Based on my best estimate while I was yet working on what might be called the ‘middle’ of my current book project, I figured the end result would be somewhere around 120,000 words. This is the number I plugged into my snazzy little ‘progress bar’ here on my blog, and what I’ve been basing my ‘percent finished’ progress on. I came up with this number by figuring out the average word count per existing chapter, and multiplying that times the proposed number of chapters I had left to write (which of course, you can only do once you actually plot those chapters out, or else you really still have no idea). So I figured out everything that still needed to happen in the book, figured out how I wanted it all to fit together, and sorted it into a certain number of chapters, named and everything (for the most part).
However, with only two chapters and an epilogue left to write, my prognosis has changed. It’s something that can’t be helped, really. You do your best to figure your own story, but it likes to take on its own shape as it goes. In my present case, A Mischief in the Woodwork has decided it wants to be about 5-7 thousand words shorter than I originally predicted. The actual, original estimate that showed on my calculator, admittedly, was also less than 120,000, but I know from finishing a few books that my endings seem to like to drag themselves out. It’s like that’s when I really get into the whole thing, when I can see the finish line, and I’m excited, and the characters are excited, and the prose starts flowing, and everything is set up to just fall into place, at that point, so I know just where I’m going and how to get there without maneuvering through any more tricksy plotting, so the rest can just LAY ITSELF OUT ON THE PAGES. So I went ahead and accounted for the likelihood of such happening, and rounded my estimate up to that nice, round, 120,000.
But this book isn’t doing that. For the first time that I can remember, it’s fitting itself into a nice, concise, consistent little box. And that’s fine with me. It means I’m closer to finishing than I thought, which is great – especially because this is a longer book than my usual ‘write-a-book-in-a-month’ books, and will take longer to edit. Of course, speaking of editing, the added words from that will probably see the thing come in at about – oh – 120,000 words anyway. So I’ve probably reworked all my calculations for nothing. But hey.
(On a side note, I’m running a free promotion for the ebook of my fantasy/thriller Mind Games over at Amazon.com. It was one of those ‘on-the-side’ books that I never thought would do much, but it’s actually performed remarkably well. Who knew? Check it out (and download it for free!) here: Mind Games Freebie). Its cover and blurb:
I have never known anything but the quaint legacy of Candleshire. As Mrs. Larkley would put it, “a homestead of community where everyone knows everyone”.
I never prepared myself for a stranger in our midst. Someone who wouldn’t knock. Someone who wouldn’t stay for tea. Someone we wouldn’t see at all.
But someone who would leave a most peculiar footprint. You’ve never seen anything like the silent brand I awoke to, marked by some stealthy artist in the night, tattooed without a whisper for something not of my making.
I would like to say I didn’t wake up one morning victim to a stranger’s unleashed conspiracy, harnessed for unknown treachery beyond my capacity.
But it would be a lie, if I still belonged to a world in which lies carry any weight.