Monday, January 10, 2011

Production of quota

c. 2,000 words, for a total of 40,188 words.

(Not quite as good as it sounds, since some of those were words I am at least for now (copyright issues may mean I need to go back later on to a nineteenth-century translation) borrowing from the Penguin Euripides, and also the Wikipedia definition of thyrsus!)

I have had my eye on 40,000 - it is ridiculously childish, but I cannot stop myself periodically from Googling the phrase "how many words in a novel" and it does seem that 40,000 is the top end of what is considered a novella, NOVEL starts around here. I think 65,000 words would be a good length for this particular novel - it's definitely at the short end but indisputably (?) at that point a novel rather than a neither-fish-nor-fowl - my draft may come in a bit shorter than that, but I think the opening stretch probably needs to have some scenes added, and I guess I will be able to make it to the low 60s without too much difficulty.

I need to finish this draft as soon as I can, there are a lot of other things I would really rather be doing! And unfortunately the supreme recipe for novel composition is to be a bit bored or under-occupied; once I start doing too many other things, the desire (or the will) to write every day is compromised...

Light reading around the edges: a bunch of very good best-of-2010 crime recommendations from Sarah Weinman (the whole list is here), including Jodi Compton's Hailey's War (a bike messenger thriller - I loved it!), Tom Franklin's beautifully titled Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter (probably the best out of these three, though they are all excellent - but this one's the most ambitious) and Alan Glynn's Winterland.

Also, Rosanne Cash's Composed (quite good, but marred for me by the strong presence of a sense of mystic patterning/correspondences that I cannot at all assent to!) and Anne Fortier's Juliet: A Novel, which I found a huge disappointment. I had misremembered the recommendation as having come from Jo Walton, but it was actually another Tor reviewer; the book certainly has some good qualities, but it is about three times as long as the substantive content would suggest suitable (leading to much skimming by this reader), and the heroine is the first one I've seen who could be plausibly considered even worse than Twilight's Bella in terms of passivity, rationalization and general uselessness! NB fourteenth-century Italian Catholic father does not charge rebellious teenage daughter with having possibly been challenging his authority by going so far as to read the Bible!

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