I don’t know exactly how long this novel will be. I don’t even know yet how it will end, or what will happen in quite a lot of the middle part, so there’s that whole ambiguity threre. But I think it will be quite long, because the way I write involves a degree of introspection and is generally not particularly fast-paced. It’s not an action story, by any means. I hesitate to call it a political story, because while some of the issues have political sides of them, there’s not really a lot of politics going on – the fledgling society is currently ruled by an elected leader who has become tyrannical. There aren’t parties and lobby groups, and there aren’t aristocrats or agendas. It’s more about society. About the way people treat one another, and judge one another, and learn to live with one another. It’s about individual relationships and the ways they change. And yes, there are larger political goals in there, but really I think it needs to be about people, not politics.
Obviously, it’s also a fantasy story – with the fighting and the magic and the single clear antagonist that all are common in the genre, and not generally in stories about society outside speculative fiction. But those are not what the story is about, they’re the tools I’m using to tell it the way I want to tell it.
I shouldn’t worry about length, really. It’ll be as long as it is. And while that’s true, I like to know these things. It gives me a feeling of being in control, and allows me to plan. I’m 20,000 words in now. The story has barely started. I’ve got a whole load of stuff to cover in Barrent itself, and with it a period of a few months. Then there’s the eventual escape – a nice big sequence, I shouldn’t wonder, of at least 5,000 words. But outside there are new challenges for my characters, a new society to adapt to and fit into. There will be some fight scenes in there too, and arguments and plans and personal conflicts and threats. It seems like a long way away, and I know what I’m like with finishing things and I half-believe I won’t ever get there. And maybe it will only be 80,000 and maybe it’ll be 140,000 or even longer.
I guess I just need to keep going, one day at a time. I’m only ten days into this challenge, and I have found it difficult, on several days, to decide to write – more out of laziness than anything else, perhaps. I guess as time goes on it’ll get a little easier, because it will be what I do, not what I’m trying to do. I hope, though, that I continue this into October, even into November and December if I need to. I might even try NaNoWriMo again, I’ll have to decide nearer the time on that one (it’d mean more than doubling my current output)
Anyway, musing over. What about what I’m doing right now? Well, I’ve crossed out some of what I wrote yesterday, and I’m gonna hurry things along a little to bring Laik back and try to get things back to where I want them. The Governor doesn’t care what Fiarra was doing sneaking into the quarry camp, but Laik still does. She wants answers; she doesn’t like not having one, not because she actually suspects Fiarra of anything, but because she has a psychological need to know.
Finishing 22:04. 709 words. Finished with a bit of an argument – not a big one, just the seeds of one that Laik walked away from. But I guess this is the part where I start building up a powerful hatred for Laik – a hatred which will later drive several of her decisions. Fun times.