When is a book not a book?

This week, writing wise, I’ve mostly been stressing about nanowrimo (yes, still!) and trying to finish my book (haha, as if that’ll EVER happen)

Nanowrimo planning is going as slowly as ever, and I won’t be starting until the 3rd as I’m away in Amsterdam. Last year I missed about three days because of graduation and still managed to finish so I’m hoping that it’ll be the same this year. It’s all down to timing and utilizing the writing time that you have. I think having a set goal and deadline really helps to get something done. With nanowrimo, you know that you have to have written 50,000 words by the end of November or you’ve “lost” (though in my opinion, writing anything is winning as you’ve actually spent time putting pen to paper, or fingers to keys, whichever you prefer). With actual novel writing, especially drafts where you have no responsibility to anyone and you don’t have a fixed deadline, I find it really hard to tell myself it has to be finished. I can set a day and tell myself that I want it to be finished by then, but if it isn’t, it doesn’t really matter.

One side of nanowrimo I really don’t like is the people who spend a month writing, hit 50,000 words and then say “I’ve written a book.” Unless you are some kind of writing genius, who can write perfect prose and publishable words first time, you haven’t written a book. I’ve been writing the same thing for about two years now, and have done about 6 drafts, and I still don’t tell myself I’ve written a book. I refer to it as such because it’s easier than saying “that ridiculous story that still needs shaping and forming and improving on”.

50,000 words, no matter who says so, is not a novel. It may be a novella, a lengthy children’s book, a collection of short stories but it’s not really a book. A book is upwards of 80,000 words to 120,000+. 50,000 barely scrapes the barrel, which is hard as I’m only on 70,000 and keep trying to push it up without sacrificing quality.

It’s a hard one.

Lil

Currently reading: The Prestige by Christopher Priest.

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