For me, a writer who likes to be concise, hitting 50,000 words is always a feat, but I’m noticing that it’s not nearly as big a deal as it used to be.
Fifty-thousand is, of course, the usual plateau where a work officially is granted the title of novel – though I’m not sure who these shadowy people are who decide these things.
When I was attempting my first novel, I was worried sick that it would languish in the realm of novella forever. Fifty-thousand seemed like too many words to me. I thought that maybe I should become a short story writer instead. But I pushed and pushed until the day arrived – 50,000 – and to my utter amazement, the story hadn’t finished yet. I cruised to 61,000 and celebrated!
I had similar fears with my second novel, but my third, fourth, and now, fifth novels seem to write themselves, so I guess I have grown as a writer.
Why? I don’t really know. Although I do take notice when I pass the novel thresh-hold, it is no longer the goal – the story is the goal. The story itself will dictate how long it ends up being. My third novel is still my longest novel, finishing at about 80,000 words – still a far cry from some of those super thick novels you see on the racks in airport bookstores.
The one I’m currently writing may actually take me to new heights, but it does depend on how stingy I become with words as it progresses into the final third of the book. I’ve been accused by readers of being stingy with words. I heard comments about how some readers wanted me to develop certain story lines deeper, but I always remain skeptical of doing so. I like my works to be described as a “fast read”, “read in one sitting”, “leaving you wanting more” kind of read. Much better than “slow and plodding.”
Anyways, writing is a blast. I’m so glad I’ve had enough time these past three and a half years to write five novels. I hope I can keep up the pace.