 words than I was (I thought my story was going to peter out around 35,000). They suggested adding flying monkeys and visiting aliens. They were joking (I hope they were joking).

Seriously, however, I think a lot of them, and I am guilty as well, have developed a habit of being excessively wordy, during the month of November. I repeated myself when it wasn't necessary, I did not use contractions to keep word count up. I considered changing my names to Joe Bob and Norma Ray.

But when I read my early chapters, I found I was breezing through the action and the dialog, without painting the scenery. I've thumbed through a couple books about writing a novel, and it is more common to over-write, then edit out a lot of junk. When I tell people my first book was 162,000 words, they assume the same.

Reading this book, I can see that my edits will remove some of the replication, but I will have a lot of fluff to add back into the book.

It doesn't matter, it's just different.

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