Before I went to Scotland for Worldcon in late July, I was looking over my novel and realized that while I was doing a good job of “showing, not telling” through the first 20 chapters or so, much of the last 20,000 words was “telling, not showing.” That’s a problem. In non-fiction writing, you want to explain things directly. In fiction writing, you want the reader to pick up the clues and figure things out for him/herself. But I was compressing the text because I didn’t want the book to go on for too long.
So, after thinking it over, I’ve decided Unexpectedly is either two short novels or one long one. The first short novel had a very natural ending at the end of Chapter 19. The themes came together very well there, and while there are a few loose ends, it stands on its own.
8-17-05 – I sent out a query letter to an agent saying I had finished my first novel.
By saying “I’m done” with the first 19 chapters means I can focus better on the second related novel (or “the rest of the novel”).
I don’t think this is going to go on and be one of those “never-ending projects.” I think it’ll top out in the 150,000 – 170,000 word range. Unexpectedly wound up running 83,000 words (384 double-spaced pages, which I think means it would be about a 190 page novel). The second novel (Even More Unexpectedly? – need to come up with a similar title that evokes a connection without sounding too silly) is probably also in the 80,000 word range. Or, who knows, maybe I will be able to publish this as one longish novel (is 400 pages too long for a first novel that isn’t heroic fantasy?).