The 50K Word Event Horizon
Posted April 8, 2011on:
This past week I hit a psychological milestone on one of my works-in-progress: 50,000 words written. Hooray! I told Twitter all about it and had a celebratory drink.
Of course, the story’s not nearly finished. We’re just now getting in to some of the major action! If I had to guess, this one will clock in around 80K words, maybe a bit more, but there’s really no telling. Word counts are interesting, but stories take as long as they’re going to take, and books are as long as they are. The word count is usually irrelevant. I know this, intellectually.
And yet! 50K has fixed itself as a major goal in my mind. I think I may blame NaNo for this. I did NaNo back in 2004, (the result of that became BROKEN, which in its final form is a bit under 60K words total), and since then I’ve always thought of 50K in a work-in-progress as some sort of monumental, awe-inspiring, chisel-it-into-a-stone-in-the-desert achievement. When I hit that magic number during the first draft of FLY INTO FIRE, I thought, yes, this might really get finished! And now that I’ve done the same for this work-in-progress, tentatively titled THE DAUGHTER STAR, I’m starting to think that I may have a third novel in me after all. Now that it’s past a certain point, it has a much better chance to survive.
This might be one of the better things that NaNo does by setting that rather arbitrary 50K finish line–once that goal is reached, the work suddenly seems a lot more solid and official. It’s here, it’s past that first big hurdle, and finishing it suddenly seems a lot less daunting.
Of course, now I actually have to do so. I’d better get back to writing.