Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Maybe crazy is my process

Project Writing Too Many Novels at Once continues apace. And, because you can never have too many notebooks open on your desk, I've added another pass-through on But I Linger On, Dear to flesh out the word count before putting together the query letter for it.

I know. That sounds like what we used to do in high school, and go back through an essay, frantically inserting adjectives and adverbs because it was supposed to be 750 words, not 679. If I'm doing it right, that's not what's going on in this case. My biggest flaw as a writer (that I am aware of, anyway, and for the sake of my sanity, I will ask you not to point out others in the comments) is a tendency to being overly concise. I'm almost always on the low end of a word count when one is assigned. When I was applying to Clarion, I panicked because the stories had to be between 2500 and 4500 words, and "Oh, my God, how was I ever going to write something that long?" The story I sold earlier this year isn't long enough to have been used as one of my application stories.

The reason for this conciseness is that I am often not awesome at getting what is in my head onto the page, at least not on the first pass. My second draft is always longer than my first. So when I say I am going back to flesh out the word count, what I should really say is that I'm going back to make sure that I actually wrote about everything I needed to, and that the level of detail in the story is correct.

And, crazy as it is, the good thing about adding this other project back in to the To Be Done list is that I am actually getting more things done. And the final bits of post-dissertation mush brain seem to have been cleared out of my head. So I will now return to my regularly scheduled insanity.

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