Monday, April 12, 2021

size matters?

 The topic of the week is story length and how to prepare for it. 

Guys, I'm a pantser, but I'm also a sensible enough fellow. I really just start writing with a basic idea of what want to say, and edit from there. I just finished a story for Weird Tales that is supposed to cap at 7,500 words and my first draft came in at 7,532 words. I have to chop 32 words before ai send it in. Pretty sure I can do that.

I have trained myself over the years to write at various lengths. That's mostly because a lot of my earlier work was articles and essays written for magazines as well as different pieces that had to be specific lengths for role-playing games. When you get paid by the word you earn to make certain you stick to the appropriate form and length. 

Short stories and novels give you a bit more leeway, and novellas are just exactly the right length for some works. It all depends on what the project is and what the requirements of my editors and publisher are. As w3ith so many parts of writing I think a lot of it just comes with practice, but I have to say as I reached the end of this particular tale I found myself wondering if I'd reach the finish line with an extra thousand words in the way. There was a lot more i could have said, really, if I'd been given extra space. 

I always want to make the editors happy but I also always want to make myself happy with the tale I'm telling. I am the first audience I have to deal with, and if I fail to entertain myself, I have serious doub=ts about entertaining anyone else.

first readers, critics, all of them have to be put aside on the first draft, and if necessary, I will pull out the scalpels and go at a fin9shed tale like a plastic surgeon aiming to make it prettier.

But always, always, I'm willing to write more than I need and cut away the excess when it comes to a first draft.

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