THE book broke the 20,000 word summit yesterday.
(I am that anal. I confess: I keep track of wordcount. I have a spreadsheet. And a graph.)
After many years of working on my books, I have learned that this is a critical point for me in a novel.
On book one (OR NOT TO BE), almost seven years ago, that was the point where I knew I should finish.
On book two (SCHOOL DAYS), that was the point when I knew I should stop.
On book three (possibly called SLUDGE), that was the point that the characters took over and I just had to follow along.
And now, on book four (which I am thinking of as ‘book three’ since ‘book two’ got canned–and it’s yet UNTITLED), I am at the point of exquisite anticipation because I know so much more now. I know what will happen and I am certain the characters can take me there. I know how I want it to sound–I have found the voice, where in the other books the voice was developing. I know who my audience will be and I know why I am writing this one.
I’ve read posts by authors who published their third or fourth book first, and then went back to edit their earlier ones, and now I understand why. That’s about when a novelist truly hits her stride. I am striding, I’ll tell you. I can write this book in the morning without coffee. I can develop a chapter in the middle of the night. I can develop the characters on a five mile walk. I can write and polish late at night, tired after working all day. It is just coming out of me.
That’s why I write: because I simply cannot NOT write.