Final Tally: 32,068 Words
I'm quietly celebrating this morning. NaNoWriMo is officially over, and not only did I reach my word count goal, but I also achieved my personal best, finishing at 32,068 words. More importantly, I actually have the makings of a workable novel, The Wheatyard Chronicles (title very much subject to change).
The story has been somewhat challenging to write, since it's written in first person singular, with the narrator (a rough proxy for myself) not being the actual protagonist. The protagonist (Elmer Glaciers Wheatyard) is a rather reticent person who reveals little about his past life. The narrator is intrigued by Wheatyard, and throughout the story attempts through various means to find out his life story. Since Wheatyard is less than forthcoming on the subject, the narrator has to state many of the fact of Wheatyard's life as mere conjecture or hunches. I'm already aware of the fact that there's far too many appearances of words like "seemed" and "presumably" and "maybe." I suppose that adds somewhat to Wheatyard's mysterious aura, but I still need to improve the prose quite a bit.
I'm also having a bit of trouble with tone. The story starts out revealing the quirks and intellectual antics of Wheatyard, an eccentric and incorrigable rogue, but the passages I wrote during the past few days, when Wheatyard finally opens up to the narrator, are considerably darker (in a Stephen Elliott sort of way, to give you a hint). Once I start rewriting, I'm definitely going to have to figure out a way of better integrating the lighter and darker tones of the narrative. And I do intend to start polishing this story up, possibly as soon as a few weeks from now. I may have lost the urge to rewrite my other novel-in-progress, Eden, but hopefully I'll manage to be more diligent about Wheatyard.
How many words do you need for us to pre-order it?
Posted by: Al at Dec 1, 2005 10:55:52 AM
It will probably get to 40,000 words by the time I'm finished with the first draft. Then the inevitable hacking and pruning will take thousands of words--reduncancies, repetitions and run-ons--out of the text, leaving me with a novella-length book of 100-something pages. And since novellas are even less palatable (unless you're Garcia Marquez or one of the other titans) to publishers than short story collections are, I'm not sure if any publisher would touch it. Novellas by debut authors aren't exactly a red-hot market.
Posted by: Pete at Dec 1, 2005 11:15:55 AM
I liked the beginning chapters of the Wheatyard Chronicles and I think the mystery is exactly what makes me want to read more. I am looking forward to the re-writes and seeing what you eventually come up with!
Posted by: Julie at Dec 1, 2005 12:59:05 PM